There are huge portions of stigma heaped upon mind variances. In fact, I use the term “mind variances,” in lieu of “mental illnesses,” to rebel against business as usual.
Well, what if I suggested there was “sub-stigma” assigned to one particular group of mind variances?
Let’s consider a couple of points.
- The anxiety disorders are the most prevalent of the mind variances
- The anxiety disorders frequently take a back seat to other mind variances, such as depression, in terms of psychiatric and medical awareness, diagnosis, treatment, and research. Incidentally, that’s very odd when you consider the frequent co-occurrence of anxiety and depression
- The anxiety disorders are the most under-reported of the mind variances, which means millions are trying to live their lives within the grasp of very unnecessary pain and suffering
- Research has shown that reporting to a primary care physician with an anxiety issue isn’t such a hot idea. It seems their reputation for diagnosis, treatment, and referral isn’t so hot
- I’d written an article some time ago about the role of heredity in panic disorder. I recommended that anxiety disordered parents consider the reality that their children may well have inherited their disease. And I mentioned the value of keeping an eye out for symptoms and working proactively with their child if it appears pathology is presenting. Well, I received an email from a mother who’d read the article, taking me to the woodshed for “scaring the heck out of everyone”
I find all of this interesting – and distressing.
Why is it seemingly so “uncool” to be anxious?
Well, aside from ignorance and stigma, I believe the dilemma, and ultimate solution, lies within our very pathology.
We’re so often easily frightened and guarded souls, and the prospects of acknowledging and dealing with something that’s outside of the comfort of normalcy isn’t likely to be tops on our to do list. In addition, we’re so often fooled into believing our anxiety symptoms are manifestations of medical issues. And stopping by the doc’s office generally isn’t on our bucket lists.
And foundational in all of this is the fact that seeking any sort of assistance, be it medical, psychological, or psychiatric, equates to “getting out.” And that isn’t a happening thing for most anxiety sufferers.
Oh, let’s not forget about our bottom-feeding self-esteem; which makes it all too easy to turn our backs on self-care.
When I began my anxiety work, my mission was to learn, educate, motivate, and help others find relief. And I was more than willing to advocate for mind variance sufferers.
Little did I know I’d be advocating for the anxiety disorders themselves.