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19 Misconceptions People With Anxiety Want To Set Straight

Because "taking a deep breath" doesn't fix all.

We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us the most annoying misconceptions people have about anxiety. Here are their responses to set the record straight.

1. First of all, anxiety's a real condition — not just a buzzword.

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"I hear people throw the term around all the time. When someone's nervous and has butterflies, that's not the same thing as having a panic attack."

Submitted by Samer Hosn, Facebook

2. And there doesn't always have to be a tangible reason behind feeling anxious.

MTV / Via

"Most of the time, I don't even know why I get so anxious, and people always say, 'There's nothing to be nervous about!' It drives me nuts."

Submitted by Bailey Karr, Facebook

3. Sometimes, it hits out of absolutely nowhere.

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"There's not always something tangible that triggers it. It's a rabbit hole of dark thoughts that pop into your head, when it seems like you're perfectly fine on the outside."

Submitted by gabrielleelised

4. Having anxiety affects people both mentally and physically.

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"When I'm anxious I get physically sick, with nausea and shaking and headaches, and even when I finally am able to relax, my body still has to recover."

Submitted by emilys139

5. There are actually many different kinds of anxiety.

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"Anxiety disorders exist on scale! There are anxious people who get stressed easily, and there are people with more severe. And some people experience both."

Submitted by Stephannie Tornow, Facebook

6. And having it isn't a quirk. If someone tells you they are anxious, take them seriously!

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"Anxieties appear in different ways, but all can interfere with lives."

Submitted by trauscher17

7. Anxiousness isn't something that can just simply be controlled, and it's not just a phase.


"It's like a hydra: You cut off a head, three more grow in its place. You learn to live with it, but it's always there."

Submitted by Mylene Saumure, Facebook

8. Telling us to calm down actually makes things worse.

The CW

"Feeling anxious is the last thing we want, and telling us to calm down will probably get us closer to an anxiety attack."

Submitted by aubreyl3

9. Suggesting that we meditate isn't very helpful advice.


"Deep breathing and 'mindfulness exercises' might be helpful in certain situations, but it doesn't help the overall pressure of anxiety."

Submitted by monied

10. And medication isn't an instant fix. If it were, though, that'd be incredible, right?

Walt Disney Pictures

"At the same time, there's a misconception that something is wrong with you if you are on medication. People with anxiety don't need your judgment when they are trying to just do well for themselves!"

Submitted by Ashley Breiland, Facebook

11. No, we DO NOT enjoy being anxious.

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"There are people who think that I *like* to be anxious. Like, I get a thrill off of it, or something. As if I get satisfaction out of constant self-doubt and cycling thoughts."

Submitted by emilyb46f00fc82

12. We are not pretending to have an illness to get attention.

Warner Bros.

"Having anxiety sucks. The last thing I want is for all eyes to be on me!"

Submitted by nancyBLG

13. In fact, most people prefer to be left alone when having a panic attack.


"People are always asking me, 'Are you OK? Are you about to have an anxiety attack?' I understand you're trying to comfort me, but sometimes I want to be left alone."

Submitted by lindseyh4083ef014

14. We're not trying to come off as rude, angry, or lazy.

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"I have social anxiety, and every year my family has a huge reunion. I can't be around that many people for very long, so people think I'm being rude, but that's not the case."

Submitted by lilyb43ab5d75a

15. Just because we get anxious about seemingly irrational things, doesn't mean we aren't logical people.

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"I know without a doubt that what my anxiety is telling me isn't usually true, but it's not like I can just control it."

Submitted by oliviamorgane

16. Living with anxiety can get seriously exhausting.

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"My friends get annoyed because I can only handle a small amount of social activity. Being out and around people and having to talk to people wears me out very, very easily."

Submitted by lillyc4b0103c05

17. Just because we don't act like we're on edge, doesn't mean we're not.

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"A lot of people think if you're anxious, you have to act like it 24/7! I'm very loud, bubbly, and energetic, but sometimes I will shut down and it all becomes too much."

Submitted by heatheryackel

18. However, if you have a friend who's anxious, the best way to help is to be kind, or just listen.

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"You can't just 'get over it' by pushing someone into an uncomfortable situation.

Submitted by Jinx16

19. And, most importantly, having anxiety DOES NOT make someone weak.

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"People with anxiety are so strong, because it takes a toll on you as a person. If you don't live with it, you don't know how much strength it takes to get past a surprise anxiety attack."

Submitted by Melissa Ashlaw, Facebook

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