Most people do not recognize their anxiety for what it is and instead think something is "wrong" with them. Some people are preoccupied with the symptoms of anxiety (e.g. stomach aches, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, etc.). Others think they are weird, weak or even going crazy. Unfortunately, these thoughts only make people feel even more anxious and self-conscious.
How can you tell if your everyday anxiety has crossed the line into a disorder? It's not easy. Anxiety comes in many different forms—such as panic attacks, phobia, and social anxiety—and the distinction between an official diagnosis and "normal" anxiety isn't always clear.
First, it’s important to know that anxiety is normal. Everyone has experienced anxiety at some point in their lives. Anxiety is there to let us know there might be danger or help us perform better by motivating us before a big presentation or meeting. Although anxiety may feel uncomfortable, it is not dangerous or harmful to you. Remember, all the sensations you feel when you are anxious are there to protect you from danger, not hurt you. It also doesn’t last forever - it may feel differently when you’re having an anxious moment, but like all the other moments there is an end and the feeling will begin to decrease.
Anxiety is good when it’s helpful (getting you prepared for a big event or presentations and/or when it’s letting you know of real danger). But it “turns off” when the danger or event is over. It’s when the anxiety is happening without any real cause that can make things feels scary and exhausting (mentally and physically draining). It’s important to know that you don’t want to get rid of the anxiety all together, instead you want to make sense of it and make it more manageable to work in favour and not against.
What Can Anxiety Feel Like?
Anxiety can cause many sensations in your body:
Rapid heart beat and rapid breathing
Nausea or Upset Stomach
Feeling Dizzy or light headed
Tight or painful chest
Numbness and tingling Sensations
Bright Vision or blurred vision
Heavy legs or body feeling frozen in the moment
If you often experience many uncomfortable physical symptoms, but doctors cannot find anything wrong with you physically, you may have problems with anxiety. You are definitely not "going crazy". Although these symptoms may be uncomfortable, they are not harmful.
To learn more about your anxiety and how I can help you manage it, book a 30 minute consultation.