People still consider certain anxiety myths valid. However, those who live with this demon don’t benefit in the slightest from them. Anxiety devours our tranquility and our balance in life. Nobody chooses what disorder or illness to suffer from. Anxiety is a black hole that’s hard to get out of if the person doesn’t have a good support system. This task is even harder when people continue to have mistaken and damaging ideas about it.
In the current times in which social movements are constantly springing up, demanding rights, or giving visibility to realities that up until not long ago were relegated to the corner of silence and repression, another movement has arisen. Under the title “I didn’t choose my illness,” it sheds light on the experiences of those who deal with depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, etc. These people are often blamed or held responsible for things they have no control over.
“Anxiety is part of human nature, but it makes us cautious when the possibility comes into conflict with reality, and when the present becomes obsessed with the future”.
Making the movement visible and giving it a voice is important. On one hand, because a significant proportion of the population still navigate in the waters of total ignorance about what mental disorders and illnesses are. Stigma and prejudice are also part of this ignorance.
None of this helps the person who’s trying to understand what’s happening to them. In fact, it creates obstacles which stop them from seeking help due to fear of what others will say. This can make this condition chronic until it’s totally debilitating. None of this is acceptable nor tolerable. Simple things like knowing more, clarifying terminology, and making these kinds of realities more visible help create more supportive environments.
1. Anxiety is just a chemical imbalance
There are still many health professionals who believe that anxiety is “just” the result of a simple chemical imbalance in the brain. It’s worth pointing out that this is a half-truth, or, better said, an incomplete approach which just isn’t valid.
The reason? We know that offering a patient a pharmaceutical treatment which regulates the production of serotonin will make them feel better. However, medication in itself doesn’t achieve a complete nor lasting recovery. It just reduces the symptoms. We need more strategies to complement the treatment.
2. If my parents suffered from anxiety, so will I
Attributing genetic predisposition to all our problems, illnesses, and disorders is another common anxiety myth. Yes, there may be an increased risk, a small probability, that you’ll suffer from anxiety if your parents did, but it isn’t 100% certain. In any case, you can consider it a precaution.
3. If I’m suffering from anxiety, it’s because I’m doing something wrong
Generalized anxiety disorder is one of the most common mental illnesses. It really impacts a person’s life, and it’s chaotic and exhausting. If someone in the patient’s environment tells them that they’re suffering from the consequences of “doing things wrong”, this will only increase dejection and reduce their enthusiasm to find solutions.
Firstly, let’s remember that anxiety in itself is part of human nature. However, certain current or past events and the way we deal with and process our reality will determine the level of risk of developing these kinds o fdisorders.
4. I’m an anxious person. Anxiety is a part of who I am and I can’t change that
This is another really common anxiety myth. Some people think anxiety is a part of their personality. They also believe nothing can be done and that’s there’s no therapy nor treatment they can use to improve. They identify anxiety as part of their being, as an immanent part of their personality.
Let’s change the focus and assume a more realistic, logical, and optimistic vision of anxiety and any other kind of disorder. It can help you learn new ways of thinking and handling our emotions better. This can motivate you to change your behaviors and habits, and even to re-program your brain…
5. Deep relaxation alone can solve my anxiety disorder
You can’t solve anxiety disorders like puzzles. You have to treat them. The word “treatment” has several meanings:
- It involves active work by the psychologist and, above all, by the patient.
- The patient has to learn some strategies that they’ll always apply, not only until they perceive an improvement. They need to consolidate this state of recovery so that it lasts.
- Also, it’s essential to understand that treating anxiety means using more than one approach. Because treatment also implies a search, it means a combination of different strategies: deep relaxation, psychotherapy, behavior changes, meditation, sports, practicing new hobbies…
In summary, deep relaxation helps, but other resources must also be used to achieve a total and permanent recovery. We could say that we’ll need more strategies on the journey to finding what truly helps us. We have to find what truly enables us to feel better and deal with our fears.
In conclusion, anxiety myths distort reality. This is a disorder that can be treated successfully. Let’s not forget that anxiety is considered an epidemic which a lot of young people are suffering from. This is why it’s necessary to implement prevention measures and enable strategies to help us understand that our minds don’t have to fly.