Social anxiety

What does the word anxiety mean to you?

AnxiousIs it fear? Worry? Does it make you think of spiders? Constant worry over trivial matters? Or do you think it’s a lame excuse for people who are too lazy to get on with their lives?

I was amazed when I first saw it applied to me. What, me? Anxiety? No way! I’m not afraid of spiders, or flying. Not even of performing in front of an audience. I don’t worry that a disaster has befallen my loved ones when they still haven’t returned home.

The reason for my immediate denial of any connection with anxiety was probably the negative image of people who suffer from anxiety. They’re thought of as scaredy-cats, better to keep away from. It took me a while to accept that the word could apply to me, much longer to stop blaming myself for having “caused” a connection between myself and that dreaded word.

The fact is that anxiety is not something felt by a few people. It’s also not a term conjured up by the pharmaceutical companies to make money selling pills. Anxiety probably affects a lot more people than anyone realises. That’s because many are too afraid of being stigmatized to let on. And because many sufferers don’t even know they have it.

And people who have it are not cowards. In fact, those who are dealing with their problems are very brave to start and persist with a probably long and difficult process.

Somehow, the negative view of anxiety and those affected by it has to be turned around. Too many people are being ignored when they need help. Too many people are suffering needlessly. That’s why I need to explain. I just don’t know if anyone understands….