When you hear the word “anxiety”, what is the first thing that comes to mind? If someone tells you that they are “feeling anxious”, what does that mean to you? People tend to have a formulated idea of what this term means, and that idea tends to be somewhat off-base.
Anxiety disorders are real, just ask those who experience them. They aren’t make-believe illnesses or excuses for behavior. Anxiety disorders are serious medical conditions, much like physical illnesses such as diabetes or hypertension. They are conditions that affect an individual’s daily life in a multitude of ways. Symptoms can range from mild to incapacitating. Maybe they have the conditions well-managed, or maybe they are barely holding on. Everyone’s story is different, and no two paths are exactly the same.
It’s the need to second guess nearly everything. Decisions, behaviors, clothes. It’s the urge to need to be in control of situations, but always feeling out of control. The constant self inquiries – Am I doing it right? Am I enough? A sudden feeling of overwhelming panic or worry, quite possibly over something insignificant; or possibly nothing at all. Saying “I’m sorry” on repeat as if you were a skipping record. Finding the need to blame yourself for things that go wrong, even when it is unrealistic. Continuously feeling unnaturally exhausted, no matter how much rest you get. And rest, that would be nice, if you could get the racing thought to slow so that your mind could rest. The mysterious force that causes you to over think and over analyze nearly all the time. It’s all of these things and more.
Not only does anxiety affect someone’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, but it affects their physical health as well.
- Muscle Tension
- Chest Pain
- Shortness of Breath
- Altered Eating Habits
- Sleep Disturbances
- Trembling, Shakiness
- Tingling, Numbness
Just because someone has a smile, doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering inside. And just because you are feeling like you are fighting a constant battle, doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Talk to someone. Find support. Look for activities that bring you joy. Take the time to practice self-care. Anxiety does not have to be your identity.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness Hotline: 1(800) 950-NAMI (6264)
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1(800) 273-TALK (8255)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Hotline: 1(800) 622-HELP (4357)