I wrote an article (the anxiety closet) a few years ago about the fact that most anxiety sufferers hide anxiety from friends, relatives, and co-workers. The reason we do this, especially when we’re new to the condition, is the fear of looking weak-minded or inferior to those who don’t have anxiety. Of course this added fear and pressure of having to hide or lie about the problem only adds to our already-peaking anxiety problems.
Alternet recently released an article asserting that people are starting to become less judgmental and negative towards anxiety and panic attack sufferers:
This is why the last year has been so important for the 40 million Americans like me who the National Institute of Mental Health says periodically suffers from anxiety-related disorders. It was a year that saw these all-too-common ailments emerge from the shadows.
It started in professional sports, a particularly difficult arena for a mental-health coming out party. After all, it’s a machismo-dominated world where showing any signs of weakness is usually depicted as nothing more than a personal failing or a lack of “toughness.”
You may remember that several athletes opened up publicly last year about their own anxiety and panic problems. This was followed by an unprecedented number of other high-profile people ‘coming out’ including actors, actresses, and musicians. Having famous people that we like and admire open up so candidly about their very personal problems, especially those that relate to mental health, garner more favorable opinions towards the average joe’s like us that suffer too.
Having that truth out into the open is, unto itself, a welcome step away from ugly stigmas and, hopefully, toward solutions. Indeed, if such a trend continues, it is possible that those who are suffering in silence will eventually feel less frightened to seek help.
So will the growing acceptance and increasing lack of public prejudice about anxiety disorder in general make it easier for us to seek help? Is anxiety acceptance really increasing in your view? What do you think?