Understanding stress and anxiety

Stressed out and anxious young man sitting on the steps
Photo: © Sabphoto / 123RF Stock Photo

“Anxiety is the most silently painful experience. It makes no sense and you sit alone and suffer for an unknown reason. You can’t explain it. You can’t stop it. It is horrible.”

Probably the most commonly-used word today is ‘stress’ used almost daily by millions of people the world over. We find stress everywhere, whether it be within the family, business organization or any other social or economic activity. Right from the time of birth till the last breath drawn, an individual is invariably exposed to various stressful situations. Thus, it is not surprising that interest in the issue has been rising in the present century which can be rightly called the ‘Era of Anxiety and Stress’.

They frequently feel that they are about to die. It is a haunting and disturbing experience. They are not faking nor are they merely trying to get sympathy from those around. It is really bearing on them, and often also equally taxing on counsellors or those who are expected to help them.

Sensitivity is needed in the diagnosis of anxiety states, especially because of possible complications from associated physical complaints. We wisely remember that many physical conditions cause the same symptoms that are found in anxiety states. These include hyperthyroidism, cardiac disorder, disturbances of the cerebellum and the semi-circular canals, some toxic conditions and disorders, as well as many other physical illnesses. These symptoms should be attended to carefully and in many cases these persons should be referred to for professional medical evaluation. Stress rises like fine and irritating smog off our work with anxious individuals because it is difficult for them to explain what their problem is. They lay it on our desk, wrapped in vagueness, challenging us to understand it. The better part of wisdom tells us that knowing what to avoid is as important as knowing how to proceed sensibly. Sometimes well-meaning friends complicate the difficulties of people suffering from extreme anxiety by blandly and blindly urging them to overcome it with a muscular old-fashioned determination. When people are already experiencing something closer to panic, such advice can tear their adjustment apart. They may then try to escape and, in fact, it is under just such pressure that some people leave counselling altogether. Counsellors who respect the unconscious variables in play here never push people too hard about their conscious behaviours or decision. Harried persons need less advice and simpler acceptance and understanding.

Read the full article by subscribing to the print or digital editions of THE TEENAGER TODAY.

C. Joseph
Latest posts by C. Joseph (see all)

C. Joseph

C. Joseph is as a counsellor in St Joseph’s College, Jakhama in Nagaland. He has written a number of articles and has produced several music albums in English and Tamil.