We all get anxious from time to time and we may feel butterflies in our stomach or our breathing becomes rapid. The physical symptoms are most often short lived and we quickly return to a sense of well being. However, what if we avoid people, places, and things, feel sick, dizzy or uneasy on a regular basis.
What if we react in a more exaggerated way, perhaps we feel sick to our stomach, we start avoiding situations, events, or people. We may feel our heart race, breathing becomes drastically altered, our vision blurred or restricted, and we may feel frozen in time. Anxiety affects each of us in different ways. The symptoms in an extreme case may be similar to that of a heart attack or in a mild case rapid heart rate and elevated breathing.
In either event, the anxiety often reduces a person’s ability to experience the world and their lives in a complete and open way. Instead of approaching life with curiosity and wonder, their life can be filled with fear, dread, anger, resentment, and avoidance strategies.
The Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada states, “Anxiety Disorders are the most common mental health concern in Canada. They are also highly treatable”. Perhaps anxiety is a problem for you, for a friend, or family member but there is no need to suffer in silence. Help is available. The Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada further tells us that anxiety disorders “affect about 12% of all Canadians in any given year”. So, look around your group of friends, classmates, workmates, hockey team, soccer team, church group, book club, and know that more than one in ten of them may suffer from chronic anxiety related issues.
If you are aware of the people around you then you may have the opportunity to lend a helping hand, supporting ear, or help finding a counsellor, psychotherapist, or medical doctor to assist with the problem.
Remember, take time to talk to your friend or family member. Let them know you care. “Hey wait a minute, they should know I care, shouldn’t they?” Well, yes but remember they may not be thinking clearly and they may need reassurance and help sorting out what to do and where to go to find help. Sometimes it can be as easy as just taking time to hear what they have to say and other times trained help is needed. In either event, you won’t know what to do if you don’t first start the conversation … “Hey Sue, you know I have notice lately that …. Do you want to talk about it … do you need some help”