Hundreds of thousands search Google every month for a cure to their anxiety. I was probably responsible for 100,000 of those searches alone back in 2005 when, after five years of torture, I had just discovered anxiety and panic attacks were an actual thing.
I get why people do it. Who wouldn’t want a cure from something so vicious it destroys any quality of life once enjoyed?
It’s not that I don’t believe you can be “cured.” It’s that I strongly believe the pursuit of a “cure” in itself will only end up making you more anxious. The consequences of which are dire.
I’m certainly not telling you to stop your search. Hope is vital, and who knows what you’ll find out there?
But let’s see what happens if you reframe it and shift your focus.
Anxiety is not your problem. It’s your symptom.
By focussing on anxiety as the problem, you only stand to enhance the symptom. Which is the last thing anyone wants, right?
Sidenote: There are different grades to this. Most people who confidently speak of a cure probably don’t know what an anxiety disorder is. You also can’t put someone who has been struggling for a month in the same box as someone who has been struggling for a decade because both the body and mind will have endured significantly more trauma in the latter case. But I believe anyone desperate for a cure stands to gain an awful lot by reframing their problem.
For the purpose of this example, I’ll focus on work anxiety and the stigma of mental health.
If you turn to someone looking for a bit of compassion and support and say, “Hey, I have anxiety,” the stigma will automatically kick in.
In their mind, they may label you another headcase or a snowflake.
They may also want to help but don’t know how, so they’ll get all weird and ruin your moment of vulnerability with their awkwardness and desire to quickly move the conversation along.