Published On: Fri, Aug 14th, 2015

Anxiety: A Robber of Potential

“Anxiety’s like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you very far.” Jodi Picoult, Sing You Home.

At this very moment, right across the world, millions of people are having their lives disrupted by anxiety.  Asleep or awake, whether they could be having a night of good rest or a pleasant conversation with friends at a café, this disease is getting in their way.

The tragedy of this illness is that it needlessly prevents sufferers from reaching their true potential in life and while this is generally true of any ailment, from migraines to cancer, anxiety is an easily treatable condition.  In fact, modern medicine and psychology have some very good success rates in this field.

Unfortunately, many people go through their lives simply bearing the cross of this disorder and do nothing to ease the discomfort.  The reasons for inaction vary but often some people just don’t seem to realize that their degree of worrying and stressing falls outside the range deemed normal for a human being.

 public domain pic from May 4 1916

public domain pic from May 4 1916

A friend once told me about how she had suffered all her life from anxiety brought about by obsessions.  One day, after watching a medical drama, she became obsessed that she had the same form of cancer as one of the characters in the program.  A visit to her doctor quickly put this worry to rest, but she was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), a manifestation of anxiety.  Suddenly her life made sense.  The anxiety she carried around with her on a daily basis was not normal and had a medical explanation to it.  Best of all, help was at hand.

If you’re reading this, chances are that you may be feeling just like my friend.  Deep down there is an awareness that something is wrong.  You may even notice that you tend to stress over issues that don’t even seem come up on other people’s radars.  However, the possibility that yours is a medical condition has either never been entertained or has, perhaps, been downplayed by none other than yourself.

A diagnosis by a medical professional is the first step toward changing your life for the better.  It will be a moment of liberation where you will have it on the authority of a doctor that your anxiety is not your fault, that it is not the result of you being a bad person or you being inferior to “normal” people.  Most of all, it will bring about confirmation that something can be done to ease the pain.

As tempting as this might sound to someone stuck in a cycle of anxiety, many do not jump at the chance of seeking help.  In fact, people have a general tendency to trivialize what they are experiencing and delay seeking medical advice.  They might feel that they are not suffering of a genuine case of an anxiety disorder.

If you fall into this category, there are steps you may take before you even need to consider making that doctor’s appointment.  Do some background investigation of your own by visiting the National Institute of Mental Health’s anxiety disorders page.  In particular read through the Signs and Symptoms section and evaluate whether you see yourself in those descriptions.  In addition take a simple 5 minute self-diagnosis anxiety test to help you get a better understanding of your condition.

Ultimately, whatever you do, seek the advice of a doctor.  Imagine the life you could be living if those nagging thoughts that hold you back subsided.  Think of how much more fulfilled you would be with them gone.  Now understand that much can be done to help that anxiety go away once you get professional help and that you will be able to start living the life you wish for and deserve.

Guest Author: Jeremy Biberdorf

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