How to cope with anxiety

Julie Raffensperger
Associate Features Editor

Panic Disorder. Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Social Phobia. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Believe it or not, there are students all around you that may be suffering from one or more of these disorders. No matter how mild or severe, nobody wants to live day in and day out with anxiety. But for many, it is their reality.
Try to imagine waking up every day, just waiting for an inevitable feeling of knots in your stomach or the acceleration of your heart rate. These are things that some people cannot control, and experience far more often than anyone should. If you think these feelings of anxiety are not common, think again.
Studies have shown that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness suffered by people, young and old alike, throughout the country. There are many types of disorders, including panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, phobias, and generalized anxiety disorders. It is common for any anxiety-related disorder to accompany depression, eating disorders, or substance abuse. In more serious cases, they can lead to illnesses such as cancer or heart disease.
During an interview, Millersville University’s Counseling Center Coordinator, Joseph Lynch, stated, “The most common disorder we see on campus is social anxiety. These are students that get extremely nervous when they see the word ‘presentation’ or ‘group activities’ written on their class syllabus.” Someone with this disorder may become unbearably overwhelmed with nerves by the mere thought of having to stand up and introduce themselves to a group of peers.
This is not the typical feeling of slight nerves making your hands shaky or some butterflies in your stomach. Someone with social anxiety may have such a severe and irrational fear of social situations that they become nauseous or unable to speak. This disorder is so common that approximately 5 million Americans are affected each year. It can lead to lowered self-esteem, and in some cases, depression.
Although anxiety exists, it does not mean there is not help if you seek it. Here at Millersville University, there is a counseling center located on the third floor of Lyle Hall, which will be hosting a free program screening for any student who is experiencing anxiety, no matter how minor. The program will include a video and questionnaire. The student will then meet with a psychologist to determine whether further counseling would be helpful. It is a safe way to address your problem and deal with it.
When asked about his own anxieties and thoughts about the screening, senior Matt Duca replied, “Personally, I would say exams and finals bring on a lot of anxiety. Also, coming in as a freshman trying to ‘fit in’ and make friends can build anxiety too. I think if a screening would help a student, then I am all for it.”
Senior Tyshana Rosado also responded, “Students face the same types of anxieties as everyone else. We have financial issues, health issues and concerns about friends and family. We need to fit in our classes, studying, commitments, and a social life while trying to maintain a good GPA. The screenings would help people recognize that some of their thoughts or coping mechanisms may not be healthy. With this awareness they can educate themselves about better alternatives.”
If you think you are the only one with anxiety, you are mistaken. There are many students with problems of their own. Be the one to take control. Visit the Counseling Center on September 26 between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Get the help you deserve.