The funny thing about anxiety is that when it comes down to it, it's no different to any other bodily mishap. The only thing separating the chemical imbalance of anxiety, to that of lactose intolerance, or shin splints, is its geography. However, the thing that makes anxiety so hard for people to deal with, is that the sufferer feels like it is their fault.
We are detached from the rest of our bodies. If you're stomach is playing up, it's not your fault; it is the fault of the cells lining your stomach for pumping too much acid. But if the brain is where the conscious lies then it doesn't feel like you're brain is playing up, it feels like you are.
I am aware that anxiety is often seen as a first world problem, one that needs to be put in perspective. But whilst acknowledging everything that people in first world are lucky for, in a very cruel way, anxiety manages to strip every ounce of perspective from you until you are left bare, scared and selfish.
Like most bodily disorders, anxiety is simply a chemical imbalance of adrenalin in your blood stream. Without knowing what adrenalin is, it seems like such a banal condition, which in many ways it is. But unfortunately adrenalin is what mother nature gave us to make sure we don't get eaten by tigers in the middle of the night; it's a strong impulse for a reason. Calm and contented Homo sapiens died out pretty rapidly, leaving us nervous wrecks to anxiously pass on our genes. The problem is trying to convince yourself that people's perceptions of who you are as a person aren't quite as life-threatening as a man eating beast. Only anxiety turns everything that might bring you the slightest discomfort into a man eating beast.
Exams are coming up for a lot of people, and many of us will be feeling more anxious than usual. For some people, that exam-time edginess lingers on for much longer than exams: another 365 days to be precise. But even if you are not someone who has had to deal with anxiety yourself, I can promise you that you will know someone very close to you who has.
These people are not to be pitied, or tip-toed around. They are to be treated just like anyone with a broken leg. You support them, you make sure you're there in case they fall, and you remind them that one day things will get better. Because just like crutches, simply being aware of what someone with anxiety is going through will help them to stay on their feet until they get better.
People with anxiety should not be ashamed to temporarily suffer from a chemical imbalance in their brain that they have absolutely no control over, why should they? Yet many feel ashamed to admit it. The day someone can tell you that they're suffering from mental health difficulties with the same candidness that one breaks the news of a twisted ankle, only then will public attitudes be where they need to be.