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September: A Month About Anxiety    

September: A Month About Anxiety

Artwork by FISK

BY THE TLO TEAM

Anxiety. The seemingly ubiquitous and “acceptable” mental illness as our society grows more comfortable with the conversation on mental health. The reason anxiety is such a big part of the mental health discussion, is because of how prevalent it is in society. Nearly ⅕ of the U.S. population experiences anxiety each year. But what exactly is it? Its technical definition is a feeling of worry, nervousness or unease. At Madhappy, we like to call Anxiety the result of resisting our feelings. Anxiety is complicated, unique and potentially crippling. It can look totally different for everyone. The more we learn about ourselves, and what type of anxiety we struggle with, the better we can be at both identifying it and overcoming it. 

While most people use anxiety as an umbrella term, there are many different types of anxiety disorders: 

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Social anxiety
  • Panic disorders
  • Phobias
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Etc

And like most mental illnesses, anxiety’s etiology is complicated, grey, and varies person to person. 

You may have heard the term “nature versus nurture” in your Introduction to Psychology course and we’re going to give you a little spoiler alert: the answer is both. Our anxiety is a result of our genetic predisposition (in other words, how our parents and grandparents helped wire our brain to be more or less prone to anxious tendencies) in cahoots with our lived experiences. 

It will take a different level of lived stressors or trauma for individuals to express their anxiety. For some, it may be by a very young age, for others it could be their junior year of college. However many stressors you go through before experiencing anxiety for the first time will be an individual amount unique to you. 

What we do know is that right now, in September of 2020, a lot more of us are feeling anxious for the first time. Feeling anxiety is common in times of uncertainty or when there’s a perception of danger, and COVID-19 certainly qualifies as such a time. This is something new and worrying that we are all facing together. 

This month, Madhappy and The Local Optimist are here to help with that.