December 17, 2021


I’m seeing a lot of posts lately from channels that are claiming to be there to help people with their anxiety, and yet put a disproportionately high focus on encouraging self diagnosis of an anxiety disorder.

I totally understand that when we suffer high levels of anxiety on a daily basis for seemingly no reason it can be important that those feelings are recognised and validated rather than just being dismissed as “well we all feel anxious at times you know”.
I get that.
I’ve been there.

The problem occurs when a well meaning #anxietyawareness channel puts up a helpful info graphic describing the symptoms of an anxiety disorder and then fails to explain the realities of what that means.

Suddenly the diagnosis of Dr Instagram has become our new major concern.

But let’s put a little less emphasis on diagnosis (which lets face it creates and amplifies any anxiety) and a bit more emphasis on understanding.

If you’ve seen one of these posts and managed to convince yourself you have an anxiety disorder and that you now face a lifelong struggle with anxiety then please hear this:
a disorder is not a genetic flaw, or a cognitive malfunction or a chemical imbalance.
Disorder is not a permanent state.
Disorder means a state of confusion.
Disorder means your mind has started to offer up muddled, exaggerated or inappropriate emotional responses.
You weren’t born with them. Something happened and your mind started to respond in a way you now regard as unhelpful.

The good news is that you’re not locked in to this.
The good news is that we continue to learn our entire life.
The good news is that once we clear up the confusion in our mind we get to put things back in order.

So it really doesn’t matter whether you choose to label your emotional responses as disordered or not... because these feelings and responses are transient, and will continue to change as your understanding grows.

Please don’t fear anxiety, and don’t fear a label that somebody else has defined for you.

Keep learning.
Keep growing.
Keep changing.

Keep doing your best, because your best gets better every day.

By: Tim Box

The Control System | Master

December 17, 2021
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