Anxiety disorders are a lot more common than you might think. It is easily the most common mental illness here in the US and affects about 40 million adults.

While most people assume they understand the basic idea of what anxiety means for all people, they would be wrong.  Anxiety is never the same for anyone. What is easy for you might not be easy for everyone else, that’s just how it goes. There are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstanding when it comes to anxiety and below we’re going to go over some of them.

If you have anxiety or know someone who struggles with it then you most likely know all about these misconceptions. Just because things seem ‘black and white’ doesn’t mean they actually are. We could all benefit from understanding anxiety a bit better.

7 Things People Tend to Misunderstand About Anxiety:

1. Anxiety is always consistent.

Just because someone is anxious in one particular situation doesn’t mean they will be anxious in the same situation on a different day. Anxiety is not a consistent thing. Sometimes people are anxious about one thing today and not tomorrow. It’s not as simple as you want it to be and it never will be. Of course, there are situations and types of anxiety that are more consistent, but consistency with a mental illness of any type isn’t always the case.

2. Telling someone to relax will comfort them.

Oftentimes, when you try to calm down an anxious person, you can end up doing more harm than good. If you haven’t been through it, then you won’t understand. Sure, you might feel small not knowing what to do but please, don’t give unsolicited advice on something you aren’t experiencing/haven’t experienced.

3. You can always tell when someone is anxious.

Sure, you might not see the struggle someone is going through but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going through it. Just because they keep their composure doesn’t mean they aren’t anxious. Anxiety doesn’t look the same for everyone and you can’t always spot it.

4. People with anxiety are weak.

Nope, you’re dead wrong if you think this. People with anxiety are actually some of the strongest people you’ll ever meet. They are able to get through things you could never imagine on a day-to-day basis.

5. Anxiety isn’t a ‘big deal.’

Sure, it’s not the end of the world but it is a big deal. It can literally keep someone from being able to carry out normal everyday tasks. You would be surprised how drastic it can be and hard to overcome it truly is sometimes.

6. People with anxiety should just face their fears.

It’s not that simple. Sure, facing their fears might be something they do end up having to do but if it is causing them so much stress that they’re literally panicking then they need to take a step back. Just because you don’t think something is as big as they do doesn’t mean you should make them feel invalid over it.

7. Anxiety isn’t a ‘real’ illness.

Well, first off mental illness is ‘real’ illness. Some anxiety is natural, yes, but anxiety disorders are extreme forms of anxiety and they do cause impairments. Anxiety is just as real of an illness as any other. It is something that can be diagnosed and treated.


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