What is Anxiety?

Drawing inspiration from the Bell’s Let’s Talk event this year (2017) I am compelled to revitalize the Millennial Perspective blog from its grass roots. Though I’ve been on hiatus doing a range of things from writing for publications to school and travel, I’ve learned many things. Things I believe will enhance the Millennial Perspective and ultimately help people through a blog series about what started the blog, Anxiety.

 

What is Anxiety?

 

Anxiety is a controversial topic for it is subjective. It affects everyone in different ways. Though you and I may find overlapping similarities in our Anxiety, it is never truly the same experience. Though we cannot always understand what each other is going through, a common theme amongs those in the mental health community is to always say “I’m here for you.” Over the years I’ve seen Anxiety in many shapes and sizes, and there’s no one clear, textbook example of it. Anxiety can be the little girl not wanting to go out to parties because she feels uncomfortable in crowds and the peer pressure that is associated with them. Anxiety is also the teenage boy too scared to try new things because of what might happen. Anxiety affects us all in many different ways, and there’s still no clear solution, or a cure to what ails us.

Anxiety is normal. Everyone experiences Anxiety at times. For example, it is normal to feel anxious when you miss a bus, or before a job interview. It’s a system in our body that helps us perform our best or avoid danger. The definition of Anxiety is: a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

Put into such simple terms it can seem an afterthought to those that don’t experience Anxiety. Often people dismiss it, saying “It’s all in your head.” Those people have not experienced a panic attack. Though Anxiety is an imbalance in our brains, it is not a made up phenomenon that can just be thought away.

One constant of Anxiety is a fear of the unknown. Through overthinking, what could happen becomes what will happen. Anxiety is pessimistically perceiving an event in the future whether it’s a task, a conversation, traffic, a crowd, it is predicting the future through a worst case scenario filter. The most rewarding part of this often crippling fear is that when you can put the fear aside and do something you feel anxious about, you often benefit through positive life changing experiences. This, however, does not make the next time any easier unless it was a common fear you overcame such as acrophobia, arachnophobia, galeophobia, etc.

 

What does Anxiety mean to me?

Anxiety is heavily triggered by unpredictability, but Anxiety itself is unpredictable. This is why Anxiety about Anxiety will trigger panic attacks due to an endless cycle. It is a constant internal barrier to overcome. People with Anxiety constantly overthink situations and doubt their ability to carry through their responsibilities. Meeting new people is often very hard, not due to shyness, but from the fear of crowds. First impressions are very important but if you’re someone with Anxiety, you can affect others which makes them uncomfortable, tarnishing someone’s view of you possibly forever. This is why crowds so often frighten people that suffer from Anxiety. Things that normally stress people out such as money, school, work, etc. affect people with Anxiety to another level and if you don’t make it work to your advantage, it can really go downhill. Communication is key but is it always easy to identify what’s causing the Anxiety? People ask how they can help you but if you can’t identify the problem then how can you find a solution?

On a personal note, Anxiety runs in my family. I’ve been afforded the luxury of having the elders pass on knowledge about Anxiety and what to do if you’re diagnosed, what coping mechanisms are effective and who to talk to when I can’t handle it. Several years ago I saw several doctors to get on a proper balance of medication and self-awareness due to a string of panic attacks really scaring me. I learnt that breathing through the stomach in deep, slow breathes required more thought than I had expected. When we’re born as babies, we breathe that way naturally and over time we start to breathe more through our chest. This actually results in a shortness of breath.

After learning several techniques on how to tame Anxiety and calm myself from panic attacks, I felt I only needed see my family doctor, Dr. Kanagaratnam, who’s amazing. Much of my remedy for Anxiety is less medical and more mindfulness as I started practicing meditation which is very therapeutic. All the methods I’ve used to tame my Anxiety will be shared throughout this blog series as I hope I can help others the way others have helped me.

 

What’s next?

Whether the series is successful or not, I have several blogs planned on Anxiety through my experiences and observations since initially writing about it. I plan to discuss further what it is, as it is a very complex topic. I also intend to discuss the triggers of Anxiety, the fight vs flight instinct, Self-Awareness with Anxiety, how to help others with Anxiety, Travel Anxiety, City Anxiety, Anxiety about making plans, how others can effect those with Anxiety, and several more. Hopefully through the series and discussing ways I have overcome Anxiety, I can help others do the same.

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Thank You, Bell

Another annual Bell Let’s Talk event has come and gone in 2014.

According to Bell, they set new records this year thanks to all the help on social media and through the natural art of texting. 109,451,718 tweets, texts, calls and shares on Bell Let’s Talk Day 2014 – Bell will donate a further $5,472,585.90 to Canadian mental health programs. Now you can feel good about any excessive texting you do, at least for one day. Parents of teens, don’t give your kids too much flack for their next bill, it’s going to a great cause!

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Since 2010, Bell has committed $62.5 million to mental health initiatives in Canada. Not only do they run a successful annual charity event, but even more importantly, they spread awareness of issues such as anxiety, depression, etc. Mental health awareness is an important thing to a society where teens kill themselves suffering from mental illness, but if people understood the issue more it might be prevented.

I have fallen prey to mental health issues, particularly the effects of heavy anxiety. It has been a long journey to where I am today, and it all started with my blog. I wrote two blogs about it, which you can find on my wordpress to those of you that aren’t aware, and I’ll be releasing more essay’s about the subject as time goes on, as it is a subject I like to study and learn as I cope with it, discovering ways to deal with it.

Our government has neglected the mental health sector in many ways, but it is thanks to charity events such as this that we can get money into these programs, into paying registered professionals to help those who need it. People who don’t have a mental illness have a hard time understanding what it means. When they hear you have one they think you’re crazy. That’s not a very healthy way of looking at it, in fact, looking at things from that angle is part of the problem. This year’s Bell Let’s Talk event successfully reached those people through their marketing and maybe by next years event, more people will understand what it means to have depression, anxiety,  bi-polar, or any one of the hundreds of other illnesses/disorders. Until then, Bell will be behind guiding the people toward conquering what plagues them.