The New Normal

Anxiety – What You Should Know

by Nick Pione // April - May - June 2022

When I was a teenager, the movie Top Gun was a favorite of mine – my buddies and I would quote the movie to each other all the time. One particularly popular line was “I feel the need, the need for speed” … but when we drove around town in my 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, it was clear that I was not Tom Cruise.

Cheesy lines aside, the movie was all about speed and pushing the limits on a motorcycle or in a fighter plane. I remember the loud roar of the jet engines throughout the film, and those feelings of exhilaration and anxiousnesses, all at the same time. Those feelings of course left as soon as I exited the theater. But what if they didn’t? What would it feel like to be that amped up all the time, 24/7? Well, it might feel like someone who’s living with anxiety, which is becoming the new normal for too many of us.

As described by some who suffer from anxiety disorders:
– “Anxiety is like an adrenaline rush without the actual roller coaster. Heart races, palms sweat, knees get weak. You have all the physical symptoms of a thrill ride, but your brain has no actual event to tie the symptoms to.”
– “My anxiety takes over my body. My breathing is irregular, my heart is racing despite minimal activity, and my muscles are tense unless I consciously relax them. My mind doesn’t shut off. I think about things that could go wrong, things that went wrong in the past, and things I have absolutely no control over. Despite having the knowledge that I cannot control everything that happens, I struggle with these consuming symptoms daily.”
– “Anxiety takes you to a place where you’re outside of your body and cannot determine fantasy from reality. It’s debilitating, scary, and downright gut-wrenching.”

See what I mean? It can feel like a movie that never ends, and more and more of us are experiencing this emotion every day. According to a National Health Survey by the National Center for Health Statistics (, the range of average monthly percentages of U.S. adults reporting symptoms of anxiety from January 2019 through December 2019 was 7.4%-8.6%. Alternatively, data collected between April 2020 and October 2021 for the National Center for Health Statistics Household Survey on anxiety and depression ( indicated that the average monthly percentages during this timeframe skyrocketed to 28.2%-37.2%. Why is this becoming the new normal? Partially due to the pro-longed state of COVID and the influence of social media, just to name a couple. These conditions have resulted in many of us experiencing a level of anxiety that has never been seen before.

Depression is also becoming more prevalent, increasing approximately three-fold over the past few years. Anxiety and depression often coexist, as depression is found in approximately 50% of patients diagnosed with anxiety. They may seem similar, sharing symptoms like insomnia, trouble concentrating, and fatigue, yet they are uniquely different. The following can help differentiate the two, recognizing that we are all unique and symptoms can overlap:
– People with depression generally experience a lack of energy, whereas those with anxiety tend to be more worked up and nervous as thoughts race through their minds.
– People with anxiety often have more worries, many times unsubstantiated, about the future, while those struggling with depression are less likely to be concerned about future events, because the future is often viewed as hopeless and almost non-existent.

It’s normal to worry about things like the economy, your job, and family. Where it can become more problematic is when those worries become more constant, or you begin to worry about things that do not affect your daily activities. The following are common symptoms for those diagnosed with anxiety disorders, and a licensed healthcare professional can help you determine if these symptoms are normal or need further attention: excessive worry, restlessness, fatigue, lack of memory and difficulty concentrating, change in appetite, anger and irritability, sleep disturbance, and muscle tension.

What can you do to help yourself or someone you love? This is the good news – there are a few resources to help:
– Psychotherapy or talk therapy: (conducted by a licensed practitioner, either virtually or in person); cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective form of psychotherapy for anxiety disorders. Generally a short-term treatment, CBT focuses on teaching you specific skills to improve your symptoms and gradually return to the activities you’ve avoided because of anxiety. Consult your insurance provider’s directory of licensed mental health professionals, and consider online platforms like
– Medication: Prescriptions are available and a licensed healthcare professional can help you determine what’s best for you.
– Natural alternatives: Such as chamomile (limited data shows that short-term use is generally considered safe and can be effective in reducing symptoms), lemon balm (preliminary research shows it can reduce some symptoms, such as nervousness and excitability), valerian (in some studies, people who used it reported less anxiety and stress), CBD (shown in several studies to help reduce the symptoms of generalized anxiety and PTSD), and exercise (the type does not seem to matter, but doing it consistently does).

If you are suffering with anxiety or depression, don’t suffer in silence. Tell the people you know and love how you’re feeling. And if you ever find yourself in a place of hopelessness and consider harming yourself, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.

Nick Pione

A local business owner, blog writer, and natural wellness expert. He co-founded Trek CBD and contributes to and