For people who live with anxiety, this condition is anything but a superpower. Anxiety interferes with one’s mood and daily life. On bad days, people with an anxiety disorder feel unable to cope with the stress of everyday activities.
There really is no bright or cheerful side to living with anxiety. Although each sufferer has a different experience and different levels of struggle, they can probably all agree that it is no walk in the park.
However, these claims aren’t suggesting that people living with anxiety can start flying or suddenly become as strong as Superman, but rather, those who suffer from anxiety or panic disorders may have some pretty superb qualities that could be related to their disorder.
Check out some of the things that may be connected to a person’s mental health and also get to know some of the different types and classifications of anxiety that people deal with. It’s more than just a blanket term!
People who live with anxiety have a heightened sense of worry. Although this is often pegged as a bad thing, there are actually some cases where this can come in useful. There have been a few small studies done that suggest that anxiety may have evolved within people the same way intelligence has.
Studies have also shown that people diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder are often associated with high IQs.
Dr. Jeremy Coplan, a study researcher of psychiatry at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, explained that although most people tend to view anxiety as a negative thing, it is actually linked to intelligence.
According to LiveScience, Copland explained that although anxiety can at times be disabling and the patient’s worries irrational, there are some situations where there actually is a dangerous situation and excessive worry becomes useful and adaptive.
He also said that people who immediately act on those ‘wild-card dangers’ are more likely to survive and preserve the lives of their loved ones.
The study was small, so more research needs to be done in order to confirm these findings. The test involved 26 people who live with anxiety disorders and 18 people who do not. They took an IQ quiz as well as a test to assess their worry.
The study found that those with higher levels of worry during the test had a higher IQ as a result.
Some people believe that those who suffer from anxiety have a better likelihood of being empathetic as they may be better at reading emotional signs as well as being attuned to certain energies.
If you didn’t already know, there are actually different types of anxiety disorders, and not everyone living with anxiety will be affected the same way.
First, there’s the GAD, otherwise known as a Generalized Anxiety Disorder. This usually involves patients experiencing exaggerated worry over simple tasks or events. The patient can suffer from this worry for days to years, and it can make concentrating on daily tasks difficult. The patient might always be picturing the worst-case scenario, and severe worry always occupies the patient’s mind.
Patients with this disorder experience sudden waves of terror, sometimes without even knowing the reason why or without warning. The patient may experience shortness of breath, chest pain, and stiffness.
Another form is OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. OCD is way more than just being a neat freak. Patients often deal with intrusive thoughts, which can often be disturbing and cause the patient to adopt rituals that they believe will prevent these thoughts from happening.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, occurs after a tragic or disturbing event occurs in a person’s life. Many soldiers who return from war have this mental illness, and it causes patients to experience flashbacks and nightmares.
Mental health is a serious issue, and patients should not all be lumped into the same box. It’s important to remember that these disorders are real, but they do not define the person living with them.
Having a dismissive environment is one of the main discouraging factors for people experiencing anxiety. While physical health conditions are associated with evident symptoms, most people cannot recognize what those with anxiety deal with. So, if a family member or friend of yours has anxiety, it is important to approach them in a sensitive and compassionate way.
Witnessing a loved one’s daily outbursts of stress and panic attacks can be exhausting, but there are some steps you can take to make their life easier. It all starts with acknowledging the signs of excessive worry and finding suitable ways to offer support.
1. Let them know you are there for them: While you are still learning how to help a close person with anxiety, the first thing to do is tell them you have noticed the changes in their behavior and want to support them through their hardships. Realizing that they no longer have to carry the burden of anxiety alone will likely come as a great relief. This kind of conversation lets people with anxiety know there is someone willing to listen to their struggles and make them feel better.
2. Understand their needs and preferences: The next step is to ask the person what you can do to support them and listen carefully to their answer. For example, they may need a hand with some overwhelming task, a distraction from their anxious thoughts, or simply an empathetic ear to talk to.
3. Maintain regular communication: When things get dark, many people give up on their friends with anxiety disorders. So, make sure you keep in touch with your anxious friend regularly via phone calls, video calls, or texts. It would be nice of you to meet them in person and spend one-on-one time together, giving them space to open up about their everyday struggles.
4. Use active listening techniques: When your anxious partner or friend feels comfortable sharing their worries, be an active listener and show them that their feelings matter. Some phrases you can use include:
Remember not to dismiss their emotions and act like their stress is a sign of an overreaction. Here are some phrases you should avoid saying to a person with anxiety:
5. Look after yourself, too: Supporting a loved one with an anxiety disorder can be overwhelming. When you look after someone with panic attacks, it is normal to feel scared, exhausted, or frustrated sometimes. Acknowledging the ways their anxiety affects you doesn’t automatically make you a bad partner, friend, or family member. Make sure to take care of your own well-being and address your emotions during this process. After all, keeping yourself in shape allows you to support your loved one more effectively.