Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health challenge we face. Globally, an estimated 275 million people, or 4% of the population, were affected in 2016. In the U.S., 18.1% of the adult population suffers every year and 30% of people will experience anxiety at some point. Anxiety disorders touch 25.1% of children between 13 and 18 years old and women are almost twice as likely to experience anxiety disorders than males.
So if you’re feeling anxious or suffering from anxiety, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Not only is anxiety highly common, it is also highly treatable. Yet less than half of people suffering seek treatment.
Having been there myself, I know it is scary, confusing, frustrating and challenging. At times, it feels like it’s going to suffocate you or swallow you whole; and you fear you’ll never feel like yourself again.
I remember a time when I stood at the front door sobbing because I didn’t want my husband to leave for work in the morning. It was not me. I have always been laid back, easygoing and fearless. And all of a sudden I was anxious, scared and full of fear.
What made it even worse was feeling terrified I would feel that way forever. I remember calling a good friend on my way home one day from therapy. She’d suffered from anxiety too. I’ll never forget it what she told me. It was a turning point in my healing.
“It WILL get better; you won’t always feel like this. I know it feels like it now, but you won’t. I promise, you will get better”.
Those words resonated deeply and stuck with me through the toughest of times. I desperately needed to know there was hope.
Everyone I’ve spoken to who’s suffered from anxiety says something similar. I thought it would never end. I thought I was going to have to live like that forever (and I knew I couldn’t). I had no idea how I was going to get out of it. But they all got through it.
In this article, I’ll share real stories and recommendations from those who have been through anxiety, as well as tips and strategies from mental health professionals.
All of them share one common sentiment: anxiety is common and can be treated. If you can summon up the strength and courage to take a few steps out of the darkness, you will find light.
So if you’re out there wondering if you will EVER get through this, wondering if you will EVER feel like yourself again, wondering if this will EVER end…It CAN and it WILL.
For those of you facing anxiety on any level, my hope is that you find at least one of these stories, strategies or resources helpful and supportive in working through your own process and journey.