Friday, 9 Nisan, 5783
  |  March 31, 2023

Excuse Me, I Have Actual Anxiety

From the COLlive Inbox: "A term I never heard when I was growing up has become normal. I hear the question over and over, what’s wrong with today's kids? Why so much anxiety?" Full Story

L’Chaim: Sabbah – Cohen

Next Story »

The Siege on all Ukraine is Tightening

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Thank you
March 14, 2022 11:59 pm

Thanks for clarifying this and I am sorry you suffer from anxiety. I just have a question. Can it be there is a spectrum? Where the same word ‘anxiety’ can refer to the extreme way it is described here, as well as a mild type of anxiety? I remember the first time discovering the usage of the word anxiety and I loved how perfectly it described what I thought was an overall feeling of worry that just makes a person feel uneasy. It’s not crippling and doesn’t need medical intervention. A dose of bitachon or some simple self help tips… Read more »

Reply to  Thank you
March 15, 2022 8:26 am

Also from Google:
Anxiety can be normal in stressful situations such as public speaking or taking a test. Anxiety is only an indicator of underlying disease when feelings become excessive, all-consuming, and interfere with daily living.

Reply to  Correct
March 15, 2022 2:33 pm

But when a person says “I have anxiety,” the don’t only mean that they get anxious sometimes. People who get anxious sometimes say, “I sometimes get anxious.” “I have anxiety” suggests that even when the person isn’t anxious, they have this disease called “anxiety,” which is a disposition to extreme anxiousness, usually to the point of immobility.

The author of the article is merely arguing that when somebody says “I have anxiety” when they don’t have the aforementioned disposition, they are belittling the experiences of those who actually suffer from anxiety.

Severe anxiety
March 15, 2022 12:07 am

You have severe anxiety, but many many people have anxiety that is not so severe, or manifests itself in different ways. But it doesn’t mean they don’t have anxiety. Just like some people get seriously ill from Covid and other do not, the same thing is with anxiety.

Some Thoughts
March 15, 2022 12:16 am

Coming from someone who has suffered anxiety for many years. 1. I appreciate this article. One of the biggest misconceptions about anxiety is that it is simple worry. Anxiety is MUCH deeper than that, and it usually comes along with a host of AWFUL, debilitating symptoms, some of which mimic very real physical health conditions. 2. Having an anxiety disorder doesn’t mean there is no hope. I’ve had periods of truly terrible anxiety, and periods of relative calm. There are lots of factors that can go into an anxiety disorder, lots of factors that can impact/trigger anxiety, and lots of… Read more »

Lower level anxiety
March 15, 2022 12:17 am

Wow very brave writer! You sound like a really good person who’s been through and overcame a lot and is still growing. I understand what you’re saying, but I disagree with the premise. I think there is such a thing as lower level anxiety which a lot of kids and teens struggle with and it’s a spectrum. Some will need intense medication etc like you mentioned and others with need therapy, coping skills, exercise or maybe low dose or as needed medication. Just because it’s not as extreme does not mean it’s not real anxiety. Their heart is still beating… Read more »

Reply to  Lower level anxiety
March 15, 2022 4:08 am

People like you make it harder for people with actual anxiety to understand what they are going through. Personally, I’ve experienced anxiety for many years and did not realize that I had it because people like you compare it to fears or worries. It’s lifelong. It’s debilitating. Unlike the kids you speak about, I don’t get to tell my clients that I need a me day to get a hold of myself. It is way worse than a fear or a worry. Fear is related to your perception of a matter. Perception and changing your outlook or even time has… Read more »

truly understanding
Reply to  Daniel
March 15, 2022 12:20 pm

It seems like a more thorough understanding of Tanya could clarify this for you. The beinini can’t control their feelings. A beinini can only control their levushim- mind, speech and action. So the beinini cannot control the feeling of anxiety, he can only choose whether to keep thinking about the anxious thoughts that keep popping up. Hopefully over many years of avoiding dwelling on anxious thoughts and instead thinking bitachon thoughts could reduce the feelings of anxiety. But not every person is zoche to this. Again, moach shalit al halev does not mean that you can control your feelings. It… Read more »

Reply to  truly understanding
March 15, 2022 9:55 pm

It seems like a more thorough understanding of anxiety could clarify this for you.

Anxiety is not just conscious thoughts or worried feelings. It is a broader sense of unease and includes lots of awful physical symptoms.

That is not something Tanya can fix.

