Alright, let’s talk anxiety.
Mental health is a complex and confusing interchange with biology, genes, environment as well as our physical health. Same body, different organs.
Anxiety is one of the most common disorders in the United States. That being said, I had the honor of interviewing multiple people who have different sub parts of anxiety disorder.
It is very common for people to develop an anxiety disorder before they even hit the double digits. Without us knowing about it, it can manifest into something else that can cause a lot of damage. You can have an anxiety disorder and also have for instance, major depression or bipolar disorder.
Anxiety disorder has a lot of different subcategories. I picked a few that I feel like are most common to talk about. I will be breaking each one down in different posts, so this is just a broad overview of them.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder: moments of INTENSE and long-lasting anxiety and worry without a known cause.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): consuming, uncontrollable, and reoccurring thoughts/obsessions and behaviors/compulsions. These spark an urge that the behavior needs to be repeated multiple times.
Panic Disorder: random out-of-the-blue panic attacks. These last awhile and people with this are constantly fearful of future attacks.
Social Phobia (Anxiety) Disorder: this is in the phobia category under anxiety. This is fear of anything related to, well, social encounters of being judged, rejected, or humiliated in front of people.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: after difficulty recovering from a traumatic event, triggers can bring back some of the memories or feelings that the person had went through during the event. This could be accompanied by severe emotional and possibly physical reactions.
So, I want to start this out by explaining the different situations, ages, and triggers of the people I interviewed. This is because each person is so completely different than the next and it is important to notice that. We are different but we all share similar messed up brain chemistry. I want you to be able to try to relate to someone’s story. Try to understand the feelings they were feeling at the time. Think of yourself or someone you love that is going through a hard time. Now try to process these. We are not our “illness.”
I asked them to explain their first episode when they started thinking that something was very different, their age, and their triggers. The ranges of answers were incredible. Most of my interviewees had started their anxiety journal since they were children. This unfortunately had a lot to do with their parents or close relatives that showed mental/physical abuse and neglect. Some just started out right away with their triggers, such as having an extreme fear of sickness/vomit or being in public around a lot of people.
Almost all of the people I interviewed had some sort of panic attack at LEAST once since their first episode. The explained feeling terrified, alone, and confused. Panic attacks can cause some people to contemplate suicide.
Luckily, they all received the help they needed and practiced some pretty awesome coping skills. They are able to remove themselves from a situation that is causing them distress. They have come so far and I am so proud of each of them. ❤
All situations vary from person to person all over the world. This post is just a general overview of anxiety, and only SOME of the experiences that people have gone and go through in their daily lives. That is why it isn’t super long. My interviewees have sub parts of this disorder so I will be using their answers for the categories they are in. Anxiety is a very broad disorder and I feel like these very important sub categories deserve their own posts.
To my interviewees, if there is anything I missed or misinterpreted, please message me and I will fix it. Thank you so much for giving me the honor of hearing your stories so that WE can help others see they aren’t alone.
Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare professional. If you have mental health related questions, I highly recommend you seek a healthcare professional.