Anxiety vs Anxiety Disorders

Image from Pixbay

Image from Pixbay

Sophia Etka

Anxiety is a feeling we all struggle with. Nobody can deny that. It’s something that everyone has felt before, and it’s a complex feeling. The eagerness of something great. The worry of something horrible. The anticipation of an unknown situation. But what happens when it’s too much? When you can’t ever shake the feeling? People can say that it’s normal to feel that way, but what if it’s constant? 

When people say to you: “I feel anxiety too, stop being dramatic.” You feel offended. You don’t just feel anxiety, you ARE it. And so many people don’t understand that. It seems unfair, and in a way, it sort of is. There’s no way that feeling this way is normal, right?  Older generations especially don’t understand mental disorders, and don’t understand that your feeling is different than the one they have felt. This is something that can make understanding and validation in families very difficult. So what exactly is anxiety? What causes it, and how do you cope with it?

Anxiety in itself is a feeling. That’s true. There isn’t a single person on earth who hasn’t felt it, and that’s completely normal. It can be felt through many emotions. There’s even good anxiety. Like the drop in your stomach when the final bell is about to ring to start summer break. Or anticipation of a sports game. But bad anxiety, like when you weren’t able to get something turned in at the right time. Or driving on a highway, if you don’t like driving. What could happen? What if everything goes wrong? Now that is also a normal feeling. Though when the situation dies down, but the feeling remains, there could be a problem. If that feeling lasts for hours on end. If there’s constant stress or even loss of sleep, that’s when it gets to the point of being a disorder.

Paranoia plays into anxiety disorders quite a bit. Instead of focusing on the good, you tend to focus on the bad all the time. What if this happens? Why does this happen? The reason is your brain. When it feels that it’s in danger, it warns you and makes you feel as if you’re rapidly falling to your death. But in reality, the situation is just confronting someone about something they said. You can feel like you’re about to die, just because your brain sends panic signals. And when this happens on a constant, there’s more than just a feeling in play. Now, this feeling usually goes away after the situation dies down, but if it doesn’t, what can you do? The situation is resolved, yet there’s still that feeling as if you’re getting chased down by something. Why does that feeling remain, and what can you do to stop it?

Anxiety disorders are something that needs to be diagnosed by a professional. After that, you can be prescribed medication for it, but that will only help it in general, not situationally. You may feel more anxious and be more affected by situations than other people, but that’s when the work on yourself comes in. With the feeling of anxiety, there’s no need to take medication or go into extensive therapy, because it doesn’t completely interrupt your life. But in order to be able to live your life with a disorder, you need to put work into calming yourself and practicing coping skills. In a world where breaking down in the middle of a public argument isn’t considered mature or polite, you need to find other ways to handle such feelings.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Deep breathing or counting the things around you can help, or thinking of a time that made you feel safe or comforted. There’s plenty of things you can do to ease your nerves. Now the problem of “I feel anxious too.” There isn’t anything you can do about that. Older generations need to be tolerated at least, no matter how difficult it can be when you feel so invalidated, they weren’t raised like that. There’s no way to get them to understand. 


All that there needs to be is acceptance. So remember to take a deep breath, and stay as calm in situations as possible. Your wellbeing matters just as much as anyone else’s. Your anxiety doesn’t define you, but what you do with it does.