Anxiety: Why it's More Than Just Worrying
You feel nervous all the time. You can’t seem to relax. Your thoughts control you, rather than the other way around. You can’t sleep. Night after night, you toss and turn. You feel exhausted. Maybe you’ve started experiencing headaches. Your muscles feel tight. You are constantly on edge. You can’t focus.
Generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, frequently begins in the teenage years or early adulthood. However, it can arise during other stressful or traumatic times during a person’s life.
You might feel like you just can’t turn off. Your thoughts run in circles. You overthink. Your friend didn’t respond to your text because they don’t like you. Because they are purposely ignoring you. Or are they? They might not have seen it. But they also have been super distant. They’ve just been really busy. Wait - why don’t they like you? Is there something you did? When you last saw each other, did they take offence to something you said? Maybe you should text them. Maybe that’s overbearing.
Anxiety leers its smug face into your life. It picks at each and every thought and action you take. An overflow of thoughts ensures. You examine every scenario, every irrational fear, and actually consider them.
Anxiety Really Is More Than Worrying
It’s creating problems in your mind that aren’t even problems. It tricks you. It takes a hit at your confidence. And it can easily take over your life.
Sure, we all have worries. But not to the point that they control you.
It’s irritating and frustrating to hear some people brush off anxiety.
“Oh, she just worries a lot.”
“Quite worrying, it’ll be fine.”
“She was freaking out about the exam, but hasn’t even started studying.”
A roll of the eyes. A misunderstanding. Anxiety is misinterpreted a lot.
I remember briefly experiencing it in my teenage years. I would tug at my clothes, overly worried about how I looked. I thought people were always looking at me. I remember trying so hard to disappear - to be invisible, to not inconvenience anyone. I aim to please (still do!).
I could barely hold a conversation because I was scared. I was worried that people would think I was dumb or stupid. Then, I would think no, they might appreciate what I have to say. Too late. The moment would pass, and I wouldn’t be able to say what I had to say. It took my voice.
It was brief. And arguably, it had other contributing factors - my parent’s divorce and regular teenage angst. But I felt it force it’s hands on my thoughts and actions.
Anxiety Is the Need for Control
You feel like things are out of your control, so you try to fix them (even when there isn’t anything to fix). It might come across as too much in relationships. You end up coming across as overbearing and controlling. You have this constant need for set plans. You overcompensate. You don’t know where to draw the line.
Anxiety symptoms may come and go. They frequently become worse during stressful situations, such as exams or financial stress. And surprisingly, anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues.
Anxiety & Depression Go Hand-in-Hand
Over 50% of people diagnosed with depression also have anxiety mental health issues. Anxiety can be caused by a variety of factors, such as brain chemistry, genetics, life events, and personality.
Negative thoughts, such as those present in depression, can fuel anxiety symptoms. You might be so scared and so sure of failure that your thoughts run rampant. You end up apologizing for things that you don’t have to apologize for. You doubt yourself. Second-guessing yourself is your new norm. Your confidence plummets.
Consequently, you spiral out of control - grasping for any little bit of control you can find. It’s scary, but you aren’t alone.
In addition to GAD, there are all different types of anxiety disorders. There are panic disorders, social anxiety disorders, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and PTSD. And there is help out there.
Don’t bottle it up inside. Let your friends and family know. Once they understand, they can help you. It might also help ease your anxiety, knowing people get it. There’s nothing more frustrating than being misunderstood.
In fact, anxiety mental health issues are very treatable. But less than 40% seek out the help they need.
Talk About It.
Sweeping anxiety under the rug is not an option. Friends and family rally together. Let people help you, and help others.
Cognitive behavioural therapy and medications have helped many people tackle their looming anxiety. Don’t let anxiety take over your life. Don’t let it cut you off from your potential. Strive for optimal well-being. And yes, this differs from person to person. But it’s there. And it’s possible.
Anxiety is more than worrying. It’s worrying about worrying about worrying. It’s persistent. It’s not helpful or useful. Take the necessary steps to understand it - especially if you may be concerned that someone close to you is struggling with it.
Even just understanding the disorder or that you have an anxiety disorder can help in leaps and bounds. Seek out the necessary medical attention. There’s no need to go it alone or suffer in silence.