Why You Should Seek Help for Anxiety
In recent years there has been much research and a broader understanding of mental illness. Even so, many people still suffer silently, living with their depression, their anxiety, their pain and never seeking help. We live in a society that believes we should "suck it up" or "deal with it." We believe that seeking help, admitting we can't cope is a sign of weakness. While this is often true for everyone, it is even more true for men.
Men are supposed to be the strong. They are considered the protectors. When anxiety or depression take hold, they hold it in, believing that to admit it is to admit they are weak. Recently, one man, who may or may not suffer with depression, told me he had felt "empty" for years yet said he would not consider treatment because treatment would simply mask the pain and he felt he needed to feel the "real" pain in order to work through it. He thought feeling and coping with the pain was the strong, thing to do. Going to the doctor and possibly taking an antidepressant was seen as a weakness.
But as much of the research has shown us through the years, this is simply not true. Whether mental illness is caused by an imbalance in our brain chemistry is not yet understood, however, we do know that there are treatments that can help. For most people, there would be no question as to whether they should seek treatment if they were having a heart attack or no question as to whether to wear glasses to see better. But to seek help for depression or anxiety is, for some, different.
Reasons to consider seeking help for anxiety:
Physical illness. When not treated, both anxiety and depression can lead to physical illness. In 2008, Time Magazine reported a study showing a link between anxiety in men and coronary disease. Those with chronic anxiety were at a higher risk of having a heart attack. Left untreated, your anxiety can cause a host of physical ailments.
Relationships. There is no doubt that untreated anxiety can cause havoc in your relationships. According to the Anxiety Disorder Association of American people with anxiety have trouble in personal relationships. Not understanding your anxiety symptoms and how to cope can leave your partner feeling confused, angry or resentful. She may feel she needs to constantly worry about your moods or how you are feeling, even ignoring her own needs to make sure you are "happy and relaxed." Eventually, your partner may begin to resent your constant neediness and unwillingness to seek help.
Job. Is your constant worrying interfering with your ability to do your job? Or have you lost jobs because of the anxiety you feel undermines your performance and ability? If your anxiety symptoms have been around for several months, it may be time to talk with your doctor. Your job may depend on it.
The most important reason, however, is quality of life. You deserve to wake up each morning looking forward to the day ahead, to find joy in your job, your relationships and in your life. If you wake up each morning filled with a sense of dread or worry, then you can't possibly live up to your potential. Your day will instead be spent trying to overcome your fears, calm your worries and simply make it through the day. With all that going on, it is hard to find the time to enjoy your life.
As we head into the New Year, think about whether your anxiety is taking away from your ability to focus on the positive in your life. Is your worrying interfering with your relationships? Does your job performance suffer because of nervousness, worry and anxiety? This year, take a close look at your symptoms and make a conscious decision to seek help in managing your anxiety. You may be surprised at the results.