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Can We Really Overcome Anxiety? A Deep Dive

by Jul 26, 2023Information, Mental Health, Opinion

Overcoming anxiety is a journey, one that many of us are familiar with. Anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion. However, when a person regularly feels disproportionate levels of anxiety, it might become a medical disorder. Anxiety disorders form a category of mental health diagnoses leading to excessive nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry. These disorders can be further classified into types such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Specific Phobias, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Each type has unique features, but all revolve around the common theme of excessive, irrational fear and dread.

But here’s the thing – overcoming anxiety disorders doesn’t have to be debilitating. With the right help, coping mechanisms, and sometimes medication, they can be managed effectively. To illustrate this, I’m going to share some inspiring stories of celebrities who have worked to overcome their anxieties.

Understanding Anxiety

Overcoming anxiety is more than just feeling less stressed or worried. It involves recognizing the symptoms of anxiety disorders, which can include physical symptoms like rapid heart rate, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, and psychological symptoms like excessive worry, fear, and avoidance behavior. While stress and anxious feelings are a common response to a situation where we feel under pressure, they usually pass once the stressful situation has passed. Anxiety is when these anxious feelings don’t go away – when they’re ongoing and happen without any particular reason or cause. It’s a serious condition that makes it hard for a person to cope with daily life.

The good news is, you’re not alone. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders worldwide, with the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting that anxiety affects up to 264 million people globally. Overcoming anxiety is a shared struggle, and there are resources available to help.

Personal Journey

I’ve suffered from anxiety for most of my life. It’s something that has become worse over the years. Finally, at the age of 53, I’ve taken the first steps to overcoming anxiety, besides just reading about it and trying to self-diagnose. While I have not yet seen a therapist, my doctor has given me a prescription. At the time of writing this, I’ve been on it for about three weeks.

There were some side-effects for the first week or so, mostly drowsiness. After the first couple of days, I just stopped trying to fight it and went to bed every time I was tired. Basically taking a couple of naps a day. On the third day of doing that, I woke up the following morning feeling awake, and less stressed. It’s really, really helped. Your mental health matters, and it’s always okay to ask for help. There is nothing wrong with it. Next week or later this week, I will be scheduling with a therapist. Though for the first time in my life, I feel like I don’t need to see one. But I am going to, because I want to make sure I’m on the right meds and that I am officially diagnosed for whatever issues I think I suffer from.

Coping Strategies for Overcoming Anxiety

While professional help is crucial, there are also many self-help strategies for managing anxiety. Techniques such as mindfulness and meditation, regular exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep can all contribute to overcoming anxiety. Social support from friends and family is also invaluable. These strategies, combined with professional help, can make a significant difference in managing and overcoming anxiety.

Celebrity Stories

 It’s not just us ‘regular folks’ who struggle with anxiety. Many celebrities have also battled with anxiety and come out stronger. Oprah Winfrey, for instance, has been open about her struggle with anxiety. Despite her worldwide fame, she has experienced full-blown panic attacks and immense pressure. Yet, she didn’t let this stop her from becoming a global icon.

Bill Hader, a well-known comedian and actor, has been open about his struggles with anxiety. He described having “full-blown panic attacks” before shows and feeling immense pressure due to the live aspect of the show. He also mentioned his struggle with self-criticism. But with coping mechanisms like Transcendental Meditation, he managed to overcome his anxiety and continue his successful career. One of the most significant aspects of Hader’s journey with anxiety is his acceptance of it. He learned to acknowledge his anxiety rather than fight it, which was a turning point in his journey to overcoming anxiety. This acceptance allowed him to better manage his symptoms and continue to thrive in his career.

Marilyn Monroe: A Case Study

Marilyn Monroe, the famous blond actress and model, suffered from anxiety and depression over her long career. She was known to be reserved and insecure in private while she strived to be one of the best in her profession. In her quest, she longed for a certain freedom from publicity that, of course, the media and public were not quick to provide. She turned to medication and alcohol to deal with her anxiety and died from an alleged overdose in 1962.

Her story is a stark reminder of the importance of seeking treatment for mental health issues. It’s also a testament to how far we’ve come in understanding and treating mental health since Monroe’s time.

The Importance of Seeking Professional Help

According to Mental Health America, professional help can make a big difference in overcoming anxiety. A mental health professional can help you come up with plans for solving problems, feel stronger in the face of challenges, change behaviors that hold you back, look at ways of thinking that affect how you feel, heal pains from your past, figure out your goals, and build self-confidence. Most people who seek help feel better. For example, more than 80 percent of people treated for depression improve. Treatment for panic disorders has up to a 90 percent success rate.

The University of Rochester Medical Center also emphasizes the importance of seeking help early for a mental health issue, stating that it can make a big difference. They suggest consulting with a mental health professional when you have thoughts, emotions, or behaviors that are out of control, especially when they are affecting your relationships, your work, or your sense of well-being.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I want to reiterate that your mental health matters. It’s okay to ask for help. There is nothing wrong with it. If you’re struggling with anxiety, know that you’re not alone. Many have walked this path before you, including some of the most successful people in the world. And remember, it’s never too late to start overcoming anxiety. I’m a testament to that.

Stay strong, and take care of your mental health. Overcoming anxiety is a journey, but with the right resources and support, it’s a journey you can successfully navigate.

 

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