“Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”

-Traditional Proverb

What is anxiety beyond the usual textbook definition?

A friend of mine once said it felt like her “body, mind and soul were on a perpetual rollercoaster of fear, violent shivering and a heart attack all in one eternal ride.”

Though never having experienced it personally, it’s said that an anxiety disorder is one the most common mental illnesses in the world.

Much like depression, the symptoms and triggers of it vary from person to person, but the root of it is medically defined as constant and excessive worry to the point of it hindering everyday activities.

Where anxiety stems from is too never definitive. The most common root is a either one or more traumatic events that emotionally scar the person.

It’s believed that such incidents traumatize the person so much that the fear of it happening again is permanently stamped in the back of their minds.

Physicals symptoms of anxiety vary but some common ones are palpitations, profusely sweating, insomnia, nausea and dizziness.

Much like depression, people with anxiety disorders have to deal with their fair share of folks who have misconceptions about it.

Some people think it’s just stage fright, others think it’s just being introverted or a little shy.

The fact is, dealing with anxiety symptoms is sheer torture for the recipient of it. It’s not a case of feeling shy, it’s an actual fear that world around them is about to crumble.

Nor is it just a case of pessimism. A person with anxiety certainly derives no pleasure in predicting doom and gloom.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been fortunate enough not to have dealt with anxiety like I have with depression so my knowledge of it or lack thereof prevents me from writing a more in-depth piece. However, I believe two things qualify me to at least bring attention and awareness about it.

First, I have clinical depression. While not the same thing, symptoms and feelings of mental health issues often run similarly and crossover into each other.

A person with anxiety might share some of the same symptoms of a person with depression, bipolar and PTSD and vice versa.

Secondly, I’ve known many friends who struggle with anxiety. This has enabled me to see it up close and taught me some lessons over the years.

When I see someone sweating or trembling I no longer assume it’s just nervousness that can be overcome with a small pep talk unless they tell me the same. I also never dismiss it as say “get over it” because I know that it’s a lot easier said than done.

For further research, there are so many websites and books that I wouldn’t even know where to begin in recommending.

One thing I will say is always start from the horse’s mouth. To understand anxiety, ask people who directly deal with it.

Do you have an anxiety disorder? Do you know people who do? How do you deal with it in each case? Share your thoughts by commenting below on our secure servers.

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Hi, I'm Neel! I'm a writer (fiction and poetry), a journalist and currently working in the advertising business. I'm also a mental health advocate, having been diagnosed with clinical depression a few years ago.
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