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"Anxiety is Ruining My Life!"

Daniel Sher, MA, Clin Psychology
"Anxiety is Ruining My Life!"

Anxiety is one of the most common psychiatric disorders on the planet. While millions of people received formal diagnoses for anxiety disorders, there are undoubtedly many more who have never been diagnosed. Anxiety symptoms are also very common. Many people experience these without meeting the criteria for a full-blown anxiety disorder.

So, we know that anxiety is a common problem. Unfortunately, it's a problem that can have a serious impact on your health and wellbeing. That's why it's so important that you understand how to control your anxiety and what you can do to stop anxiety from ruining your life.

Not that long ago, anxiety was ruining my life also. I was suffering from almost every anxiety disorder in the book. I had panic attacks. I had agoraphobia (fear of leaving my home). I had health anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, and some obsessive-compulsive tendencies that my psychologist said were indicative of an OCD diagnosis.

I was the victim of anxiety until I decided that I didn't want anxiety ruining my life any further. It didn't even happen gradually - I realized all at once how and why it was important to take my anxiety seriously. All of the sudden it hit me:

The last point was important. I knew that I didn't want anxiety, but I never realized how much I was holding myself back from overcoming it. I'd try a treatment or two and expect it to work right away, and when it didn't, I gave up. I was letting anxiety ruin my life because I wasn't willing to admit to myself that my life needed changing.

How to Stop Anxiety From Ruining Your Life

The most important thing you can do is realize that you're not truly living your life unless you're living free of anxiety. This is something many people with anxiety struggle to do. I remember that for years I was living with severe health anxiety. I convinced myself I had a heart problem and multiple sclerosis because of my anxiety and panic attacks, even though the doctors told me I didn't.

So every day I spend afraid of these symptoms, and every time I had a panic attack, I would spend the next 24 hours worried about what it meant for my health. Then one day a friend said to me:

"Okay, let's pretend you did have a serious illness. Are you making sure you enjoy every day of your life or are you wasting your remaining days feeling sorry for yourself?"

I realized that I was letting all of my anxieties control me, rather than learning to control my anxiety. I would try rapid treatments and ask for various medicines instead of committing to something long term and getting the help I need.

If you're someone that's been a slave to anxiety - someone whose life anxiety is ruining - then you owe it to yourself to commit to treatments that will rid you of this anxiety once and for all. Because the thing about anxiety is that it responds incredibly well to treatment, especially compared to some other psychiatric conditions. 

It may take time to find the treatment that works best for you, and there may be setbacks along the way, but anxiety can be reduced, managed, and sometimes even eliminated, and has a very high treatment success rate for those that take the first step.

That first step can be hard. Indeed, anxiety itself may cause you to fear that first step. But once you make that effort, you stand to benefit and make your life that much better.

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