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Living with anxiety

  • Season: Season 4
  • Posted On:

Fight-or-flight gone awry.

"Everyone has anxiety, and you can't really survive childhood without some anxiety," says psychiatrist Dr. Maureen Nash. "It is, at least theoretically, what prevents us from doing catastrophically negative things like walking off a cliff or hugging the stove when it's red hot."

The fight-or-flight response has its place. We're hard-wired to preserve our overall well-being at the expense of a few anxious moments when we're threatened. But, as Dr. Nash adds, "an anxiety disorder is when you have fight-or-flight gone awry and it is either in excess of what is useful to you, or it actually debilitates you."

A growing number of young people are showing symptoms of anxiety, in part due to the zeitgeist (consider a future of global warming, long-term economic prospects, and pushback on efforts to foster inclusion and diversity) and nearly continuous stimulus from electronic devices and social media.

"Trigger after trigger after trigger," says Dr. Robin Henderson, Chief Clinical Officer of WORK2BEWELL, a mental health and wellness program focused on providing mental health resources and education for teens, parents, and educators.

"When we look at increasing rates of anxiety -- we see numbers as high as 40% of females, 36% of males, young adult, high school having some symptoms, if not a full on diagnosis of anxiety -- we see numbers that has to be what we're seeing out of the pandemic and all of those stressors there and what we're seeing in social media and, candidly, what we're seeing in the political environment, not limited to climate change, politics, racism, and all of those things. It's a very stimulating world."

But there's hope. There are ways to cope with anxiety even to treat it as one's "superpower." Today's episode also includes conversations with two college students who not only live with anxiety, but who are working to help others cope with the stressors they face in the world today. Billie Henderson is a student in Oregon and Dominic Brown goes to school in Southern California. Both have worked to help other young people through WORK2BEWELL.

Transcript for Living with anxiety 

Talk2BeWell Podcast

Our Work2BeWell podcast featuring Dr. Robin Henderson and teen voices from across the country focuses on key mental health topics. From conversations on social justice and mental health activism, to navigating digital learning or supporting mental health during the holidays, we explore topics that build meaningful dialogue and student activation around mental health. For more information and resources, please visit Music: Mi-Lo by Smith the Mister, Smith The Mister

If you or a loved one needs help with anxiety, you can start by checking out these websites:


  • Dr. Robin Henderson
  • Dominic Brown
  • Dr. Maureen Nash
  • Sean Collins
  • Billie Henderson


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  • anxiety
  • panic disorder
  • panic
  • work2bewell
  • anxiety disorder