Reply to  truly understanding
March 16, 2022 1:56 am

Dear Truly not understanding: Did I write that I have anxious thoughts? No, I did not. You write, “not everyone is Zoche to this”. Are you seriously quoting Tanya? What about quoting other things like “ אל תדון את חברך עד שתגיע למקומו״. Or ואהבת לרעך כמוך. This was the actual purpose of the article and had you actually read it you would have realized that. Anxiety is a sense of being. Walking around with a stack of bricks over your head. Continuous pressure. Feeling that your head is literally splitting. Fighting with your own brain to do something because… Read more »

truly understanding
Reply to  Daniel
March 16, 2022 1:58 pm

You both missed my point. And did not actually read my post well enough to understand what I said. You both sound like u just want to vent. Which is ok, but not actually a reply or discounting anything I said. In fact, you both agreed with my post. To sum up: The feelings are not controllable. (Or in your words- the state of anxiety is not controllable). Its what you do with the feelings. I.e. what are your thoughts, speech and actions. When you are in a state of anxiety do u get done what you need to do?… Read more »

Reply to  truly understanding
March 18, 2022 1:56 pm

Not the same thing. I highly recommend you listen to simon jacobsons depression and spiritualty ep.https://open.spotify.com/episode/4yOnLnqr87CUbyqHTCE7dc?si=QLh6ycZyRCWZM2RPQwg0QA&context=spotify%3Ashow%3A59ZVYDjYKhVzfm1pM1k8wL

Reply to  truly understanding
March 18, 2022 1:52 pm

My granfather is a doctor and he has countless stories of people coming to him with depression and anxiety>
a lot of them told him “its fine i just need to learn another perek tanya”. it dosnt work like that. its an actual physical illness. depression of perek 26 is not clinical depression.

My take
March 15, 2022 12:30 am

First of all, this article belongs in an academic journal of etymology. Meanings of words evolve, and as certain phenomena becomes more well-known, use of the words associated with describing such phenomena increases too, often beyond the original intent of the word. In short, words can change in meaning. This is no different with the word “anxiety.” As its use became more widespread, so did its overuse. But that’s not to say that people are belittling what you intend when you say you suffer from anxiety. By misusing “anxiety,” nobody is denying your experiences with actual anxiety. (By the way,… Read more »

Mental health
March 15, 2022 12:43 am

This is the case eith every single mental illness its not exclusive to anxiety.
How many times have you heard someone say “omg, I’m literally dying,” “I’m so depressed,” “she’s actually mental,” “she’s for sure schizophrenic,” “the weather is literally bipolar.”
For someone that’s actually suffering from depression, I can tell you that it’s really hard to hear such things.
It’s mamash Chaval!
Moshiach now

OK so now that you've identified something
March 15, 2022 12:59 am

so what? there’s anxiety, worry, concern, depression, sadness, fear, panic, concern… for each of these there minimal, some and major levels… and for every person who is experiencing an uncomfortable or debilitating psychological state it is what it is. And unless I’m an experienced and pedigreed and certified mental health professional, I can’t decide what you’re experiencing and what you should do about it. You think you’ve got clinical anxiety? See a doctor

Be careful not to invalidate others
March 15, 2022 1:06 am

I agree with those that comment how anxiety has a spectrum. Please be careful not to invalidate others who are lucky to not suffer as badly as you but still suffer nonetheless.
May Hashem grant you a refuah sh’leima!

real anxiety
March 15, 2022 1:07 am

One out of every four of today’s teenagers has a diagnosable mental health challange according to statistics. So it may be true after all when people/teens are commenting on their own anxiety. And besides, anxiety is a spectrum. Not everyone with a diagnosable condition is living in a state of constant panic. Don’t belittle someone else who is in a milder state because “they dont have it as bad as you” . Its also not a new thing. My grandmother had severe anxiety. My mother still has severe anxiety. It wasnt a “thing” back then and us kids all suffered… Read more »

I get it
March 15, 2022 1:22 am

When someone suffers from an illness, it hurts to hear the name of their illness thrown around like cotton candy. It just hurts. A lot.
Of course there are levels of anxiety.
That’s like comparing a little stomach ache to full blown colitis. Or like comparing walking past a sprinkler to getting caught in a dangerous thunderstorm.
Day to day anxiety is just feelings of being anxious. It is not actual anxiety. Two different worlds.
It really hurts to have your problem thrown around like a nothing. Feels like the pain is being misunderstood and trivialized.

