Do you remember the last time you felt anxious?
It was probably in response to something going on at the time; maybe a stressful event at work or a situation in your personal life. Anxiety is a normal emotion. Each of us experience it in our lives at varying points, to varying degrees.
Not only is anxiety a normal part of the human experience, it is responsible for our survival at times. We flee from dangerous situations because we experience fear or a pervasive sense of anxiety that something is about to go wrong. A little bit of fear is healthy.
For people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, the distress of anxiety is a regular occurrence and can have devastating consequences such as relationship tolls, career issues and interpersonal problems.Symptoms of Anxiety
Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder can vary. Often there are clusters of symptoms. You may experience some, and not others.
While physical symptoms can vary, people frequently experience heart racing, shaking or trembling hands, sweating, lightheadedness or feeling overheated. Sometimes people get shortness of breath and tingly feelings in different parts of the body. Often people get physically tense and stomach can feel tight or nauseated.
Sometimes people experience an intense sense of dread or a feeling as if something bad is about to happen. Some people describe a fear of “going crazy” or feel detached from reality for a brief period of time. This sense of detachment further exacerbates the feeling of being out of control, which increases the sense of urgency and confusion.
Anxious thoughts are generally centered around ‘what if’ thinking. Anxious thoughts can take many forms, including excessive worry and thought patterns that reiterate a particular set of fears. Anxious thoughts can be very challenging to shut down. If often takes deliberate steps to push through anxious thoughts and reduce distress.
As you navigate your journey with anxiety, remember that you are struggling with a universal emotion; it may be that you have an increased capacity for this emotion than most. Try to not to be self-critical. Often people are predisposed to an anxious disposition.
There is a genetic component to anxiety disorders. When we learn about anxiety and learn coping strategies to manage it, it becomes a far less significant part of life.
Next week I will share tips on how to manage anxiety.