WHAT IS ANXIETY?
Anxiety can often be really overwhelming to experience. It can leave us feeling embarrassed, scared, and even avoid activities or friends that we usually enjoy doing/seeing.
As humans, we love to have control. And those of us who experience anxiety will often strive to have control over many aspects of our lives as a means to feel safe or protect ourselves. Anxiety also feels uncontrollable, which can leave us feeling even worse. Because control over every aspect of our life is not possible, it can leave us feeling even more anxious.
Anxiety can also cause irrational thoughts or beliefs. We might recognize that the thoughts are irrational, but no matter how much we we try to "logic" our way out of it, the thoughts still feel very real.
The thing to remember about anxiety is even though it feels like your mind is your enemy, your brain is doing its job of trying to keep you alive. However, over time, when we have repeatedly experienced fearful feelings or people or events, our brains learns to become triggered and fearful in similar situations. Before we know it, our brain becomes hypervigilant, making us think we need protection and should be fearful, even in the safest situations.
Learning why this happens is important in our healing process and in our ability to regain control over the thoughts trying to take over.
PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY
Rapid heart rate
Inability to stay still or calm
Loss of appetite
Tightness in your chest
TYPES OF ANXIETY DISORDERS
Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Worrying a lot about insignificant things or having a bigger reaction to a situation than is appropriate.
Panic Disorder: Having symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder but also panic attacks. A panic attack is a sudden surge of overwhelming fear that comes without reason or warning. It is often described as feeling like one is having a heart attack or feeling like they are dying.
Social anxiety: Discomfort or a fear from being in a social situation that involves a concern of being judged or evaluated by others. Avoidance of crowded places and situations where there is an expectation to talk to new people is common.
Phobias: Most common type of anxiety disorder. Phobias are an intense fear of a specific object or situation resulting in extreme anxiety as a response towards something that is not actually causing an immediate danger or level of harm.
Knowledge and understanding are crucial for our healing. The more we understand about our anxiety and where it comes from, the more in control we feel.