Here's What Having Anxiety Is Like, for Anyone Who's Never Dealt With It

Lindsey Metrus
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Urban Outfitters

Before becoming a beauty editor, I went to school for my MSW. I had always wanted to be a therapist, but, as life often takes curious twists and turns, I ultimately made my way to the world of beauty and wellness. While it may seem like a career-360, psychology manifests itself in beauty and (more obviously) wellness every day, so I haven't strayed as far as one may think. In fact, this very post was certainly influenced by my education but more pointedly by an important lesson learned from one of my professors: "Needing anxiety medication is the same as needing medication for high blood pressure or back pain." In other words, the fact that there's a stigma surrounding needing medicinal treatment or anxiety isn't fair—we often don't criticise those who need prescriptions for physical ailments, so why is the mind any different?

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 18% of Americans have anxiety, yet one-third of those individuals seek treatment. This may be because of a lack of funds, cultural viewpoints towards therapy and treatment, a lack of education, and/or a fear of being viewed negatively, according to Michael Otto and Stefan Hofmann, authors of Avoiding Treatment Failures in the Anxiety Disorders ($118). While each of these factors is cause for concern, avoiding help to bypass others' judgments is a sad reality; however, studies suggest that those who have a greater knowledge base of mental illness are less critical of those with a condition.

That's why we'd like to share the stories of real women and their personal journeys with anxiety. They're all different yet have similar unifying undertones of pain, outreach, and acceptance. For individuals who have anxiety, these stories from other people with the condition offer support and advice, and for those who don't have anxiety, they offer much-needed insight. Below, read their moving accounts.

To speak with someone immediately for help with anxiety, contact Beyond Blue 24/7 at 1300 22 4636. If you're having suicidal thoughts and need immediate help coping, please call emergency services or a suicide hotline such as Lifeline at 13 11 14.

Quotes have been edited for content and clarity.

Do you have anxiety? What have you found helps you cope? Please (if you're comfortable) share with us in the comments.

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