Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.
For those of you out there who believe that anxiety is an illness, like diabetes or epilepsy, you're wrong-it's not. Bipolar disorder and clinical depression are illnesses. Even obsessive compulsive disorder, which isn't always severe, is neurologically-based. However, anxiety, even panic attacks and agoraphobia, which are usually severe, are symptoms. Anxiety is a normal feeling, under the best of circumstances, such as worrying about finances, relationships and real dangers, like wild animals, tests and bad driving conditions. You feel it and it passes.
However, when you fight or avoid anxiety, as when tensing up with stress and trying hard not to feel it, or running away with addictive behavior, such as substances, panic sets in, and phobias occur. Also,you can learn anxiety , as when a parent models fear of going out or separation.
Sometimes, anxiety is a byproduct of other disorders. You can be anxious about your depression. Obsessive compulsive patients experience anxiety connected with their symptoms. Indeed, the symptoms become a tension-release mechanism, however unhealthy. If you experience attention deficit, also neurologically-based, it's easy to become anxious about handling everyday tasks and work. It's normal to react to physical illness with anxiety, too.
The "cure" for anxiety is simple in concept but takes practice. You can learn to feel it and relax and it will go away on its own. Whatever the basis for the anxiety will be tolerated and accepted or handled appropriately, then, when you think it through, with or without help.
Just remember, anxiety isn't a trap which has to paralyze or disable people forever. It's a reaction, which you learn to handle better.