What does having an anxiety disorder actually feel like? We're talking about mental health more and more, which is great, but it's also causing a lot of people to be quite flippant with the term 'anxiety'. Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is extremely different from our everyday concerns; everybody gets anxious, and everybody has worries - both are extremely regular and part of being human.
It's totally normal to be fretting about an event or occasion or plane trip or hospital appointment, but what about when those little worries are actually an enormous part of your life, and even start controlling it? GAD is more common than you might think, with 3 million people in the UK estimated to suffer from an anxiety disorder. Tossing around casual mentions of anxiety when you're not a sufferer yourself is not only a bit cruel, but also hugely downplays the actual suffering that anxiety causes.
Counselor Peter Klein confirms this (and he specialises in treating anxiety, so would know), explaining that people with GAD 'often have a persistent sense of inner restlessness that can make it impossible to feel a sense of calm. If someone with GAD sits down to rest they will often start worrying or be self critical for not being "on the move".
Their anxiety is further fuelled by a constant overestimation of many of life's challenges, which makes many benign events appear like catastrophes waiting to happen.' So, yeah, it's a bit more than just getting nervous before you start a new job. Amelia Eve-Warden tells Metro.co.uk that the feeling of anxiety for her is 'as if something bad is going to happen to you in whatever circumstance, place or situation'. Not fun.