Anxiety and Myths

Anxiety disorders are the most commonly occurring mental disorders. In public perception, they are really similar to depressive disorders. We feel anxious or fearful when we are in a stressful situation. A feeling of anxiety may be called a disorder if it doesn’t go away with the stressful situation and if it starts hampering with your everyday life.

Anxiety Disorders

There are various times when our palms get sweaty, our knees feel weak and arms feel heavy. Apart from being lyrics to an Eminem song, these are also the feelings of someone who is suffering from an anxiety disorder, all the time. They are a broad group of mental illnesses like Generalized Anxiety Disorder, specific phobias, PTSD, OCD or Panic disorders among many others

I have previously talked about OCD and will discuss the other illnesses in the weeks to come. Women and young people are more susceptible to developing a disorder. This is explained by the high hormonal activity, care giving stress and higher tendency to seek comfort than men. Youngsters find themselves under a lot of pressure from peers and parents. This leads to development of phobias and panic disorders in the teen years.

Myths about Anxiety

As is with most mental illnesses, there are a lot of myths about it that are doing the rounds presently. These include referring to it as a blown up version of stress, calling it shyness and believing that it is a temporary problem and fixes itself. There are many articles which address these issues so I am going to focus on the lesser known myths about these disorders. These are things that people believe they know but it is faulty as well.

·        Myth 1: Never Ending Compassion Helps

On face value, this may seem like a pretty good idea but if really applied, it could actually do more harm than good. When someone close to us has an anxiety disorder, it is important that we give them the help they need. It is also very important that we don’t end up insulating them completely from the outside world. We must be the nets to fall back on for a person with anxiety. We need to be people who can get others up again when they fall. What we must not be is a thick coat of compassion which protects them all the time. We need to be nets, not wrappings.

·        Myth 2: It is Glamorized Shyness

This has actually not been disproved with totality yet. There are debates among scientists about what the definition of shyness is and how it differs from social phobias. Another important distinction is that shyness may have social anxiety as a component but social anxiety doesn’t include shyness as a trait. People may be shy because of social anxiety but not the other way around.

There is a lot that the general public doesn’t know about anxiety. It is accepted as a symptom of various illnesses but not as a disorder by itself. There are many things that people believe are true about it but don’t have any scientific backing as yet. Anxiety disorders are a group of mental illnesses and I will discuss many of them in the next month.

It will give me and you an opportunity to learn something more.

207 Replies to “Anxiety and Myths”

    1. The feeling of anxiety is pretty common. Anxiety disorders are actually rarer in comparison. It is important to differentiate between the two.

      Thank you for visiting 🙂

    1. I think with this knowledge you are better equipped to take care of someone in need of help. I’m glad I could be of help.
      Thank you for dropping by ☺️

  1. I agree when you say we have be like nets not wrappings. lets not suffocate a person who suffers from anxiety with our unnecessary help. Nice post!!

    1. Yes! Thank you. If we wrap people up they may end up enclosed in a small circle which could actually increase the intensity of anxiety.

  2. We need to be nets, not wrappings – so well put. I think this is true for most support groups. Be it for disorders like you mentioned or general life too!

  3. My biggest takeaway from this is that ‘We need to be nets, not wrappings’. We do tend to smother loved ones thinking we are protecting them and end up causing them to loose their confidence instead.

    #firstgreenstep #MyFriendAlexa

    1. That is a great way to deal with anxiety! Anxiety disorders are a harder puzzle to crack but not something that cant be fought

  4. Thank you for this. Myth 1 is something that I keep thinking about as someone close to me has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Since then I have wondered at what my role should be in such a scenario.

    1. You’re welcome Suchita. I hope this helps you understand the possibilities with someone who has an anxiety disorder.

  5. Arjun, I like your consistent efforts in educating the masses on mental health. Anxiety is probably is most underrated mental health issue of our times. Anxiety can be crippling in terms of productivity or even performing normal daily chores taken in extremes. Good post.

  6. It is sad how misused these terms are, and I am glad you’ve explained them so well. If one does not understand what someone is going through it is better to be a silent supporter than jump to wrong conclusions and make that person feel even worse.

    1. Exactly! Saying you feel anxious is okay but saying you have an anxiety disorder without the diagnosis by a professional causes a lot of problems.

