How anxiety affected my life

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. However, for some people, it can become so excessive that it controls their everyday life. (Image courtesy of Flickr user Ryan Melaugh.)

Anxiety is a mental illness that millions of people suffer from, often in silence.

I have dealt with anxiety since I was a teenager. I first started dealing with it at around 13 years old. The average age for anxiety disorder onset is 11. I didn’t know what it was at first or that it even had a name. I just thought that something was wrong with me.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. However, for some people, it can become so excessive that it controls their everyday life.

My anxiety was at its worst in college. Along with depression, it felt like my mental illness had taken over my life. It felt like I couldn’t leave my room without having a panic attack. I also felt alone, like I was the only one who felt this way.

However, I wasn’t alone. According to the NIMH, 18 percent of adults struggle with anxiety. Women are 60 percent more likely to experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime than men.

Once I started seeing a therapist regularly, my anxiety became manageable. I learn tips to deal with it and how to handle a panic attack if one occurs.

The NIMH recommends someone struggling with anxiety to see a therapist. Often talking to someone can help someone feel less alone and to relieve their stress. Medication also might be needed. There are various medications with different dosages available. This is best to talk to a doctor about. It may take a few tries before the correct medication is found.

I still live with anxiety every day and it is something I will deal with forever. However, I now know it doesn’t rule my life.

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About Sara Brown

Sara Brown is the Sampan health editor.
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