I, myself, have suffered a few anxiety episodes and am under constant stress which is why this topic drew my attention. As I have said before, it is not tough whatsoever to find people dealing with the same exact things that I am going through when it comes to stress and anxiety. When I am going through an anxiety attack I cannot control my breathing, my hands and feet begin to shudder, I feel nauseous, my stomach feels like it turns a million times a minute, my thoughts race, and I do not feel comfortable in my own body. My anxiety is as a result of high levels of stress and so are many of my colleagues’. Although most of my colleagues only suffer from occasional anxiety, I know a handful of people who suffer from debilitating kinds of anxiety disorders.
My dear friend Emma from childhood has suffered from minor anxiety for most of her life, but recently she has told me how her anxiety has been quite amplified since then. She deals with severe anxiety, as she has been for the past three years now, because of a triggering event which happened her freshman year of high school: a monumental death. Her anxiety began to increasingly get worse after the death of her friend. There were weeks where she was incapable of going to school and “functioning normally felt impossible”. She was constantly vomiting and began to be afraid of eating. This is when her phobia, emetophobia, was heightened to a whole new level. Emetophobia is the fear of throwing up, and not the kind which everyone feels a little bit, but an overwhelmingly intense feeling of anxiety and fright of regurgitating. For a while she was in a cycle of avoiding food, forcing herself to puke (because she felt more at easy when she was in control of it), and then convincing herself that she is not hungry because she was too afraid that she was going to puke after she put food in her body. During this time she was too afraid to leave her home or be away from the restroom in case she felt an urge to throw up, meaning she avoided group settings because of her phobia. This made her feel alone, which she explained to me as being the hardest part of dealing with anxiety. Emma told me how she has come to learn more about her disorder and how to manage it, therefore she is now more capable of handling her disorder.
Many people can cope with their anxiety, but many are also incapable of leaving their home because they are too afraid to deal with being in public. In the past two decades alone, disabling mental illness has increased quite drastically, so much so that the number of people suffering who qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) has increased over two and a half times from 1 out of 184 people to 1 out of 76 people. Many people who have such strong anxiety are also typically on some sort of medication to help calm down or relieve their symptoms. Unfortunately, the medication for most mental illnesses are harsh and are more than capable of making people feel drugged, groggy, nauseated, and sick than feeling better. The medications prescribed for anxiety patients are generally benzodiazepines which include Valium, Xanax, Librium, Klonopin, and Ativan, as well as Buspirone and beta-blockers like Propranolol. The most common medication for anxiety, however, are antidepressants. I personally don’t believe that medication is the best way to fix anxiety. So people should medicate by self-help.