  7. I so relate to the net and wrapping metaphors. I suffer from depression and my husband used to care a lot for me otherwise but during the episode he wud be around but wouldn’t overindulge. Good one!! #Myfriendalexa

  8. Anxiety is a disorder but most often it is misconstrued and many times it unknowingly ignored. The consequences are bad and remains for long, it is important be cognizant of the symptoms and signs which you have so nicely articulated.

    We get deeply involved in our work and the grind takes a toll out of us. In today’s competitive world there is wide spread stress that we keep going through and don’t build the outlets to release those toxicity. It accumulates and we are trapped in the state of disorder.

    Yes compassion is such important aspect of managing the syndrome of anxiety and stress. It is an art to learn how to extend our compassion and being with the person suffering from such disorder and we need to learn it properly otherwise as rightly pointed out instead of being a net to support we end of entangling with the same net with our knotted thoughts.

    Shyness and social anxiety is another facet as so aptly described by you difficult to separate unless we understand the finer nuances. Not easy to dissect in simple words. Shyness is natural trait and depends primarily on our nature and influenced by our nurturing but social anxiety catches with us silently and we get conditioned and we find it difficult to break the engulf. Thanks for an insightful thoughts on a very important subject confronting many of us.

    #MyFriendAlexa, #MakeupReads

  9. The lifestyle changes, the speed at which our days go by, the sheer necessity to lead the rat race… no wonder our generation is suffering from a buffet of physical and mental ailments. This was well researched, to the point and easy to read. Good work, Arjun. Keep it up

    1. Thank you Sonia. Anxiety is common, anxiety disorders are actually not that common. The difference between the two is not known to many.

  10. short but informative write-up. Mental disorders need to be dealt not to keep under cover. Family and friends may play an important role.
    #mannreads

  11. Hi Arjun, I found this article very enlightening.
    Indian society avoids discussing mental illness and disorders topics generally. We need to be open to such discussions so that if someone we know is suffering, we are able to help and support.

  12. And especially in today’s time where people are more into social media world, the situations to face the real world generates anxiety to some extent. Will look forward to read your detailed posts on these aspects.

  13. Always appreciate your work Arjun. Extra of anything is not good. Even extra help than required does more harm than help. And of course, we need to understand and support each other in difficult times rather demotivating and lowering the spirit of others.

  14. “Women and young people are more susceptible to developing a disorder.”- Is there any resource material you suggest that delves into this axiom in a more in-depth manner? I suffer from anxiety but didn’t know it is common for women – as a lot. The article is superb. 🙂

  15. I have seen so many people going through anxiety issues now a days and that is even affecting their health.. also i totally agree about the glamourised shyness bit

  16. People suffer with anxiety for various reasons. I guess it becomes a disorder when not attended to for a long time. Treatment and support from family and friends does play a good role in overcoming it.

  17. Anxiety disorder is most common with today’s lifestyle. I have hypertension, and anxiety is never far away from me, and as you have rightly mentioned above, sugar quoted sweet talk doesn’t help.
    #MyFriendAlexa #gleefulreads

  18. I am glad you are creating awareness between general anxiety and anxiety disorders. It is so misunderstood and misinterpretated.Looking forward to the series of posts!

  19. I totally agree that give the space to anyone to overcome on their own rather than be protective all the time as they will never able to learn.

  20. Many people may suffer from anxiety disorders and yet not know what they are suffering from. Thanks for taking this up and doing a series of posts on it.. looking forward to reading more about it.

  21. I read couple of posts during A to Z as well. There are not many people who write on mental health with such precision. I love the way you use the analogies. In this You have used the song of Eminem. You are right, people have lot of myths about the anxiety disorder. And I have got lot of information like I always thought sweaty palms is normal. Thank you for sharing such valuable information.

  22. Its so important to raise awareness about this. More people need to understand that it is not something in people’s heads but a real disorder. Also very important how you say we need to be nets not wrappings.

  23. Very erudite and nice post. Yes anxiety is a problem. I can say whenever I am assigned a task I become anxious to complete as fast as I can. I think this is a kind of anxiety disorder. Taking too much pressure on one self. The thought that what others are thinking about me, is also a kind of anxiety. Studies must be done to see if people from certain states of India tend to be more anxiety prone, compared to others who are more carefree. Drugs like Diazepam may be mild anxiolytic. But too much dependence on a CNS depressant may not be good. We must be trained from childhood how to deal with anxiety.

