Anxiety isn't a life sentence.

Jess Cooper (Communications and Events Manager for Kintsugi Hope)

60% of employees are experiencing anxiety (The Workplace Health Report.)

Less than 50% of people with generalised anxiety disorder access treatment (Mental Health Foundation)

Whilst these statistics can seem overwhelming and prove that anxiety as a mental health disorder is on the rise, I think it's worth remembering that anxiety isn't all bad. Yes, it can be crippling for those living with it, especially on a long-term basis, and it can also make daily tasks near on impossible. But it’s also a very normal and healthy emotion and part of being human.

Without anxiety we wouldn't be able to navigate risks in daily life, we wouldn’t be as empathetic, and we also wouldn’t be able to tell if something in our lives needed to change or if we needed to adapt.

Anxiety can be thought of as a car alarm. If a car alarm is going off, it tells us maybe someone is trying to damage, break into or steal our car. So the alarm is helpful and allows us to take action. If however, every time a cat walks past or the wind is a bit powerful and this sets off the alarm, then this can become very annoying and frustrating, not just for us but for people around us. This can be a helpful way to think about anxiety and help us consider if we may need professional help.

If I think about the people I know that have experienced anxiety disorders or periods of intense anxiety, these people are some of the most caring, kind, compassionate, and empathetic people I have ever met. At Kintsugi Hope we love this quote from Kristen Corley:

“Above anything, anxiety is all about caring. It’s never wanting to hurt someone’s feelings or do something wrong. More than anything, it’s the want and need to be accepted and liked so you try too hard sometimes.”

This definition of anxiety shines such a positive light on it. Anxiety is not a weakness, it is a strength.

Dr Tim Cantopher, in his book “The Curse of the Strong”, writes:

“Normally, in a psychiatric assessment, one is expected to make enquires about aspects of a patient's personality. I never bother, because it is nearly always the same. He or she will have the following personality characteristics.

  • Moral Strength
  • Reliability
  • Diligence
  • Strong Conscience
  • Strong sense of responsibility
  • A tendency to focus on the needs of others before one's own

This sounds like the characteristics of someone who you would want as a best friend!

We all experience anxiety from time to time, often getting bad press. There are good things that can come from anxiety and learning to manage it well. The important thing to remember is, if something is intruding on your every day, and stopping you from doing your normal activities then seek professional help.

Jess Cooper (Communications and Events Manager for Kintsugi Hope)

You can visit https://hubofhope.co.uk/ for local support.

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