How our anxieties are born?
It starts with Fear-
Fear is natural human emotion, which automatically gets triggered when we are confronting a recognized threat. It is a mechanism, where our mind gives signals of “flight or fight” which cautions our body, the signal is often in the form of physical and emotional responses. Physical response could be sweating, increased heart rate, and nausea, shortness of breath, chills, chest pain, or trembling. Emotional response to fear could be feeling overwhelming, getting upset, feeling of no control, or experiences sense near death.
Depending on a person, their reaction to a fearful situation can be both positive and negative. Perceiving fearful situations, as negative or positive is usual and discrete for all people. We can experience both positive/ negative reactions to fear depending on the situation. People when they experience fears as positive they thrive to experience fear- induced situations like adventurous sports. People perceive fear as negative. They go to extreme lengths to avoid those reactions, feel extremely scared of feeling fear, experience panic and extreme reactions too, they are experiencing “phobia”. Phobia is one of the important facets of Anxiety Disorder.
Anxiety means intense fear or worry. We all experience anxiety at some point in our life such as before an exam, interview, or making some important decisions in life. This is occasional nervousness and everyone experiences it. Anxiety cautions us to potential threat/ danger that we perceive, and experience inability to set aside our worry, have difficulty to concentrate, unable to sleep properly, sometimes experience hard to breathe or experience restlessness.
When a person perceives that others are going to evaluate them, they then feel frightened and anxious about just attending that event and put extreme efforts to avoid that particular event. Holding the thought of being judged, scrutinized publicly or embarrassed by others, they might develop extreme fear of public speaking which might affect their occupational life.
Some people may perceive an environment to be unsafe and believe that there is no way to escape, it can be any situation or place. They find it difficult to leave home alone, crowded places, closed places, open space or public transport. The fear is not able to escape from these places or find help. They might avoid going out all alone.
Facts about Anxiety-
There is a popular myth that social phobic people just are shy and occasionally experience nervousness, which is not true. Everyone experiences nervousness before any big event in life. Whereas a shy person experiences shyness in all aspects of their life, it is a trait of one’s personality.
There is another popular myth about which states that avoiding stress will reduce the fear and anxiety, which is not true. Avoiding stressful events will suppress your emotions. However, fact is you can be anxious and do whatever you want to do.
Anxiety in children-
Children also experience anxiety, children as young as toddlers who experience intense fear when their loved ones leave their sight. This anxiety is experienced by all toddlers and most of them outgrow by around 3 years of age. If anxiety is too intense or extended and starts interfering with their school or daily activities then they might experience separation anxiety and which requires professional help. Sometimes teenagers and adults might also experience separation anxiety.
Importance of Psychotherapy-
People who experience anxiety are most of the time aware about it but feel helpless to cope or reduce their irrational fear and simply start avoiding fearful situations and their fear is not addressed. It might start hindering their work, personal, professional life and their interpersonal relationships and turning from anxiety to anxiety disorder. Seeking help from mental health professionals can help a person to cope with it and build resilience in them.
People who experience anxiety are often misunderstood by their colleagues at work, their family members, friends or their partners. This makes them feel more anxious, fearful and restless. All these feelings are natural but need to be addressed as it affects our daily lives and relationships with others. There is no shame in seeking help when you feel distress; it is a decision made by us to choose to keep suffering or take initiative and seek necessary help.
Anxiety disorder is one of the most researched disorders and it can be managed with medication/ psychotherapy, in some cases, it requires a combination of both. Various strategies can help an individual to reduce their anxiety and improve their quality of life. In addition, it can help an individual to be more adaptable to different life events. Suppressing anxious feelings can make you more anxious and helpless.