Although it may feel like you are alone in your struggle with anxiety, the truth is, you aren’t. Approximately 3.1 million Filipino struggle with an anxiety disorder.

Even though it’s something that so many people deal with, there are still many mistaken ideas or stigmas surrounding anxiety. These stigmas may keep you from seeking the help you need.

If you’ve ever been told to “just toughen up” or “snap out of it,”  “Tibayan mo lang”. I am deeply sorry. Not only are those statements born out of ignorance, they completely discredit the illness you’re experiencing.

The stigma surrounding anxiety disorders can create self-doubt and shame. And stigma doesn’t just come from others. You may mistakenly believe that your condition is a sign of personal weakness or that you should be able to control it without help. When you think less of yourself because of your disorder and when you assume others will see you negatively because of your mental health, it’s self-induced shame.

Additionally, don’t make excuses about getting the help you need. I talk to so many people struggling with anxiety, and often when I encourage them to see a psychologist or a doctor or to consider medication, they respond with a lot of excuses. I know it’s hard, but don’t fall into this trap. Be an overcomer rather than a victim. Take baby steps, but do something.

If you are struggling with anxiety, here are some things you should do:

  • Get treatment. You may be reluctant to admit you need it, but treatment can provide relief by identifying what’s wrong and reducing symptoms that interfere with your work and personal life. Treatment may include medication — which is not a dirty word.
  • Don’t isolate yourself. Reach out to people you trust for the compassion, support, and understanding you need. They can help you deal with your anxiety.
  • Join a support group. Receiving support from people who are going through a similar experience can be incredibly healing. Plus, you can in turn support and encourage others in their struggles.
  • Don’t equate yourself with your illness. You are not an illness. You are so much more!
  • Speak out. Consider expressing your experiences in a blog or school paper or send a letter to the editor. Your views might help instill courage in others facing similar challenges and educate the public about anxiety disorders.

Next Step: TALK TO A MENTOR