A New Understanding of Anxiety and
anxiety-related problems (including depression as such a problem), we watch
ourselves in everything we do and it’s not difficult to appreciate how this
self-absorption can lead us to believe that we are the only one with such a
problem. This, in itself, strengthens the 'what’s wrong with me' beliefs, yet
nothing could be further from the truth.
people worldwide experience these problems; it is estimated that in America
alone over thirty million people suffer from some form of anxiety disorder.
The most common one is Social Anxiety Disorder (or Social Phobia), closely
followed by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Generalized Anxiety
Disorder. Around one in thirty to fifty people suffer from Obsessive
Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and one in ten are reported to have a specific
phobia. This doesn't include vast numbers of people who have depression or
those living anxious lives ruled by shyness or stress.
feel they are working below their potential and are frustrated, more people
are unhealthy and overweight than ever before, greater numbers of teenagers
are depressed and problems involving anxiety and stress account for the
majority of visits to doctor’s surgeries. In a world of better education,
food, hygiene and healthcare, emotionally, society is crumbling
pressures in modern society no doubt play a part in the tension and stress
found in these problems, but anxiety problems are nothing new; they are part
of the human condition and the following quotation, from over three hundred
years ago, sums them up aptly:
'The mind is
it’s own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven' –
John Milton (1608–1674)
writers, poets and artists have tried to convey the inner turmoil and conflict
that is often associated with existence.
The world we
live in personally is dictated by what goes on in our mind, irrespective of
what external reality seems to be. Nowhere can this be seen more profoundly
than in the case of Anorexia Nervosa. How can a painfully thin girl look in
the mirror and see herself as fat? Even to the extent of pointing out which
areas of her body are too fat? Anxiety problems are reality to us … but how do
we get like this?
in the form of research, therapy and medication, have been used in an attempt
to resolve these problems, with, on the whole, a spectacular lack of success.
Problems are defined, named, classified, listed, ordered, placed in
categories, placed in sub-categories in an attempt to understand and control
them – strangely enough, exactly the same attempts to gain control are found
in most forms of OCD. And while some argue that benefits of this system
include a more accurate diagnosis and subsequent better treatment (which is
debatable given such a lack of success) others argue that it is inaccurate,
misleading and overlooks the bigger picture.
When we look at
the backgrounds of large numbers of people with anxiety and depression
problems, they are often strikingly similar in various ways. Negative life
experiences and subsequent feelings involving self worth and insecurity occur
across the board with such regularity and are so similar that its hard to see
how they cannot possibly play a major role in these problems.
acute shyness and stress to anxiety disorders and depression, each problem is
unique to the individual. Expressions of social phobia vary from person to
person just as those of agoraphobia vary from panic disorder and GAD varies
from OCD. However, as unique to the individual these problems are and as
different to each other they are, these problems develop for similar reasons
and strengthen in a similar way. They do so in a manner that reflects the way
our mind and body works. Every human being on the planet (indeed, every
animal) is built in such a way as to develop an anxiety disorder given the
right (or wrong) set of negative life experiences.
disorders (and severe depression) develop from our life experiences (bad ones)
and how they affect us. At their heart lies neither illness nor disease and
not even disorder for these problems aren’t irrational, they develop for a
good reason – for our survival. They are self-destructive behaviors that we
learn, behaviours that reflect our inner-self trying to protect us. Behaviours
that, in trying to help us survive, actually cause us harm for they never
'touch' the real problem. Once we understand how we learn these behaviours and
why, there is a real cure.
About the Author:
Terry Dixon, founder of
Help-For.com and author
Evolving Self Confidence:
How to Become Free from Anxiety Disorders and Depression.