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Spring 2024 - Safety

Anxiety: A Patient’s Perspective

A LIFELONG anxiety sufferer, our featured patient in this issue explains how extreme introversion and anxiety often go hand-in-hand.

A LIFELONG anxiety sufferer, our featured patient in this issue explains how extreme introversion and anxiety often go hand-in-hand. During our interview, this individual admitted that the prospect of sharing his name and photo in print and online made him very uncomfortable — “like being asked to walk around naked in public.” Out of respect for his wishes, we’ve agreed to keep his identity anonymous. 

BSTQ: How old were you when you first experienced symptoms of an anxiety disorder?

Patient: I have had anxiety disorder for as long as I can remember. To this day, I can vividly recall having extreme fear about going to school as a young preschool student. My heart was always pounding, and my mind felt overwhelmed with an unreasonable amount of worry about how I would fare in public.

BSTQ: Do you have an official diagnosis?

Patient: I was diagnosed with social anxiety in 2017.

BSTQ: Can you describe what happens during an anxiety attack?

Patient: When I’m in public or in groups numbering more than two, I am self-conscious to a crippling extent, going as far as stammering, my throat becoming dry and my hands beginning to tremor (especially if I feel triggered). Then, I am constantly fearful about how people will judge me. All these mental turbulences wreak havoc on my cognitive ability. I frequently end up having brain fog and struggle to retain new information. Focus and concentration go down the drain. It becomes impossible to even read. When anxiety is in full swing, the slightest of daily tasks feel like an uphill mountain climb. 

BSTQ: What treatment options have you tried?

Patient: There is no end to the list of treatments I have tried. Medication, mindfulness, slow breathing techniques and constantly trying to ram positive thoughts into my subconscious. Nothing has helped.

BSTQ: How are your symptoms today?

Patient: Sadly, worse than ever. Anxiety disorder runs rampant in my family’s gene pool. My mom also had it and succumbed to it in 2016.

BSTQ: You started a YouTube channel to shed light on life with anxiety. Tell us about that.

Patient: I wanted to articulate what goes on in the tumultuous mind and daily life of anxiety disorder sufferers. It has come to my mind that social media platforms are inundated with gurus and their literature on how to cope with mental disorders. There is not even a handful of content posted by the sufferers themselves. 

BSTQ: What do you wish friends and family understood about anxiety disorder?

Patient: That people who have this condition need all the love, care and understanding in the world. People with anxiety disorder are much more intelligent, logical, pragmatic and down-to-earth than you realize. Rationality and logic have been consistent tools we use to calm our minds when they have the tendency to cripple us with fear and trauma. Our logical half is locked in a perpetual effort to calm our unreasonably anxious other halves.

BSTQ: What has struggling with anxiety taught you?

Patient: That we are complex. That others cannot understand this condition if they have not had it themselves. Anxiety and anxiety disorder are completely different. Let the term “disorder” sink in if you have ever had the impulse to say “just snap out of it” to people like me. I have learned that many people like to pridefully state that they have had anxiety in certain phases of their lives, and they have overcome it. That’s not an anxiety disorder. This condition is not just circumstantial. It’s actually a part of you. 

BSTQ: What coping skills can you share with others?

Patient: There is not much in our power during an attack, but other times we can have the upper hand. The key lies in getting as much self-replenishment in between episodes as possible. Distraction techniques are helpful. We can do things we love and talk to people who understand us. In my case, I watch movies on my phone. The other thing I’ve found helpful is self-acceptance and knowing I’m not alone. I also think it’s important to read, research and gain knowledge about our condition as much as possible. Knowledge is power and by knowing about our enemy, we can minimize its power to take us by surprise or bring us to our knees. 

To learn more about life with anxiety, visit the Anxiety Survivors YouTube channel at    

Trudie Mitschang
Trudie Mitschang is a contributing writer for BioSupply Trends Quarterly magazine.