Nearly everyone feels anxious from time to time, but a large number of people have an actual anxiety-related condition. On average, 19 percent of American adults — close to one-fifth of the adult population — are affected by anxiety or an anxiety-related disorder (such as obsessive-compulsive disorder) every year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
But while the Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that anxiety disorders are highly treatable, only 36.9 percent of people with a disorder actually receive treatment. In fact, the signs indicating an anxiety disorder can seem so commonplace that it’s possible for someone not to realize they have a formal condition at all.
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How so? Simply put, anxiety symptoms can range from life-altering phobias, such as the fear of driving, to seemingly normal occurrences, like headaches or fatigue. While the latter two may not prompt you to believe you have a chronic condition, and may even confuse you into thinking you have two of the most common flu symptoms, they are also physical manifestations of high anxiety that — when combined with more specific physical or mental symptoms — can suggest you have a disorder.
Though anxiety affects everyone, it differs from person to person in the way it manifests, why it manifests, and to what magnitude it occurs. For this reason, anxiety diagnoses can take many forms. The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) classifies generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder (PD), and social anxiety disorder (SAD) as actual anxiety disorders, while anxiety-related disorders include obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Because the symptoms can seem like everyday occurrences, anxiety disorders are often difficult to understand. So as we head into a new decade, we've gathered a wide selection of blogs that both support those who live with an anxiety-related condition and promote awareness around the condition.
Ranging from humorous to scientific to spiritual, some of these blogs are specific to a certain anxiety disorder while others cater to overall mental health, but all strive to foster a community among individuals who experience anxiety. For those days when you need to know how to calm a panic attack, laugh a little about your hyperactive imagination, or just read a supportive poem, these blogs are here to help you in 2020.
Time to Change
An England-based social movement with the goal of changing the way people think about mental health, Time to Change also has a site full of blogs and stories by people who've personally experienced anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and a variety of other mental health issues. Tips on how to get involved in breaking the stigma surrounding mental health, as well as how to support someone living with a mental health condition, are among the non-condition-specific blog topics on the site.
For those living with anxiety, tales of dating and dealing with family and work are just a few that aim to empower people with the condition and help them realize they're not alone. And for everyone else, Time to Change hopes that the shared stories of daily life with anxiety can help increase understanding and improve attitudes surrounding this and other mental health conditions in general.
This contributor-based blog covers more than 600 health topics, but all articles revolve around mental health themes. The Mighty’s anxiety page, which you can “favorite” and follow, has more than 1,000 posts thus far where contributors openly share their personal thoughts on living with the mental disorder. So if you think no one else in the world gets why dating with anxiety is the most stressful thing ever or understands the irrational way it can make you fearful everyone will leave you, The Mighty will prove you wrong.
Anxiety United started off as founder Billy Cross's attempt in 2006 to bring together people who could share their experiences with, and tips for, living with anxiety. The community and peer support network that he created helped him overcome his own crippling agoraphobia, and today the site has grown to include personal stories about living with other mental health conditions, as well as lighthearted posts like one on GIFs to help ease your stress or a personalized emoji accurately describing those when days you just can’t. The site also includes polls, quizzes, and videos, making it more interactive than some other blogs.
The Anxiety Sisters
Abbe Greenberg and Maggie Sarachek didn't realize as undergraduates at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in the 1980s that their frequent worrying and stomachaches were actually the beginnings of anxiety. But after more than three decades of living through and discussing on a sometimes daily basis their triggers and symptoms, which included or resulted in panic attacks, missed work, and even canceled trips, the two decided that it was time to share their stories in hopes that they could help others find relief.
As it turns out, sharing was actually one of the things that had helped them the most. Though they each went to dozens of specialists and tried a variety of medicines over the years to try to get a hold on their anxiety, they realized that the connection they'd built in supporting each other through their experiences helped just as much — if not more — than their treatments.
Dubbing themselves "anxiety sisters," Anne, who is now a professor and writer, and Maggie, who is a social worker, created their site and blogs with topics like "Does Self-Care Make You Anxious?" and "Strategies for Managing Holiday Anxiety" to help others not only live with anxiety, but to live well despite anxiety.
Anxious Lass is run by Kelly “Kel” Jean, a British wedding photographer, metal music lover, and social anxiety slayer. In addition to her fun blog posts on both social anxiety and depression, Kel also provides friendly services, like a week-long email course on how to de-stress and a self-help e-book called Social Anxiety to Social Success. With an open-minded tone and a bit of humor, Kel’s blog posts make anyone feel welcomed.
Anxiety Schmanxiety by Healthy Place
Healthy Place’s anxiety blog, Anxiety Schmanxiety, is your scientific source for all things anxiety-related. The site provides descriptions across all forms of anxiety, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder (PD), phobias, and social anxiety disorder (SAD). In addition to these helpful guides, Anxiety Schmanxiety is also loaded with science-based articles addressing the most common questions, like whether social media has an impact on anxiety.
The Worry Games
AnnaLisa Scott, loving wife and mother to five children, started The Worry Games as an open commentary on her struggle with anxiety. In her candid introduction letter, she unabashedly details her experience with insomnia and panic attacks, as well as her compulsive fears of choking, driving, losing a loved one, and more. Possibly most helpful is Lisa’s understanding of the variety of forms anxiety can take and the ways it can affect our mental and physical health — one reason she included an inspirational list of anxiety quotes for when the stress can get too overwhelming.
Free From Social Anxiety
Are you unsure whether you have social anxiety? With this blog's free social anxiety test, readers can check symptoms on their own. There are many types of anxiety out there, but for people dealing with social anxiety disorder in particular, this is the blog to follow. The site does well in providing quick advice, like tips on improving self-confidence, and power-boosting articles, like how to overcome social anxiety.
Relief From Anxiety
Relief From Anxiety is written by a 22-year-old named Amy who started the blog when she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression in 2013. As part of her goal to provide inspiration and advice, her posts can range from what to do when someone is experiencing a panic attack to more witty and understanding entries, like an annoyed anxiety poem.
This is the ideal blog for anyone who is interested in taking a more spiritual route to treat their disorder. Whether you’re looking for inspiring quotes, advice on how to let go, or helpful exercises to calm your mind, Tiny Buddha has it all. The blog features contributors of all ages from around the world and aims to bring peace and center to daily life.
Additional reporting by Maura Corrigan.