Who It impacts:
Within the U.S. 40 million adults aged 18 and older suffer from an anxiety disorder, which makes it the most common mental illness within the United States. Anxiety is also a very treatable disorder, however, only around 37% of these individuals receive treatment. Anxiety often coexists with depression, in fact nearly half of individuals diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with anxiety. Therefore, with mental health awareness month quickly approaching it is important to touch on such a prevalent disorder, and encourage anyone who needs help to receive it.
I have suffered from anxiety for as long as I can remember. It has truly impacted every aspect of my life. However, I became accustomed to the way I functioned with my anxiety. I wanted to get help, but was too scared to, and honestly didn’t know how. It wasn’t until early August that I made a definite choice to go see a mental health professional. I have gone to only a handful of sessions so far, and it has created incredible change for me. It helps to just talk to someone openly about what brings up negative and irrational thoughts, and what spurs these intense feelings of anxiety. Through therapy I have been able to address issues that I have accepted as normal, but have actually been creating a huge impact on my life and my relationships.
How to get help:
One of the most effective ways to treat anxiety is through seeking a mental health professional and/or getting medication. One resource to access this help is through Day One’s Charitable Mental Health Program. This organization offers mental health screening and access to affordable mental health services. Sometimes the biggest thing holding us back from getting treatment is finances. This is why Day One would be a great option for anyone wanting to seek mental health services. Day One believes that everyone has a right to mental health services.
How to cope:
It can be extremely difficult to reach out for help. Sometimes it feels easier to continue to live how you have been. Therefore, below is a list of ways to cope with anxiety, or even day to day stress. It is important to take care of yourself, even if you are not ready to receive professional help.
- Take time to yourself- do something you enjoy for a little bit. Whether that be listening to music, going for a short walk, etc.
- Do something that helps clear your head and puts you in a better mindset.
- Try to eat well balanced meals- this will overall help with energy levels. Also make sure not to skip meals, as it adds stress to your body.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol- these things can actually trigger anxiety
- Get enough sleep- when stressed the body requires more sleep to regenerate
- Deep breaths- this seems super simple but it goes a long way
- Evaluate what triggers you- recognize what is inducing anxiety, and process through connections between anxious feelings and your environment
- Challenge your thoughts- if a thought is creating anxiety, challenge it to reframe your thinking
- Visualize a place that brings you peace- simply thinking of a memory or place where you felt peace, and pairing it with a couple deep breaths, can work wonders.
Anxiety is a prevalent mental health issue within our society. It can be debilitating and create unwanted turmoil in our daily lives. Reaching out for help can be incredibly difficult, but is worth the effort. Take it day by day, and do what is best for you, no matter what that is.