Anxiety Misunderstood: I’m Not Flaking, I Just Can’t Do This

According to Medical News Today, anxiety is a term for disorders that cause symptoms like nervousness, apprehension, constant worrying and even fear. 

Additionally, anxiety can have physically manifested symptoms that range from simple fidgeting to stomach aches and insomnia. But generally, we know this not because we are experts but because of all of the information available centers around anxiety’s medical facts.

So what are anxiety's repercussions on people's personal lives?

When anxiety kicks in, simple tasks can turn incredibly difficult. Stress can rapidly increase and minor inconveniences can seem enormous. It is only natural that coping with anxiety can deeply affect one’s personal life. From work to bed, all areas of one’s life can suddenly turn problematic. There is a strong guilt component related to anxiety. People that suffer from it often blame themselves because anxiety amplifies negative feelings such as guilt and regret. Furthermore, it only gets worse when other people around you remark on your inability to cope. People don’t understand if we choose to stay home to reconvene, calm down and pamper ourselves even if it’s for just one day. Like, I’m not flaking, I just can’t do this!

Although recently there has been more space for dialogue regarding anxiety and mental health, there is still a long way to go to spread awareness. In fact, one widely ignored factor when it comes to mental health is awareness around how anxiety affects individuals differently. Without considering intrinsic aspects of one’s background, it would be impossible to understand their struggle. But what’s more significant for certain individuals is that it would be impossible to identify themselves with a general yet stereotypical figure of anxiety.

Cultural identity, language, ethnicity and other intrinsic aspects of one’s background make the recognition and even the diagnosis of anxiety a very difficult task. For example, for many years I told myself that I was just a little bit too worried (I actually said this to myself for months at times) mainly because my socioeconomic status did not allow me to prioritize my mental health as something I should care for.

Socioeconomic background is an aspect often overlooked when discussing anxiety; it is, however, one of the most critical components of anxiety. The Anxiety Centre has determined that in the U.S., approximately 40 million adults between the ages of 18 and 54 suffer from some kind of anxiety disorder and it costs the nation around 42 billion dollars yearly.

Hopefully, the future discourse of mental health and anxiety, in particular, can evolve to become more effective and inclusive.