    1. I think it is important to differentiate between anxiety and anxiety disorder. Research in India and that too on mental health doesn’t have the funds it needs. This acts as a barrier in today’s time.

    1. Indeed. The myths are so hard to tackle that appropriate handling seems far fetched. We can only tackle them together.

  24. Another insightful post from you Arjun!.Thanks for explaining anxiety disorder for a layman like me to understand it.

  25. A great insight to anxiety disorder arjun. I loved the words we must be nets and not wrappings from myth 1. Well researched and written. All the best.

  26. Thanks for explaining the demarcation between social anxiety and shyness. These two are often confused. Look forward to read further on this very important topic. #JaiSReads

  27. Knees feel weak and arms feel heavy! I have felt like that very often. Then it was diagnosed that I was suffering from fibromyalgia. In this world of cut throat competition, anxiety has become pretty common. Looking forward to reading more about it.
    #myfriendalexa #thefoodfundareads

    1. That is a major barrier in people suffering with this. Expression is often difficult and misunderstood by the people nearby.

  28. Arjun, often people assume that anxiety is a myth behind which the affected hide their social and emotional problems. Thank you for this post that tells them otherwise.
    #DeepTiesReads #MyFriendAlexa

    1. Thank you Deepti. The understanding of these illnesses is not what we want it to be but I am trying to change that with time.

  29. Super Useful Post 🙂 I have this Anxiety too and have been through many odd situations. It is very important to speak up and seek help.
    vrag.in
    #vigorousreads #MyFriendAlexa

    1. Thank you Varsha. I hope you are able to manage the anxiety well now. If you need some tips, I am happy to help. 🙂

  30. I feel nowadays there’s a rise in such mental disorders. Every other person is suffering from stress and anxiety. Still people don’t feel the need to take expert help. This post is really helpful in understanding anxiety disorders, a must read for everyone. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you! It is true that people arent very willing to talk about these things but the situation is changing in the modern days.

    1. I won’t say everyone has an anxiety disorder. People may feel anxious but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a disorder.

  31. People avoid talking about depression in our society and anxiety . This post is helpful to understand about anxiety and how to deal with it.
    Ms Arora #msarorasays

  32. Anxiety is so common. It is not a disease… You are just not at ease … Dis … ease

    Show care and compassion and it can happen to anyone.

    I never thought I would have anxiety… But when it does hit you, it feels like you are stuck, you might have panic attacks, simple things look complicated…

    I found the easy way to overcome is to relax, accept the problem, and focus on something else.

    At any one point we can only focus on one thing, it’s either the anxiety and mental breakdown or that cup of coffee or reading a book or watching a cartoon…

    I also take walks and give myself a break.

    Meditation, maintaining a gratitude journal have helped me reduce and now overcome such attacks.

    Now I cannot remember the last time I was seized by one.

    I consciously chose alternative methods bcos medication has ravaged people I have known.

    I know there are many ways to beat this… I also know that anyone can overcome it.

    1. I’m glad you found a way to beat it. Anxiety or mild anxiety disorders can be taCkled with mediation or alternative medicine. Although, I must point out that it doesn’t work for everyone.

      ThaNk you for stopping by :=

  33. Nicely explained about the most common disorder we see around these days but ignore to accept its existence. Thanks for the write-up. #MyFriendAlexa #SurReads

    1. True. Work and social relationships take up most of our time and are major contributors to our stress these days.

    1. Accepting them as diseases will surely make the access to doctors easier. This could improve the situation of mental illnesses in the country.

  34. I am glad I came across your blog, Arjun. I too write on mental illness and mental health. MY hubby being a bi polar patient and my MIL a schizophrenia patient when she was with us, gave me the kind of experience that actually shook me, but I decided to share it with the world because I felt that there might be someone out there who could find solace in the fact that there are people like them around, fighting the same battles and coming out of it, step by step, with help from doctors and therapists. I know how lonely it can be facing such demons alone and that is why I feel that it is perfectly fine sharing your journey with the world. That is Life, isn’t it? That is the kind of life so many of us live, then why not talk about it and share our stories?

