OPINION

Mental Health | Recognising that anxiety is more than just stress or nervousness

Research shows 37 per cent of people who seek support for anxiety had already been experiencing symptoms for longer than 12 months. Picture: Shutterstock.
Research shows 37 per cent of people who seek support for anxiety had already been experiencing symptoms for longer than 12 months. Picture: Shutterstock.

We all get nervous. We all get stressed. Nervousness and stress are necessary for helping us be more grounded and focused.

Many people have strategies ensuring nerves and stress don't overwhelm them. They can cope.

Other people are less fortunate. For them stress and nervousness feed anxiety loosening their grip on reality and resulting in ongoing pain and confusion.

But even the most prepared can be blindsided by what life throws at them.

The danger is that the individual can miscalculate their coping capacity.

They can expect too much of themselves. Inflated confidence coupled with harsh self-judgement can have a devastating result.

At some level everyone is vulnerable. At some level everyone needs advice and assistance; a sympathetic ear; a kind word; unbiased and non-judgemental guidance and encouragement.

Often that is not on offer from family and friends. The sad reality is that far too few people seek help even when help is available.

Research shows 37 per cent of people who seek support for anxiety had already been experiencing symptoms for longer than 12 months. Close to one in five waited longer than six years.

While it's not a good idea to jump at every shadow, it's important to be able to tell the difference between a shadow and a black cloud that will not shift.

There is no embarrassment in asking for help.

  • Gary Bentley is a Rural Aid counsellor