Anxiety is an emotion, not a disorder. Let’s get that straight. I say “I have anxiety” for convenience, but it’s far more accurate to say “I have an anxiety disorder.” Here’s the difference:
Anxiety is a normal feeling. It’s that rush of panic when you realize your car keys are lost, the drive that pushes you to meet a deadline, or the push you get to catch your child before he falls.
An anxiety disorder is a mental illness where you experience that feeling of anxiety like, almost all the time, often about things that are irrational or don’t merit that much panic (e.g. a gathering with friends causes you to hyperventilate until you can’t breathe). I often ask people to call to memory a moment of panic such as losing a child in a public place (come on, everyone’s had it happen). Imagine the rush of fear, the racing thoughts, the way your heart speeds up and your muscles tighten. For most people, that reaction is adrenaline that helps them get out of a dangerous situation (i.e. run to find little Jimmy). When the danger is gone (you find him hiding in the clothing racks at the mall) your body returns to normal.
But imagine feeling that all day. Imagine how exhausting it would be to fear and worry and panic all. of. the. time. Imagine how you’d work to avoid the things that made the fear worse, as much as you can. Imagine how hard it is to be afraid of anything outside of your bed.
Now, there are anxious people who may not be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. And we all have deep fears and anxiety we absolutely must conquer if we want to chase our dreams and reach our potential.
I want to emphasize this- THE STUFF ON MY BLOG IS FOR EVERYONE, NOT JUST THOSE WITH DIAGNOSED CONDITIONS.
I firmly believe that everyone, yes even you, must prioritize their mental health and be aware of it. We have to learn (and teach our children) how to allow, process, express our strong emotions in healthy, productive way. The majority of the problems American society faces (homelessness, abuse, murder, divorce, poverty…) at their root, are because people don’t know how to deal with emotions.
That’s my cause to fight for, and why I’m writing and being vulnerable. I feel so called to share what I’ve learned through extensive research and experience and to share with you what I’m still learning every day. Will you come join this cause with me? Follow my account on Instagram (@actingforce), like my Acting Force page on Facebook, and share with your friends!