Heart racing, shortness of breath, lying awake at night worrying? Most people can identify with having anxiety and its symptoms at different points in their lives. In fact, Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 18% of us in the United States age 18 and older every year.
Source: National Institute of Mental Health
How Does Anxiety Feel and How do you know When it’s Time to Get Help?
Anxiety comes in lots of different forms like PTSD, Panic, Social Phobia, OCD and extreme and frequent worry. It affects all people differently dependent on genetics, biochemistry, age, stage and life events.
Can you Relate?
People with anxiety
- Find it difficult to control worry
- Feel restless, keyed up and on edge
- Become easily irritated and angry
- Have difficulty concentrating or staying focused on important things
- Have difficulty falling or staying asleep
People with anxiety may also experience intense panic with increased heart rate, shallow breathing, feeling out of control, and unable to calm down. With all this adrenaline pumping, people with anxiety can experience an intense let down affect resulting in exhaustion and depression. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, let me be the first to empathize and say, “Friend, that sucks.” Because it really does. Since anxiety is largely invisible, it’s hard for others to understand just what is going on inside you. Even though anxiety doesn’t show up on ultra sounds and Xrays, it is real, and it is painful. And you’re not crazy.
How Do You Know When It’s Time to Get Help?
Did you know that anxiety is highly treatable? Yes! That’s the good news. The bad news is that only 37% of those suffering from anxiety disorders actually receive treatment. What a bummer!
Though I had been seeing a counselor since my graduate school days, I didn’t start addressing my anxiety symptoms head on until my mid thirties. (yes, I look like I am barely out of college, haha, but no.) It was then that I saw my worries, restlessness, irritability, going from 0-60 in a red not second, and panic in uncomfortable situations as problematic. The people around me were being affected, and that was enough for me to say, “Stop! In the Name of Love!” So I addressed it calling it the name it was- anxiety.
Here are some questions to ask yourself if you think that your anxiety might becoming a problem.
- Are you tired of worrying about what other people are thinking, about things that never actually happen, or about regrets from the past?
- Are your feelings keeping you back from moving forward (taking on a new role, public speaking, networking or socializing, getting involved in the world)?
- Do your anxious feelings make you avoid things that other people do without worry?
- Do you break down into a puddle more than you’d like to admit?
- Are your anxious feelings becoming debilitating, or restricting you from normal functioning?
- Are the people around you tip toeing on eggshells trying not to upset you?
- Has this been going on for a long time and you’re sorta sick of it?
Well, that’s the down and dirty anxiety checklist. As you’ve guessed, there is a lot more that can be discussed when it comes to anxiety- chronic stress (cool!), triggers, (woo hoo!), panic attacks (yikes!) and my personal favorite, obsessive negative thoughts (love this one! Gimme some more!)
Next week, we will unravel some of the WHYs of anxiety (stressful relationships anyone? terrible boss perhaps? what about how stinkin’ expensive everything is, yeah, that’ll send ya over the edge!) and what to do if it’s happening to you.
Need Help Now? You can check out my books God Unwrapped and Losers, Users and Abusers HERE.