It can be frustrating to be questioned about anxiety when you’re dealing with someone who might not fully understand the condition. They might say things like ‘why don’t you just calm down?’ or ‘stop worrying so much’ without realizing they’re being insensitive. Here are some common questions people get about anxiety, as well as ways to handle those questions without getting defensive
1. I don’t understand anxiety disorders. I mean, everyone gets anxious now and then, right?
While it’s true that anxiety is a natural part of life, people who suffer from anxiety disorders are not experiencing normal anxiety. Normal anxiety is situational and is related to a specific event, whether it be taking a test, giving a speech or any other situation that might be high stress.
An anxiety disorder occurs when someone no longer has normal anxious reactions. Their fear or anxiety might be completely out of proportion to the perceived threat. Over time, the person might even enter a circle where their fear of having another attack actually triggers more attacks. When this happens, it’s not just a matter of being anxious over a specific event, but a matter of living in a constant state of anxiety. This is dangerous as it can be both physically and mentally damaging and make a person withdraw from regular social situations.
2. If you have anxiety, couldn’t you just avoid the situations that make you anxious?
That is not always possible, especially for those who suffer from generalized anxiety disorders. These people often have no idea what their triggers are until they are in that situation. In addition, some triggers are parts of every day life that can’t be avoided.
People who attempt to avoid all their triggers often wind up worse off and develop other coping conditions that are just as dangerous, like OCD or Agoraphobia. Telling a person with anxiety to avoid the situations that make them anxious is like telling a person with Asthma to avoid air.
3. Can you just take a pill? It’s all about a chemical imbalance, right?
There is still quite a bit we don’t know about the human brain. When anxiety disorders are diagnosed, they’re diagnosed based on the symptoms and not the underlying condition. The problem with that is there is no cure. Instead, someone can only treat the symptoms.
As everyone is different, no one treatment will work for all anxiety sufferers. In addition, medication has side effects that can interfere with the enjoyment of life as well, and may even cause dependency.
4. Can you just wait it out until you feel better?
People with anxiety disorders wait on average, about 10 years, before they seek treatment and it’s because they think they can wait it out. The fact is if someone has a biological condition that is causing their anxiety, they can’t just ‘wait it out’, because the issue won’t go away without treatment for the underlying condition.
About 18% of the US population suffers from anxiety disorders of some kind and many of those people fail to get treatment due to the questions they get. Someone with anxiety isn’t being weak, and they can’t just take a pill and make their problems go away. Anxiety disorders are real medical conditions that require real treatment.
One common problem people face with anxiety is insomnia. Some people might turn to sleeping pills in order to help, while others might try an anti-anxiety medication. Sometimes, even these pills can’t do the job and you might need some other methods of falling asleep. Here are a few ways that you can end the tossing and turning from anxiety.
1. Squeeze and relax – One way to get your body to relax is to tense your muscles, and then slowly relax them. Start at the toes, and curl them, then take a deep breath and relax them as you breathe out. Move up to the calf muscles and do it again. Work your way all the way up your body and by the time you reach your neck, you’ll feel much more relaxed.
Try breathing through your left nostril – This is an old Yoga trick that is said to reduce blood pressure, which should help you sleep. Simply block your right nostril with your finger and begin breathing normally, through just your left. This is a particularly good method for those who get anxious or overheated in bed.
2. Let your mind wander – Instead of thinking about the bill you forgot to pay or the client you need to call back, let your mind wander to nothingness. While it might be hard at first, soon it will be much easier to close your eyes and simply fall asleep.
3. Turn off the TV and stay away from the computer for at least half an hour before bed – Find quiet tasks like reading a book or meditation. By avoiding stimulation directly before bed it will be easier for your body to understand that it’s time to sleep.
4. Use pressure points – The spot between your eyes at the bridge of your nose has a pressure point that might help you fall asleep faster. Simply press it and hold for 20 seconds. Do this twice more and you’ll be able to nod off faster.
5. Don’t go to bed angry – That old saying isn’t just about maintaining relationships. It’s also about allowing you to sleep at night. If you’re upset about something, consider writing down all your angry thoughts about it before you climb into bed. This moment of release might be all you need to let the problem go for the night.
6. Resist the urge to toss – Sometimes, you might get the urge to move and roll over when you’re trying to fall asleep. This is the exact opposite of what you should do. Instead, resist the urge to toss and turn and you should be able to fall asleep faster. Just make sure you don’t hold yourself tense while you’re doing it.
A good night’s sleep is an important part of keeping anxiety under control. When you don’t sleep enough, it can actually increase the severity and the frequency of your panic attacks. If you are having ongoing problems with falling asleep and staying asleep, you might want to talk to your doctor about getting a sleep aid. Sometimes, this can cause dependency, so it’s also import to try other methods to see what works for you.