This article is strictly based on my opinion concerning the topic of anxiety and anxiety disorders. I realize there is no one size fits all. I do find it very concerning that young adolescents are unnecessarily being labeled with a disorder, and I believe that anxiety can be used for the growth of an individual, it doesn’t have to be a disorder. You can learn from it, and develop yourself through it. Again, this is My Opinion, and I maintain all rights to it. Hope you enjoy and maybe even relate to it. 🙂
What does it mean to have anxiety? The definition of this term is simply being nervous or uneasy about an approaching event. Holding within your mind anticipation about something upcoming in your future. So, what is an anxiety disorder? An anxiety disorder is characterized as a mental illness where the individual feels unreasonable amounts of anxiety in everyday life. In researching this topic I have found that there are numerous anxiety disorders ranging from phobia’s, to social anxiety, general anxiety disorder, and even panic attacks made the list. Personally I have known many who were told during their high school years that they have an anxiety disorder, and I feel under my observations that this momentous thing we call an anxiety disorder, is aimed at the younger population, under the premise of ” lets catch this early, if you begin to show symptoms of anxiety we can begin treatment and make you better. We can prescribe a Paxil or even a Xanax, perhaps you’d prefer a Zoloft?” Seriously, this to me is ridiculous. I even came across a list of symptoms geared toward children! This is crazy, and I am here to offer a sound voice of logic in regards to anxiety, and I’m not selling you any medications.
Anxiety is a very real thing and you wouldn’t be called human if you didn’t experience it. I remember my awkward early teen years, and my even more awkward later teen years, then my very strange early twenties. I felt a great deal of anxiety, but I was growing. I didn’t know who I was yet, I was learning, and it was through the anxiety and all the awkwardness that I developed self awareness and I learned who I was. Is it possible that by pushing the agenda of anxiety disorders that we are in fact losing our individuality? For instance, I don’t like crowds and when I find myself in one, I naturally gravitate a lone corner by myself. I also prefer one on one conversations and small meaningful groups of individuals. Does this mean I have a social anxiety disorder? Or could it simply be that I am a unique individual who has specific preferences? As a young child I was extremely shy, that is simply who I was, that was my personality. And now if you are thirteen years old and are shy and unsure of yourself there is someone waiting to slap you with a label, they even have a downloadable brochure to help your parents understand your anxiety.
Look, I’m not trying to hound the medical community, but in this area they are failing miserably, and I have this urge to speak out. I rarely see anything but acceptance in regards to anxiety disorders and I hate to see wonderfully unique individuals loose who they are to fit what is considered “normal” by the same people writing them habit forming prescriptions, telling them they have a problem and stunting all personal growth and development.
I am not a huge fan of statistics, I feel they lack accuracy in some forms, but I have been astoundingly shocked at the amount of people I know who take anxiety and anti depressant medications. For anxiety, benzodiazepines (Valium, and like drugs) are the go to medications. Each year doctors reportedly prescribe more than fifty million prescriptions of this medication. This sounds accurate, if not slightly understated. I am not even including ant-depressants that are prescribed, the number would be astronomical to say the least. All of these prescriptions keep you from feeling emotion, essentially dumbing down who you are.
It is disturbing that young children are being medicated due to “anxiety disorders.” When will someone say enough is enough? The common medications that are prescribed for anxiety are not only habit forming with a long list of side effects, but their main function is to block your neurological facilities. The main stream anxiety medications have been found to actually change the neurochemistry of the brain. Over time there is a buildup of the drugs in the body causing physical and mental dependencies, and for what reason? Because you didn’t want to feel? Because someone told you you had to fit into societies label of normal?
I am aware that not everyone will agree with me on this, but I am speaking from experience, and I am very grateful I was never labeled as having a disorder. I am grateful that I was able to grow and develop through my awkwardness and uncertainty. Working through aspects of my individual personality, with the ability to feel every inch of who I was, and who I was becoming. It is my opinion that anxiety disorders are chronically over diagnosed, in an effort to increase profit and create dependents. I would not be who I am today if my personal growth had been stunted with medications I never needed.
In closing, I would just like to say that it’s okay to be nervous or feel anxiety about things. The answer should not be, to not feel. Let yourself experience things. There is always a first time. I’ll never forget the first time I ordered my own food. It was difficult, but I made it through, and over time it became easier and easier. I had to learn to use my own voice, it was a difficult process, full of growth and learning. As difficult as it was, with all the mess ups and embarrassing moments of ” well that didn’t come out right”, I became uniquely me. And that’s all I want for others. Whoever’s reading, I want you to be individually you.
Much love – Nicole Shay