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The Embarrassment of Anxiety Problems

Updated on April 21, 2012
Photo by Kelsey_lovefusionphoto at Flickr
Photo by Kelsey_lovefusionphoto at Flickr | Source

Imagine that you really need to go to the grocery store, as you are low on food and other necessities. Now imagine that you are in the grocery store and suddenly feel panicky, scared, and dizzy. Your heart is pounding so hard and fast, you can hardly breathe. You get shaky and are starting to get sweaty. The only thought in your mind is to get out of the store as quickly as possible. You have just had a panic attack.

You run to the car and get in, trying to control your breathing and calm down, but it just isn't helping. You're not even sure if you can make it home. You feel like everyone in the store who noticed you must think you're crazy. You feel totally embarrassed and worse, humiliated. This is what people who have anxiety problems go through.

I have written a lot about this subject, as I have an anxiety disorder. I've had it on and off my entire life, from early childhood. What I hope to accomplish with these articles is a better understanding of this terrible disorder, which affects about 2 and a half million people, according to WebMD. People with this disorder need understanding and support.

I totally understand why it's hard for someone who has never experienced this to understand it. It is a baffling problem. Having terrible fear and panic, when there is no reason to, is hard to understand. If you know anyone with this problem, please try to read up on it and understand what they are going through.

The main issue in this article, that I wanted to bring to light, is the embarrassment that comes with an anxiety disorder. None of us likes to feel foolish. When was the last time you did something silly or embarrassing and everyone laughed? Remember how that felt? Well, having an anxiety or panic attack makes you feel foolish. You just want to be able to open up the ground and disappear into it. It is a very embarrassing situation, which just adds to the anxiety.

Panic attacks come out of nowhere and are very hard to control. It's that lack of control over them that makes them so scary. Having no control makes you feel so many emotions...stupid, scared, frustrated, not normal, hopeless, foolish and yes, embarrassed. That's just to name a few. What is so sad is that people with this condition are not crazy or weak. They have a medical problem

If someone has a physical handicap, people understand that and don't make them feel bad about it. With an anxiety disorder, they just can't "see" the problem and tend to make the person feel like a freak. I actually had someone who I thought was my friend say to me, "What are you afraid of?" I told him nothing "real" and that was the problem. You panic when there is no real danger or threat. He said, "That doesn't make any sense!" to which I replied, "Maybe that's why they call it a disorder." He still didn't get it and his words hurt me.

To sum this up, please at least try to understand what these people are going through and treat it the same way you would as though they had a physical handicap. They are going through enough without you adding to their embarrassment by making them feel like they are just "way out there". They aren't, they have a disorder. For all of you with an anxiety disorder, check out all the different treatments available and get help. Don't let the embarrassment of it keep you from helping yourself. Believe me, you are not alone. Good luck to all of you.

Do you know anyone with an anxiety disorder?

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