Your Anxiety is Real

Did you know...

  • Anxiety is genetic
  • Anxiety can develop from things outside of your control
  • Anxiety can be a side effect of a physical illness or other health problems
  • Anxiety can be a side effect of medications
  • Anxiety can cause physical symptoms     

But more importantly...

  • Anxiety is real
  • Anxiety doesn’t go away just because you identify it
  • Anxiety doesn’t go away if you ignore it
  • Anxiety does not need to be in control of your life
  • Anxiety is treatable

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue in the United States, affecting 27.3% of the adult population, and 9.4% of our children. They are among the most talked about, yet still highly misunderstood mental health disorders, even though they affect many of our friends, family members and ourselves. Most people can recognize when they feel anxious or when their friends are anxious. 

Anxious in the Moment vs Anxiety Disorders

Being anxious in the moment, or for a moment, is different from having an anxiety disorder. When those anxious feelings become someone’s normal experience rather than occasional moments, when their anxious response is disproportionate to what is going on around them, or if their anxious feelings are robbing them from experiencing joy in their life, then they are likely dealing with an anxiety disorder. Recognizing the difference between a normal anxiety and stress response versus an anxiety disorder is the first step to being able to manage it. Unfortunately, many people stop at that first step. Anxiety disorders are extremely treatable; however, only 36.9% of persons who suffer from them get treatment, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Many people still hold the belief that anxiety is something that they should somehow be able to “ignore it so that it goes away” or that they should be able to “fix themselves.” Neither of these are effective treatment strategies. When these don’t work, the person often blames themselves for “not doing enough to fix it” which ironically feeds their anxiety. Others turn to social media, Dr. Google, or ask their friends for advice. If you go looking, you will find information. Like anything else, some of it will be helpful and some of it likely won’t.

Managing Anxiety

If you don’t have success trying to manage your anxiety through the information you find on your own, that doesn’t mean that you have to continue to struggle. Working with a mental health professional provides you the opportunity to understand yourself better. They can help you sort through whether there are medical issues that may be contributing to your anxiety. They also help you figure out how to sort through and make sense of all the information you have heard about anxiety and how it applies to you specifically so you can start managing it differently. Treating an anxiety disorder helps you to regain control over your life so you can enjoy yourself again.

If you think you might be struggling with anxiety, please contact Lifeologie Counseling Grand Rapids Cascade or Lifeologie Counseling Ada. Our team would love to support you!


Sources: Data and Statistics on Children’s Mental Health (2022), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2022).

About Dana Pendergrass

Dana Pendergrass, LMSW, received her BS in Psychology and her Master's in Social Work from Michigan State University. She specializes in working with people who are adjusting to a diagnosis of chronic illness, sleep disorders/challenges, or who have severe and intense anxiety. Her goal is to instill hope, help you quiet self-destructive chatter and give you the tools you need to make life better. She sees clients at Lifeologie Counseling Grand Rapids Cascade and Lifeologie Counseling Ada.

Meet Me