Anxiety is a feeling, a characteristic, and one with both positive and negative connotations.
Having butterflies in your stomach before a live performance, an exam, a sports final or a major event is completely normal. In fact, this anxiety is often related to eustress. Eustress is a form of positive stress that enables you to balance out your emotions, giving meaning to your life choices and activities. It’s what helps drive us to act, to achieve more, to conquer a feat. Eustress is beneficial in that it provides a stimulus for creativity, productivity and relationship-building.
Distress, in comparison, can have a hugely negative impact upon one’s mind and body. Distress is more commonly identified and is associated with high levels of anxiety, poor levels of resolve and can lead to chronic illness, debilitation and social isolation.
Anxiety is a normal response to a foreign situation, a perceived threat or starting something new, and there are many ways to manage such stress. Everyone feels anxious at some points in their lives, and certain personality types have been thought to be more prone to feelings of anxiety. However, there comes a point where stress and anxiety can escalate beyond what is considered healthy, or ‘normal’, and for people who experience intense anxiety, every day tasks and social situations can become unbearable.
My piece for this month’s Modern Woman’s Survival Guide mental health column is about beyondblue’s new campaign, creating awareness about anxiety disorders. You can read it here. The campaign features world-renowned actor, Ben Mendelsohn, who delivers an incredibly compelling performance as ‘Anxiety’.
beyondblue have also just launched a campaign Man Therapy, in reponse to Australia’s terribly high rate of male suicide. You can check it out here.
For help visit:
beyondblue: the national depression initiative: 1300 22 4636 (1300 bb info)
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78