Worry is normal. But if you find yourself worrying constantly and feel that your worry is interrupting your day-to-day life, you may suffer from excessive anxiety. Even if you believe that your worries are consistently and negatively impacting your quality of life, don’t lose hope. You can seek help and relief from the cycles of apprehension and dread.
First, Ask Yourself These Questions About Anxiety
1. Do you usually believe that the worst will happen, and that you won’t be able to cope when it does?
Sufferers of anxiety generally believe that the worst-case scenario is inevitable. For example, that, regardless of performance, they will certainly lose their jobs. They also firmly believe that when this happens, they won’t be able to handle it or move on. For example, they will lose their jobs and then never find another job again. The negativity escalates.
2. Do you experience sudden feelings of fear, dread, and hopelessness?
Sufferers of anxiety may find themselves caught in overwhelming emotions, even when nothing has happened to provoke them. They may believe that there is no way out. Anxiety is closely linked with depression.
3. Do you pay close attention to physical symptoms in anticipation of illness or injury?
Anxious people often obsessively monitor their bodies in order to catch any change that might indicate grave illness. They mentally exaggerate symptoms and believe in the worst possible outcome for the perceived sickness. They may even avoid activities that might induce injury or illness, such as social events or outdoor exercise.
4. Do you constantly seek reassurance?
If you frequently need friends, peers, and especially loved ones to tell you explicitly that you are valued, talented, attractive, and worthwhile, even when you have no evidence that you are not, you may suffer from anxiety.
5. Do you rely on alcohol or other substances to numb your worries? Do you rely on work to hide them?
Sufferers of anxiety often resort to harmful self-medication to avoid feelings of dread or self-consciousness, especially in social situations, many of which include alcohol. They may try to use drinking and drugs to ease social pressures, though these substances may actually increase anxiety rather than suppress it.
Similarly, they may throw themselves into work to fight feelings of worthlessness and to hide anxiety from co-workers and friends. However, they might also avoid potential or perceived failure by refusing new tasks or challenges.
6. Have you had a panic attack?
Symptoms of a panic attack include shortness of breath, numbness in the extremities, elevated heart rate, dizziness, an overwhelming feeling of dread, and a concentrated anticipation of death. Often the sufferer feels depressed or listless for days following the attack. Panic attacks can happen at any time, but are most commonly produced by an especially stressful situation, like a reprimand at work, a fight with a spouse, or even the discovery of a symptom of illness, such as a strange mole.
Attacks may cause further worry and reclusive behavior in sufferers, who fear they will have an attack in public and humiliate themselves. They may also develop a fear of the places or situations in which an attack occurred. For example, if you have a panic attack in a car, you may begin to avoid driving or long car rides.
While panic attacks happen to many people, they are powerful physical symptom of excessive, debilitating anxiety.
7. Do you worry about your worry?
One of the most serious and cyclical symptoms of anxiety is, plainly, worry about worry. You may fear that everyone can see your worry and judges you negatively because of it. You may even believe that your concerns make you foolish and worthless. It can feel as though anxiety is destroying your life.
You Are Not Alone
When you suffer from anxiety, it is easy to think that you suffer alone, and that there is no way out. Surely no one else loses themselves in a cycle of worry and self-doubt, surely everyone else is strong. But even this belief in your isolation is itself a symptom of anxiety. Every year, anxiety disorders affect about 40 million Americans over the age of eighteen. You are not alone. And there is hope. I am a counselor in San Antonio, Texas who specializes in anxiety. As an anxiety counselor, I can provide you with the tools to get control of your life! Get started NOW!