Anxiety. We have all heard about it, possibly joked about it, maybe even lived through and continue to endure it. But what is it? Where does it come from? What does it do? These are all pretty natural questions that tend to pop into our heads when we hear the word ‘anxiety disorder’.
Let’s get one thing straight though. Being anxious because you have a test tomorrow and you haven’t studied a word does not mean you have anxiety. Anxiety disorder is a mental disorder that instills within a person an intense nervousness or tension about future events or repercussions of past actions. At this time, 40 million people suffer from it in the US alone. That’s 18.1 % of the population. And that’s only the diagnosed individuals in a country that actively acknowledges the importance of mental health.
In Pakistan, where mental health continues to be a taboo topic, one cannot even fathom how many people are silently suffering from this disorder. It is, especially, a huge problem amongst the youth and student population of the country.
The immense tension of the studies here, combined with the peer pressure, merges into an ugly affliction that greatly resembles an anxiety disorder. More often than not, students who are generally easy going and relaxed, begin to show symptoms of an anxiety disorder which they are unable to understand or diagnose.
The intensity of their higher education, to some extent, takes over their mind and their academic life often overshadows all aspects of their personality. College students also endure this, some more than others, though.
Anxiety disorders often manifest themselves due to a change in lifestyle and habitat that a person cannot quickly adapt to. A person’s studies getting harder is one example and another one, which applies to many college students, is leaving home or moving into dorms. Many of us hear stories of that distant cousin or a friend’s sibling, who ‘couldn’t cope’ and had to take some time off. That inability to cope often happens due to struggling with stress and mental health, while also tyring to keep one’s life on track.
Another afflicted group is often middle aged and senior women. Oftentimes, women who become homemakers or housewives have to manage a variety of chores and tasks at home. This may sound easy, but many times, these women’s minds have trouble handling the strain of so many responsibilities and they develop and anxiety disorder.
Now, something to remember is that an axiety disorder doesn’t have to be an extreme level of stress all the time or some very visual reaction to a certain upcoming event or task.
Anxiety, just like most other illnesses, has degrees. Many people deal with them and are able to handle them since they are triggered at certain times or in certain ways only. These disorders are often glamorized and drastically portrayed, while the real life portrayal of them is not at all similar.
In conclusion, we hope that after reading this, your knowledge about anxiety is somewhat enhanced and you are able to empathize with people suffering from it. If you believe you are suffering from it, please try to get professional help, or at the very least, discuss it with someone you trust. Oftentimes, the struggles in our heads only get bigger unless we talk about them. In the modern world, it is important to educate oneself on the importance of mental health and the details regarding it.