Being someone who has suffered from anxiety and panic attacks for many years, I am all to aware of the myths surrounding these conditions that exist out there. If you are a sufferer I’m sure you will be able to relate and if you’re not, then I hope this helps you understand a little better.
5 Myths about Anxiety:
If you suffer from anxiety you are weak: On the contrary I think that people who suffer from anxiety are really strong. If you are someone who experiences anxiety or panic attacks and are still able to face each day…well that takes a lot of strength. Being brave doesn’t mean not being afraid of anything, the true definition of bravery is being scared of something and doing it anyway. Having anxiety can often mean facing your biggest fears each and every day. Now that’s strength.
Only women suffer from anxiety: Completely untrue. Just like every other mental illness it affects both women and men. One of my closest friends who suffers from anxiety is a male. Anxiety does not discriminate, it affects people of ages, sexes, backgrounds and races.
You’re exaggerating about the physical symptoms of a panic attack: Nope. The physical symptoms of a panic attack are very, very real. I actually know quite a few people who have called an ambulance the first time they experienced a panic attack because they legimately thought they were dying. The physical symptoms of a panic attack vary from person to person; from pain in the chest and breathlessness to faintness, heart palpitations, sweating…the list is endless.
Medication is the only way to control anxiety: Medication is one form of managing anxiety but it certainly isn’t the only way. Counselling, talking, learning to manage thoughts and symptoms through techniques such as meditation and deep breathing are all other options that can be explored and in fact need to be if you want to manage anxiety long term.
If you take medication for anxiety you are weak: As my Doctor once said to me “If you had diabetes would you take insulin? Yes. So why is this any different? Anxiety is an illness and sometimes it needs to be treated with medication.” I am not saying everybody who suffers from anxiety should take medication; it is a case by case basis which needs to discussed and decided with your doctor. But for some people yes, it can get to the point where medication is required and that’s ok.
It is my hope that the more we talk about these things, the better people will understand and myths and stigma that currently surround anxiety will no longer exist.
Are you a sufferer of anxiety? What other myths do you want to clear up?