This is normal – a fact of life. Yet anxiety, like the people it affects, comes in different shapes and sizes and not everyone is equipped to cope.
It is a much misunderstood problem and something that ranks amongst the most-common mental health issues around.
For this reason, we’re pleased that anxiety has been chosen as the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, which began on Monday.
In shining a light on anxiety, it’s our hope that more people will begin to understand the problems it can cause and recognise that, for those in its grip, this is not a trivial matter.
To borrow a phrase from Anxiety Care UK, a non-profit organisation based in East London, ‘a person cannot just decide not to be anxious anymore’.
Therein lies the problem.
Because EVERYONE experiences anxiety, there’s a common misconception that this is something that can be put to one side. It isn’t that simple.
You see, whilst anxiety can – in its normal form – be managed, in excess it has the power to take over lives. In low levels, anxiety can sometimes be useful, helping us with learning, vigilance and general performance and serving as a powerful motivational force. In larger doses, however, it can be destructive and, at its most persistent and excessive, it can lead to more serious mental health problems.
It can be difficult to define anxiety, although in simple terms it should be considered a form of fear. Unlike fear, which is a response to imminent danger, however, anxiety is an ongoing worry, sometimes without a specific cause. Everybody’s anxiety is unique. There are different types, each with different characteristics.
Panic, phobia, OCD et al, all are different, but all can do great damage. Such problems can have a physical and psychological impact. Young people experiencing these issues often become isolated, suffering loneliness, which does nothing but exacerbate the situation.
Here at CPUK, we offer a wide range of effective evidence-based therapies to combat anxiety. We are always on hand to offer help, support and advice, because we understand that, although everyone experiences anxiety, this isn’t a problem that should be underestimated or one that can be swept under the carpet.
For anyone feeling anxious – and given that we’re into exam season, this tends to be a stressful time for children and teenagers – we recommend getting some exercise, eating a good diet, trying to relax and avoiding alcohol.
Get some sleep, learn the triggers, face the fear and don’t be afraid to talk.
This is the time to do something about anxiety, whether that’s raising awareness amongst those who don’t understand it or doing our bit to help those who know it all too well.
Mental Health Awareness Week is here. Let’s use it to make a difference.