Dealing with anxiety

With the silly season upon us many will be dealing with anxiety. Tight chest, difficulty breathing, racing heartbeat, persistent worries that spiral out of control? These symptoms are just the tip of the iceberg that is anxiety.

It’s likely that you have experienced some or all of these common symptoms at some stage in your life. Most of the time this is a fleeting experience that is triggered in response to a stressful situation, such as an exam or public speaking. Usually this type of anxiety will abate quickly, once the triggering event has passed.

However, what if you felt this way continuously? In cases of clinical anxiety these feelings don’t subside, but persist, day in, day out, making it difficult for sufferers to cope with everyday life. Left untreated, anxiety can become so crippling that it impacts on a person’s ability to work, socialise, maintain relationships, and be an active member of their family and broader community.

Statistics show that one in four people will suffer anxiety at some stage in their life, making it the most commonly diagnosed mental health condition in Australia. Because everybody experiences stress in their lives from time to time, it is sometimes difficult to tell where everyday stress ends and anxiety begins. This can cause confusion for people experiencing symptoms and may cause a delay in them seeking help. And unfortunately, as with many mental health conditions, there is a still a stigma associated with anxiety. The negative language sometimes used to describe a person with anxiety reinforces this. People may say: “You’re such a stress-head’ or “He needs to take a chill pill”. This type of language can trivialise anxiety and make the sufferer feel even more isolated.