Anxiety is not a distinctly British problem, but we do seem to have a distinctly British attitude towards avoiding it.  Though anxiety levels are higher in Britain than anywhere else in Europe, to talk about our anxieties seems embarrassing, likely to create an uncomfortable social situation and therefore we avoid it at all costs.  Yet one in five Britons not only experiences regular anxiety, but suffers from an actual anxiety or depressive disorder (which often go together), and the perceived stigma shows no sign of waning.

 On a recent visit to my son in Germany, I discovered that the American mandate regarding a constant veneer of cheerfulness leaves similar fallout to the British stiff upper lip.  At least in terms of facing anxiety, even when it’s causing you to falter at work or experience overwhelming stress in your personal life.

An American colleague of my son’s confided that she has suffered from crippling anxiety for years, stemming back to her parents’ divorce.  She said she had seen multiple therapists and tried several kinds of medication, and was extremely skeptical that any treatment could work short of all of life’s little problems setting themselves magically in order.  I offered her a private session in TRE, which she eventually agreed to try with the qualifier “I am the last person who this is going to work on”.

Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health issue in the United States, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, affecting 18% of the adult population.  And before you claim this is simple over-diagnosis of people reacting normally to negative changes we’ve all had to experience in some way in recent years.  Studies by the ADAA and NHS are referring to serious, documented cases.  And besides, anxiety is a normal reaction to the hardships of life, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it.

After her Tremor Release Experience, my son’s colleague looked relieved, and smiling (for real this time) said, “If anyone wasn’t going to tremor it was me, but…here I am – wow, that was and I feel amazing”.  

 

Sources and further reading:

http://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/user-guidance/well-being/index.html