ANXIETY IS NOT A TREND

"Everyone has anxiety now.", "Anxiety is just a fad" and "People like Zoella are trying to make anxiety mainstream/cool" are just a few things I have heard recently when it comes to people's opinion on anxiety. It appears that many people are questioning whether people have anxiety, or if people are just saying they have anxiety to seem a bit different and even relatable to their audience. Is anxiety really becoming more "mainstream"? Are people using it as an excuse for their behaviour? Or are we we just becoming more aware of anxiety as a mental health problem?

In recent years people have started to become a little bit more open about mental health, and although there is still a massive stigma attached to mental health, people are talking about it more. The rise of social media, and platforms like Youtube have given people the opportunity to talk about mental health, and share with people their day to day struggles and experiences. Sometimes it can be hard to announce you have anxiety to people face to face, so people are turning to online social platforms to reach out to other people.

Anxiety is not a trend. Mental health is not a trend, or a way to fit in and be cool. Mental health problems are isolating, and no matter how many people suffer from it, it will never become a trend. I find it unbelievable that people would mock those with anxiety and other mental health problems, and tell them they are lying about their problems. I find it shocking that people will belittle how people are feeling when they have had the confidence to reach out and ask others for help and support. ANXIETY IS NOT A TREND. Anxiety should not be taken lightly, and although you may think that everyone suffers from anxiety to some degree, anxiety is not the same as feeling nervous about attending an event, or being worried about a test. Anxiety is so much more than this, and it can be life changing.

"If you have anxiety why don't you film it?"

When it comes to sharing things online, it is easy to just pick pieces of information that you want to be known. People don't show their 24/7 lives online so how can we judge if they suffer from anxiety? I know that I wouldn't want to be filming when I was suffering a panic attack or a bad case of anxiety. We want to put our best moments online, even if we do share the odd anxious thought or feeling.

This is the technology generation, so information is more accessible to everyone. It is easy to google your symptoms and find out if what you are feeling is normal or whether you need support. The internet is still fairly new in the grand scheme of things, and even our parents didn't have access to what we do when they were our age. They had to suffer behind closed doors if they didn't have the confidence to go and see a Doctor. There was no platform for them to ask for help, or to see if other people were experiencing the same thing.

"So you have Anxiety too...just like everyone else?"

I'll write more about my own experience with anxiety another time, but I will say now that a few years ago, before my daughter was born I suffered from anxiety so badly that I barely left the house for almost 2 years. It all stemmed from my accident when I was 19, as well as events previous to this. I couldn't go out alone, and when I did go out it was always with my husband. I couldn't stay out for long periods, and I found it very difficult to socialise with other people. In fact I ended up losing nearly every single friendship during this time as I simply couldn't see or speak to people because my anxiety was so bad. Luckily my anxiety isn't so bad now, but I still get massive flare ups and struggle. I have to really push myself to do things, and make myself say YES!

Attending events and meeting new people is a major task for me, and it is so draining that it takes me days to recover afterwards. For example, when I attend a blogging conference, which only lasts for one day, I have to take multiple breaks during the day to get back in the right headspace. My last conference in May I only talked to a few people, and they were the companies who were there. I didn't introduce myself to a single blogger at the event. I kept myself to myself and although I learnt lots throughout the day, it was a lonely day for me. It took me a number of days to feel myself again after the trip too as being around so many people really drains me. I'm attending the same conference again at the end of the month and I'm going to attend the party the night before and try and talk to at least one person. I may seem outgoing and confident online, but it is a completely different story in person.

Anxiety is something that affects people in lots of different ways, and can come on very suddenly. There are lots of different coping mechanisms, and if you would like to know some of my techniques then please let me know and I will write about them in the future. Anxiety isn't a fad or a trend, it is a real mental health problem, and something that needs to be taken more seriously. I wish the stigma surrounding mental health would just leave as it has definitely outstayed it's welcome. I know that I am going to try and be more open about my own struggles both now and in the past.

Do you think Anxiety is more mainstream now? Do you think it is trendy, or something that young people may perceive as cool? Are popular content creators encouraging their followers to say that they have anxiety, even though their young audience may not really understand what it means? Let me know in the comments or on twitter what you think.

"Anxiety isn't a trend, it's a real mental health problem" @amundanesarah http://bit.ly/2f2uOyH"
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SARAH HUGHES

Awareness surrounding mental health and anxiety has taken a huge leap recently. Some people still think anxiety is a made up condition that everyone seems to have. Here are my personal views on this matter.
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THIS POST WAS WRITTEN ON:    6TH SEPTEMBER 2017    BY: SARAH HUGHES


6 comments

  1. I think it's awful that some people would dismiss a mental health problem by saying they are trying to be on trend.

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  2. Love that you shared your experience with anxiety! I agree with that why don't we just film anxiety attacks or just put it online- although I've come to terms with my anxiety and panic attacks, I still find the stigma that people would judge me on my anxiety. Also people with anxiety are suffering in the moment they are having anxiety, its not something fun to do and takes a lot of courage to even talk about it, let alone share it online.

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  3. I'd like to think that people think "it's a trend" because it's so "common" now that people are more open to the concept of sharing their mental illness issues with others (LESS STIGMA??), and so it looks like there's "a lot more people with anxiety disorders" than before. But I've also seen Anxiety be another "ADHD" or "Bipolar," in which people just put that words to anything to "describe" their situation ("Omg Ms. B's so bipolar!" "I'm Sooooo ADHD I just can't read these textbooks!"). It's not a "Trend." It's a life-long disability we cope with on a daily basis. :(

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  4. Hi Sarah. Great article.My friend used to take Xanax for her anxiety disorder treatment.I've read an article that aside from Anxiety Disorders and panic Disorders treatment, Xanax also effective for Depression and Insomnia.: https://www.drug.education/benzodiazepines/xanax/what-does-xanax-do-what-is-it-used-for/ - Do you agree?

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  5. There are certainly people who misuse the word (as nervousness before a big test or speaking in front of people, like you mentioned) and maybe that's part of it; we're starting to use the word so much to cover anything that it's started losing a bit of its meaning. (Similar to how whenever someone is a little uptight about something they're called OCD, and we use that term so much, a lot of us don't even really know what being OCD *REALLY* means anymore.)

    But you're absolutely correct, it's not a trend, and it is a serious issue that many people have to live with and learn to manage. It's also not something that many people can see, because it's not like we film our panic attacks, and panic attacks can come in so many forms that sometimes someone might be having one in public and nobody will pay them much attention. And I think, because it's not something you can see (you can see people in wheelchairs, but it's harder to SEE anxiety), a lot of people don't take it seriously or don't understand how serious it is. ("Oh you're so cool and collected all the time, I can't see you as the stereotypical depressed/anxious person that we see in media, you're probably just saying you have anxiety to be trendy")

    It's really sad, but we just have to educate people better on what it means to be anxious and to have a mental illness.

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  6. Hi, I meant to comment yesterday but ran out of time....you hit the nail on the head with this post! I have 3 tweens who all have heightened levels of anxiety (in part due to a genetic illness) and it is really difficult to explain to people that it is so much more than just a bit of worry. But then they don't see the counselling, the migraines, the drugs to try to help going on behind the scenes. I have shared this link on Pain Pals reg feature Monday magic Inspiring Blogs for You! C x

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