Anxiety affects millions of people worldwide making it the most common form of mental illness today. Despite this, there is still a stigma around the condition making it difficult for sufferers to talk about it.
Anxiety can be caused by environmental factors, medical factors, genetics, brain chemistry, substance abuse or a combination of these. It is most commonly triggered by stress.
Many studies have found links between online culture and anxiety. It’s normal for a lot of us to check our phones right before going to sleep, again first thing in the morning and even if we wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. There’s no escaping push notifications, apocalyptic headlines and breaking news from melting ice caps to terrorism.
But if social media can lead to Anxiety, it also might help relieve it. Online discussions can act as a sort of virtual group therapy, and offer support to people who feel isolated and unable to talk to their friends and family. Sarah Fader, the US mental health advocate started the hugely successful Twitter campaign #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike in February this year and has already helped thousands of Anxiety sufferers to open up online about their experiences.
Anxiety is talked about everywhere, not just on social media, but by bloggers, celebrities, magazines, in film and TV, and in books.
Many books deal with Anxiety. It’s causes, how to treat it and how to cure it. But Caroline Foran’s ‘OWNING IT’ released last month is different.
First of all it doesn’t promise to cure your Anxiety, but it does offer a real hard look at what it’s like to live with Anxiety and how you can develop your own mechanism for OWNING IT.
In her own words “ When I began suffering with acute anxiety to the point that I couldn’t leave my house, I wanted so desperately to hear from someone who wasn’t a professional but instead, someone who was just like me, and had lived to tell the tale.”
She describes searching for Inspirational quotes on Pinterest to help her through her day to watching TED talks to understand how ones perception of their own stress can play an important part. This book explores exactly what Anxiety is, its triggers and the various treatments – from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, acupuncture, diet and the role of medication.
Her advice boils down to working with your Anxiety rather than attacking it like the enemy. You have to deal with both the physical and the emotional symptoms on the road to OWNING IT.