Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in America, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. The condition affects 40 million adults in the United States. That’s 18 percent of the U.S. population. Despite this, people with anxiety disorders still live with a stigma often associated with invisible conditions.

Many people with anxiety disorders frequently feel as though they are alone and unique with their way of thinking.  They also often feel misunderstood as if they should be able to control their anxiety and as if they are somehow weak if they cannot. There are many misconceptions regarding anxiety disorders and the thoughts and feelings associated with anxiety disorders.

The following is a list of things that some people with anxiety wish others understood about their anxiety disorder:

  • “It’s uncontrollable.”

  • “Anxiety [is] an illness. You can’t just get over mental illness.”

  • “It’s paralyzing.”

  • “It’s sometimes so exhausting and distracting that I may be forgetful or unproductive, but it’s not me trying to be thoughtless, lazy or make excuses.”

  • “I do realize the things I worry about are ridiculous. Even though I’m aware, I can’t just stop it.”

  • “My mind is my enemy, so I need you on my side. Sometimes I even need you to fight alongside me.”

  • “I’m not crazy.”

  • “Saying, ‘you will be fine’ doesn’t help.”

  • “I’m not being ridiculous or dramatic.”

  • “It’s real. I’m not overreacting.”

  • “I don’t want to feel this way.”

  • “All the logic in the world won’t keep my heart from hammering in my chest.”

  • “After a hectic day, especially after being in crowds or dealing directly with multiple people, I have a ‘people hangover’ the next day. I need alone time to reboot from all the energy used. I have to rest and reset my mind. If I don’t, I will become bone-tired, overwhelmed and moody.”

  • “I’m not doing it for attention.”

  • “We don’t need someone to look at us like we’re crazy. We need someone to be compassionate.”

  • “Even though we look OK on the outside, our anxiety is reeking havoc on our insides.”

  • “I don’t always know why I’m anxious.”

  • “The smallest things can set me off. The more trapped I feel, the worse off I am. Personal space will always make me feel better.”

  • “It feels as if the weight of the world is on your shoulders. You feel suffocated.”

  • “I might look like I’m doing nothing, but in my head I’m quite busy.”

  • “Anxiety and worrying are not the same things.”

  • “I’m being attacked by something I can’t escape from.”

  • “It’s not a choice. You don’t choose to have anxiety. It chooses you.”

  • “I don’t just ‘get nervous.’ Heck, half the time I’m not even nervous when I’m having a panic attack — I’m anxious. Sometimes it’s for no reason I can identify. When I’m anxious and nervous I recognize some of it is irrational, but I can’t just snap out of it. My mind and body aren’t cooperating with reason.”

  • “Just because you don’t understand doesn’t mean my fears aren’t real.”

  • “You can’t just stop worrying. There is no ‘on’ or ‘off’ switch.”

  • “It’s totally possible to have social anxiety and be a raging extrovert.”

  • “Prayer doesn’t make it disappear.”

  • “No matter how irrational I may sound, it’s real to me.”

  • “Just because I can’t explain the feelings causing my anxiety, doesn’t make them less valid.”

  • “Even the simplest tasks can be overwhelming at times.”


At Specialized Therapy Associates, we have several clinicians who have expertise in helping people who suffer from anxiety.

To learn more about Specialized Therapy Associates, please visit us at: