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anxiety in women

What It’s Like to Live with Anxiety

What It’s Like to Live with Anxiety

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In today's world, we are always on the go. Most people struggle to just switch off and relax. Even when we're away from our computers, our smartphones still get all our emails and messages. We juggle work, family, and household commitments.

For someone that struggles with anxiety, the constant worry while living in a busy world doesn't help. If you or a family member is living with anxiety, know that there is help, there is healing. Learning more about anxiety and how to treat it is the first step.

Types of Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health problems worldwide with 1 in 13 people suffering from some form of anxiety globally. In Australia, 14% of the population struggles with anxiety in a given year, the majority being women. 45% of people in Australia experience anxiety at some point in their lives.

Anxiety comes in different forms and a person can suffer from more than one form. The five main types of anxiety are:

  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Chronic anxiety, worry and tension often over small or unrealistic things in addition to actual stressors.

  • Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia): Being severely self-conscious or nervous in social situations, either in general or in specific situations like public speaking or being around new people.

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): This occurs due to being exposed to a traumatic event such as a car accident, sexual assault, military combat, and natural disasters or even just the threat of harm. Women are more susceptible than men.

  • Panic Disorder: Random and unexpected panic (anxiety) attacks. Symptoms of a panic attack include heart palpitations, dizziness, chest pain, feeling breathless, or chest pain.

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Obsessive thoughts and/or are compelled to carry out repetitive behaviours in an attempt to ease these obsessive thoughts, for example, counting, checking doors, or washing hands.

Living with Anxiety

It's hard to think that those in the public eye might have anxiety, but they are only human just as we are. One such person is singer-songwriter Adele. This woman with the amazing voice that mesmerises millions, struggles with anxiety.

Despite how talented and skillful she is, when it comes to performing, particularly in front of large audiences, she struggles with anxiety to the point where she has vomited. Because of her anxiety, she prefers to perform in front of smaller audiences at low-key events. This goes to prove that anxiety can reach you no matter who you are or how good you are at what you do.

When it comes to social anxiety, sufferers are sometimes stuck at home because leaving the house terrifies them. These individuals struggle to hold down a job outside the home due to an inability to cope at work. They are often lonely, as speaking to people is a major source of anxiety.

As for sufferers of panic attacks, the fear of an attack itself often stops sufferers from doing things that they would love to do since there is sometimes no warning. And those with OCD sometimes get judged by others which only worsens the anxiety and frustration they feel….

Tips for Treating Anxiety

Seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist is helpful if you can't get your anxiety under control. If you are struggling with the costs involved, try these resources:

  • beyondblue.org.au

  • Speak to a counsellor at your local church, synagogue, or mosque.

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14

  • MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78

  • Your family GP can provide discounted access to allied health professionals, through the Mental Health Care Plan.

Further Tips

  • Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet (fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, whole grains such as brown rice, and if you eat meat include fish).

  • Exercise… it helps to get rid of excess cortisol (the stress hormone). Even walking is great.

  • Journal

  • When you are anxious, draw a 5-minute drawing depicting how you feel. It doesn't need to be perfect. It can help to relieve some of the anxiety.

  • Listen to relaxing music.

  • Schedule worry time, i.e. 15 minutes that you take to write down your worries each day and work through them.

  • Meditate or do breathing exercises. There is HUGE benefit to gain through immersion in these subtle practices.

  • Most of all, don't fight for control, this just makes it worse. Acknowledge it and let it pass.

You may also find it helpful to listen to this podcast by The Anxiety Coaches. Find what works for you.

The solution is not one-size fits all, because we are all different. But taking out some time each day to take care of yourself and your mental health is important. Even speaking to someone you trust can help. It's nothing to be ashamed of and you are not alone. There is help.

 
Author: Cheanné Lombard

Author: Cheanné Lombard

 

Why 1 in 3 Aussie Women Will Suffer Anxiety This Year And What You Can Do About It

Why 1 in 3 Aussie Women Will Suffer Anxiety This Year And What You Can Do About It

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For many years, those with mental illnesses have been thought of as crazy, faking it and even silly for not ‘snapping out of it’. This once-taboo subject is finally getting the attention that it deserves. Mental illness is more common than previously thought and people who are suffering from these conditions need help instead of being shunned or blamed.

If you or someone you care about is struggling, you’re not alone. Our goal here is to create mental health awareness and give you information on how to get help.

The Most Common Mental Health Conditions

Mental illness generally occurs between the ages of 18 and 85. Younger children also struggle with mental health problems, usually ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and anxiety.

In Australia, the three most prevalent mental health disorders are anxiety, depression and substance abuse disorders. Women are more prone to both anxiety and depression whereas men are more prone to substance abuse. Men are more likely to commit suicide as well as they are less likely to seek help than women are.

There are many factors that can cause these issues:

  • Chronic stress

  • Trauma

  • Abuse

  • Hormonal imbalances

  • Brain health problems

Mental Health Stats

According to the Australian Medical Association:

  • 45% of Australians between the ages of 16 and 85 will experience a mental disorder.

  • Nearly 64,000 people have a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia.

  • Around 14% of children aged 14 to 17 experienced a mental health disorder.

  • The mental healthcare sector is still underfunded with physical healthcare getting priority despite the impact that mental health has on so many lives.

Women and Mental Illness

Check out the gender differences here:

  • Women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety than men are.

  • 1 in 4 women will need treatment for depression compared to 1 in 10 men.

  • Postnatal depression affects between 8 and 15% of women.

  • A woman's risk of developing PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is 20.4% whereas the risk for men is only 8.1%.

Women, in general, have a lot of pressure placed on them due to working either full time or part time (earning a part-time salary is also often a source of stress), taking care of children and older family members, and running their households. That often equates to a lot of stress and very little ‘me’ time.

Women are also more likely to experience abuse both physically and sexually. Past traumatic experiences often cause PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Women also often fear for their safety more. The constant stress and possible hormonal imbalances all increase the risk of anxiety.

What Can You Do?

First off, if you are struggling to cope, get help. There is no shame in doing this. If you can't afford a private psychologist or psychiatrist, you can get help here:

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14

  • MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78

  • beyondblue.org.au

  • Churches, synagogues, and mosques often have counsellors and/or clergy that you can speak to.

  • Your family GP can provide discounted access to allied health professionals, through the Mental Health Care Plan.

If the above options are unable to provide you with the help you need, they will be able to refer you to the correct people.

More Tips to Improve Mental Health

It can be hard to take care of yourself or a loved one suffering from a mental health disorder. If you are the primary caregiver of children or other elderly or ill family members, taking time out to help yourself can inspire feelings of guilt. But bear in mind that you can't help in the way that they need if you are struggling due to health problems.

With that said:

  • Make time to relax and do something that you enjoy whether it's art, sitting in the garden, or spending time with your friends and family.

  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet (fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and if you eat meat make sure it's lean, preferably free range and that you include some fish).

  • Exercise - walk, swim, jog, dance, weight train, do some gardening, or do yoga. Pick an activity that you enjoy and aim to do it 3-5 days a week.

As humans, we are complex. We can be physically healthy but if our mind struggles, we are lowering our overall health. Reach out for help. There are people who care and will help you. If you are a counselor or therapist, consider volunteering your services.  

Together we can break the stigma surrounding mental health problems. We can each do our part, whether it's being proactive about our own health or helping those who need help.

 
Author: Cheanné Lombard

Author: Cheanné Lombard