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07/01/2016 - Last month I wrote about the prevalence of depression and the massive impact it has on those that carry its burden. Depression is not alone! Many also struggle with anxiety; and many who struggle never seek the help that could be of great benefit. Maybe it's the stigma of counseling or mental health services, maybe it's the fear of the unknown or maybe it's financial limitations. No matter what the reason, many fail to receive a much needed help.

I think no person is a stranger, to some degree, to the burden of anxiety. Many people throughout history have written on this topic. As far back as the early centuries Epictetus, a Greek philosopher born in 55 A.D. stated, "Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems." Soren Kierkegaard called anxiety the "dizziness of freedom." In the novel Dracula, Bram Stoker gave a great description of the effects of anxiety. "Even if she be not harmed, her heart may fail her in so much and so many horrors; and hereafter she may suffer--both in waking, from her nerves, and in sleep, from her dreams." The famous Corrie ten Boom who helped many Jews escape the Nazi holocaust had this to say about worry:

"Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength."

A mild anxiety is a very normal reaction to a stressful situation, this we often call "worry." This kind of anxiety is usually connected to a very specific stress such as a deadline for a major project or being required to perform in a high pressure situation.

While a minor anxiety can be normal, a chronic anxiety that is excessive and difficult to control is recognized as a disorder. In fact, many disorders are known to stem from anxiety such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Social Anxiety Disorder and various phobias. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 18.1% of U.S. adults struggle from an anxiety disorder with women being 60% more likely than men.

Panic Disorder is one type of anxiety disorder which is characterized by intense episodes of fear, or panic, which seemingly have no connection to any specific incident. With this disorder, people may feel physical symptoms which resemble a heart attack. Many people have gone to the hospital feeling as if they are having heart problems and, after undergoing various tests, are told they are having a "panic attack."

So many suffer unnecessarily! Saint Augustine, in his book Confessions stated, "The punishment of every disordered mind is its own disorder." The disorder can be torturous and yet the fears associated with anxiety can keep a person away from help. The punishment of a mind with anxiety, is the anxiety. If you struggle with anxiety, don't deny yourself a very real opportunity at relief.

Depression, which I wrote about last month, and anxiety are two very common disorders. If you feel you may struggle with one or both, there are some great resources online to gain more information. Two resources I utilized in these articles are:

● National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). www.nami.org

● National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). www.nimh.nih.gov

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Rita Walsh

Casper In Home Care LLC

42 Degrees North

Wyoming Athletic Club
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