Reply to  I get it
March 15, 2022 10:12 am

I have colitis. And I don’t feel defensive when people complain of “minor” (who’s judging?) Stomach aches.

There are other cheapened words too. Ex: Narcissi
March 15, 2022 2:16 am

While on the subject, it is so frustrating to hear a person use the term “narcissistic” to describe behavior that may really merely be momentarily selfish. I live with a family member who has the real McCoy condition called narcissistic personality disorder. Anyone who has ever lived w/such a person _wishes_ they were merely dealing with a selfish person! Living with a narcissist is pretty nearly impossible — the lies, the frequent below-the-belt putdowns, the unpredictable moods, the 1001 ways of avoiding ever owning up to wrongs, the smear campaigns, the “flying monkeys” (look it up!), the constant drama, the… Read more »

Severe anxiety.
March 15, 2022 3:30 am

As someone who experiences severe horrible anxiety , this message was so validating, thank you.

March 15, 2022 3:50 am

You can be anxious without suffering from anxiety.

As to why there are so many people these days with anxiety? It’s bh becoming more acceptable to seek help for mental illness, and talk about it more, so one hears of more situations where people are struggling.

Anxiety disorder
March 15, 2022 7:33 am

What the author seems to be describing is called Anxiety Disorder. Thats a medical term that should not be cheapened. I have been diagnosed with that. But anxiety is just a word for paralyzing fear. Anyone can have anxiety. It isnt a medical term. Its a feeling. Its not being overused, its accurate. Everyone, Please Continue to use this usefull word without being scared of offending anyone. Just be aware, that there are people who experience anxiety in levels you can not imagine.

Why so much anxiety?
March 15, 2022 8:10 am

Why so much anxiety?

Because their Epigenetics adversely affects all people because all their previous Trauma.

March 15, 2022 9:04 am

Please consider getting evaluated for sleep apnea. It is highly linked with severe anxiety and often goes undiagnosed. I personally know someone who became a different person after they started their CPAP machine.

Dear anonymous "medical professional"
Reply to  Anonymous
March 19, 2022 9:57 pm

please don’t suggest that people do things because you surely know better than their qualified mental health professionals.

My experience with ocd exactly
March 15, 2022 10:11 am

As someone who has suffered severe OCD (beyond what you can imagine), it definitely makes it more difficult to open about up to anyone, because literally every Ashkenazi jew claims to be ocd and it has become such a joke in our communities. That now ocd sufferers are kind of pushed to suffer even more silently.

Reply to  My experience with ocd exactly
March 15, 2022 12:05 pm

Considering that 1 in40 pple have ocd as per the NIH and that it also runs in families, its not a joke that many ashkenazi jews have ocd. Maybe they are not all severe, but its definately there.

Thanks for expressing the definition of anxiety
March 15, 2022 11:14 am

I like the detailed explanation of anxiety. If others would do the same for depression etc… that would be great to know the difference. Certain points I find the same in all of mental health which is “the voices.” I’m happy you used the words “voice in the head”and “the voices” because these words have to be more known. The voices is the key to stop all mental health issues. Because the person who is “voicing ” something into someone else’s head IS THE PROBLEM, NOT THE PERSON WHO HAS TO CLEAN UP THEIR GARBAGE BY GOING FOR MENTAL HEALTH… Read more »

Natural Relief
March 15, 2022 4:49 pm

My sister in law suffers from severe anxiety for years. But she found a natural herbal product online called Anxiety Relief from a company called bhherbalsolutions and to be honest it really helps her relax. she says it is made a huge difference. she did not want to take medications so this is a natural help if anyone is interested in alternative help.

Yes I understand
March 15, 2022 9:08 pm

It’s really frustrating to feel like people are making light of something so heavy. I will say, as many people have pointed out, anxiety disorders exist on a spectrum and can affect people at specific times (ie Postpartum anxiety). But I do get the bulk of what you are saying and agree. Sometimes people say “I have such bad anxiety with/about ___” when a more apt word would be “nervousness.” I think because of the word anxious (ie: “I feel anxious now”) used in other acceptable ways it confuses being anxious (a condition) vs feeling anxious (transient). As someone with… Read more »

March 15, 2022 10:20 pm

Anxiety is a feeling.
Anxiety disorder is an illness.
Experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal part of life (mayoclinic.com).

Just like occassionally obsessing is not OCD.
Or feeling depressed sometimes is not clinical depression.
Or feeling traumatised is not usually PTSD.

Wishing you a refuah shelaima from your anxiety disorder.