Anxiety vs. Stress: There’s a Big Difference!

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Signs of mental disorders, such as anxiety, tend to be extremely prevalent in our society; specifically in college students. Each different case, however, all depends on an individual’s special circumstances.

Michigan State criminal justice sophomore Jordan Lampton struggles with social anxiety.

“Sometimes I just have to calm myself down and be like, ‘It’s literally just a phone call; there’s no reason to freak yourself out over it.'” Lampton said.

Anxiety can come about for a variety of reasons; whether it be school stress, personal life struggles, etc.

Specialist at the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) Leslie Johnson says big life changes, such as transitioning from high school to college, contribute to the anxiety issues plaguing young people in today’s society.

“We’re such a large campus and the good thing about that is we have so many resources and places for people to go when they feel overwhelmed with all these changes,” Johnson said.

One big issue revolving mental disorders is that people tend to self-diagnose themselves with having anxiety, when they’re simply confusing it with daily stress.

Lampton said she has been looking for ways to explain what anxiety really is to prevent this from happening. 

“Saying, ‘Oh, I have a lot to do”, that is not anxiety,” Lampton said. “You stress about it, but it doesn’t consume your thoughts. You don’t have to take medicine every single day because you have a test and it stresses you out. Anxiety is being so fixated during your Stats exam, with the ‘What if I fail?’ ‘What if this happens?’ ‘What if I have to retake the class?”” 

Regardless of whether you may be right or wrong in whether you have anxiety or not, it is still important not to keep your feelings bottled up and seeking out help from a doctor to get a proper diagnoses.

Lampton said that telling those that support you in whatever struggles you may be going through at a given point in time is extremely vital as well when experiencing these feelings.

“It’s okay to tell your friends,” Lampton said. “All my friends know, people at work know. I’m like, ‘Yeah, that’s why I’m like this sometimes.'”

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