    1. Wow, I am so glad to come across another blogger who writes on the same issues. It is really brave on your part to share the stories with everyone. Hope to interact with you more in the future 🙂

  35. Apart from being lyrics of Eminem’s song 😀
    A good informative post. People should stop being overtly compassionate to us. 😀

    Anmol recently posted This lasagna looks exquisite; let me share it on my Instagram!

    1. Thank you!😊 Over compassion often ends up taking people who are trying to help down. We need to find the balance to it.

    1. Thank you! I’ve been trying to generate awareness on the same. Let’s keep working to make India a more healthy society. 🙂

  36. A pertinent topic in the spectrum of mental health. We all need to discuss mental health more openly. This is a good start. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you Priyanka! I’ve been talking about mental health for more than a year and will continue to do so in the future too.

  37. Anxiety Disorders are characterised by a sense of doubt and vulnerability about future events. The attention of anxious people is focused on their future prospects, and the fear that those future prospects will be bad. Anxiety Disorders are characterised by a variety of symptoms involving anxious thoughts, unexplained physical sensations, and avoidant or self protective behaviours. To be honest I stay away from the word Anxiety.

    1. Thank you for visiting! I’ve been writing on this subject for more than a year and trying to generate discussion on it too.

    1. Exactly! My mom asked me too that is anxiety disorder a disease too? There is actually not much known in the general public about anxiety.

  38. So true. I have seen so many people getting comfortable with anxiety…that is the worst…how should we help them get out of it? Speaking directly doesnt help.

    1. The problem is if they’re not willing to get better, there is nothing we can do to help. It is one of the harsh realities of mental illnesses

  39. Informative read!
    Your first point is an eye opener because mostly we try to soothe through love but it can be dangerous for them.

    1. Doing it for too long could be dangerous for them. Striking a balance is the most difficult part of helping someone.

    1. Thank you so much! I have tried to touch important aspects in other posts too. Hope you can find the time to go through them.

  40. Problem is people really don’t want to share and discuss such topics. Its a tabboo. Nice to see your blog and people responding to it positively. Good Luck!

    1. A psychiatrist will be the judge of whetehr a person has a disorder or not. They use standiardised tools like DSM or ICD to make this decision.

  41. Reading this post reminded me of the incident that happened recently. Lately I got lucky and manage to escape a fatal accident from then I am having minor panic attacks and recently when i was a family function, there was an instance where i was surrounded by number of unknown people in a very tight space and that made me feel claustrophobic. That feeling of anxiety was making me feel difficult to breathe so I helped myself out of that chaos and stood outside where there was flow of air. It helped me gain my balance and peace back. But everyone could only see one part of it and formed opinion on me. The problem now a days is how people cannot see the difference between things and reach to a conclusion without even knowing the facts and determining what actually happened.

    1. I hope you are better now Keerthi. People are quick to form opinions instead of knowing more. This is a bog problem in our society.

    1. Indeed. We feel anxious often but it isn’t necessarily a disorder. It is important to differentiate between the two.

  42. Wow! I just discovered your blog through #myfriendalexa

    I have been living a life of ignorance. A blog like this is just what I need… sometimes, to understand my abnormal reactions to situations and sometimes, just to ward off the fear of having a weird mental disorder… which I don’t know by name but know runs in the family.

    Awesome blog!

    1. Thank you Manpreet! Hope you find this informative and can pass on that info to those near you. Great to have you on board 🙂

  43. Loved your post. Ever since I was a little girl I was known to be very shy. I was diagnosed with anxiety when I was 8 having the social anxiety component to it as well. I can be pretty talkative once I open up to someone but by reading your post it makes me wonder if I was never shy at all and it was just social anxiety that goes away once I am comfortable in a situation.
    I also have a blog where I post stuff about anxiety and I would love it if you checked me out!

  44. Hey, that was a nice read, in my own dealings with anxiety I have found that a lot of people just don’t have a complete grasp on what anxiety and having an anxiety disorder really means, similar to myth 2, in my experiences I’ve found that people tend to see anxiety as nothing more than “being too nervous” and that definitely needs to change. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thank you! People have a lot of misconceptions. Some things are considered true when they are not and some are considered lies when they are not. It’s something we need to work on.

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