A few months ago I met with a chap who opened up to me and told me he had suffered from anxiety for a very long time. I sat and listened to his life’s story and the roadblocks that cropped up from being struck with this almost-always-on, mental-health condition. His story is not uncommon although the circumstances that impacted his life’s journey are unique to his experience. There are so many others out there who can relate to the common symptoms it produces. As far as I’m concerned, this commonality is a strength. I feel this way because it means that this chap and others, like you, aren’t alone.
Prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders (Canada; Stats Canada, 2014).
For one reason or another, I started to think about anxiety and its origins. Maybe there was something within the content of his story that ignited my thinking on the matter. Regardless of the source, I can’t help but wonder how many people are suffering from an anxiety disorder as a secondary function of another mental illness, a side effect if you will.
Many of us can identify when we are anxious because we all experience it from time to time. It is a natural reaction to danger and or potential danger. Without anxiety and fear, we would end up being dinner to the nearest predator. In other words, our anxiety is triggered when we feel threatened; this predator being the reason our anxiety was activated.
So, what are the causal factors that produce constant angst within those with anxiety disorders? Well, using me as an example, Post-traumatic stress disorder
can cause me to be in a near-constant state of hypervigilance
. Because of my fire-service background, I am always thinking of potential emergencies that may arise and thus thrusting me into helper mode.
As one might well imagine, this causes lots of anxiety when I step out into the world. My fire-service years lead me down the road to PTSD, and the fear of more potential death and destruction causes the fight, flight or freeze reaction, then BOOM! the anxiety builds. Therefore, it makes sense that my angst is produced by the PTSD.
It’s worth exploring the source of your own anxiety. Sometimes there is an underlying cause that is producing feelings of fear for you. Once you know what your triggers are, you can work to minimize its effects on your life. For more on what causes anxiety, go here
if you are suffering from PTSD or another mental illness, please reach out. I thank you for your service and you are still worthy and mean something. I believe in you!