Anxiety disorders affect people of all ages and the many different types of anxiety disorders all have different symptoms
Having an Anxiety Disorder
Everyone in the world experiences feelings of anxiety at some point. Anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness, nervousness, worry, fear, or dread of what might happen or is about to happen. It’s usually a sense of anticipated danger, trouble, or threat. Feeling a bit anxious can be helpful sometimes, because anxiety makes you more alert and focused on warding off a potential problem. A little anxiety can help us do our best in situations that involve performance. The problem is when anxiety is so strong and frequent that it interferes with your functioning and causes you to feel overwhelmed, stuck, or unable to do what you need to do. Anxiety that is too constant or too intense needs to be addressed.
Anxiety disorder is one of the most common mental health conditions. Anxiety disorders affect people of all ages and the many different types of anxiety disorders all have different symptoms. What they all have in common is that the anxiety is frequent; is too strong; is out of proportion to the present situation; and affects a person’s daily life and happiness.
There are many different types of anxiety disorders, and you might have heard of some of them: generalized anxiety; obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD); phobias (intense fears) like social phobia (social anxiety); agoraphobia (an intense fear being in open or crowded places); and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Obviously, these can range from mild to severe, but if you think you suffer from any of them, please talk to a trusted adult to find out what you can do about it. Medication and therapy help tons! We can’t stress it enough!
Please please pleeease don’t be nosy and ask questions if I don’t offer information. Someone once asked me straight out if I take medication for my anxiety. I asked her how much she weighs. Yep, same thing. I’m not ashamed of it, but it’s private, and not your business. Don’t ask me about therapy, meds, or why I get so anxious. I might ask you why you don’t have social skills and if you go to social skills therapy for that. Okay, I’m kidding, I wouldn’t ask you that, but hi, it’s the same thing!
When we’re anxious, people ask us why, and the answer is always “I don’t know!” That makes us even more anxious. Lots of us don’t know what the problem is and wish we could just snap out of it (fun fact: we can’t). That’s when we decided, with the help of our parents, to seek help. What a difference it makes! A friend once confided that her parents didn’t want her taking medication because they were worried about future shidduchim. I told her she was better off in shidduchim as an amazing, happy, well-adjusted girl on anti-anxiety medication than as an emotional, anxious wreck that no one wants to be married to!
(Originally featured in Teen Pages, Issue 878)
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