Kay sent this to me a few days ago I wanted to share it with you:
“Keep doing what you’re doing! I spent too long avoiding googling ‘ANXIETY’ as I was so afraid of what it meant but I am sooooo glad I found your site, a positive one from a real person!!”
I think a lot of us can relate to this sort of thinking. Anxiety is a beast and I’ve yet to meet or talk to anyone who has ever experienced a full blown panic attack that wasn’t absolutely terrified, if not traumatized from the experience.
Panic attacks are intense, bizarre, horrifying and there is a lot of covering up to the outside world so that we look “ok”. Some of us start to question our own sanity. I did this for years. I secretly thought that if the powers that be (whoever “they” are) found out that I had these feelings, I would be forever marked as “mentally ill”, or even worse, locked up in a mental institution.
And just for the record, I don’t think there is anything wrong at all with someone getting help in a health care setting for severe anxiety. The fears I’m speaking about above were based on growing up in the 1970′s, when the thinking about mental health was quite narrow minded. I actually knew someone with panic disorder and agoraphobia who was institutionalized more than once and had to undergo shock treatments.
For me, although I knew I had panic disorder and social anxiety, what I avoided for years was actually finding out what I needed to do in order to get better. There was a part of me that knew in order for me to get better, I would in some way have to expose myself to the situations I feared. For someone like me who relied 100% on anti anxiety medications for over 20 years, the thought of doing this paralyzed me with fear (which is why I stayed numb on medications for way too long).
But back to Kay’s comment- Just what exactly does it mean to have anxiety??
Hold on to your hats everyone…This may come as quite a shock…If you have anxiety, it means you are human :) Nothing more and certainly nothing less.
It means you are sensitive, probably have above average intelligence (that’s what the scientists say!), and you are probably somewhat of a people-pleaser.
You may be one of those people who takes care of everyone else first, and then puts yourself last on your list, if at all. I’m pretty sure you push yourself pretty hard too. You may even be a perfectionist.
More than likely you’re also a really nice, caring person. You probably love animals or dote on a pet or 2 of your own.
If you’ve had an experience with severe anxiety or panic attacks, this may shake your self confidence. If, like me, you have endured multiple panic attacks over a long period of time, you may need to work on re-building your self esteem.
What Having Anxiety Does NOT Mean
- That you are crazy
- That you are cursed
- That you are less than anyone else
- That you are not worthy of your own self respect
- That you don’t deserve freinds, kids, to be married, or anything else like that
- That you are to be pitied
- That you can never get better.
I’ve had anxiety and panic attacks since age 7, I’m now 45+ and I’ve never been better or more healthy mentally.
In closing, we anxious folk have to work on our confidence, maybe some self esteem, and certainly some negative thinking that comes along with the experience of having panic attacks or severe anxiety. But our good qualities far outweigh the negatives. And when you feel you’re ready, you can choose to take that next step to get better.
I wish you peace,
If you want to get started and learn more about how to help yourself, visit the Anxiety Tips & Help page.