I have a confession, I am a compulsive worrier.
Ever since I can remember, I have always lived my days worrying about pretty much anything and everything.
I would imagine the absolute worst case scenario, conjure up a detailed motion picture movie in my head, and then I’d believe it as if it were currently happening. Negative assumptions would be preceded by a slew of negative feelings, which would be based off this unrealistic reality.
Eventually this thought process became very destructive and started to affect many different aspects of my life, and well-being.
Signs of Symptoms of Panic Attack Disorder:
Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
Trembling or shaking
Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
Feelings of choking
Chest pain or discomfort
Nausea or abdominal distress
Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint –
Chills or heat sensations
Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations)
Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization –
(being detached from oneself)
Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
Fear of dying
Signs of Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder:
Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge
Being easily fatigued
Difficulty concentrating or having their minds go blank
Difficulty controlling the worry
Sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep or –
restless, unsatisfying sleep)
Signs of Symptoms of Social Anxiety:
Feeling highly anxious about being with other people –
and having a hard time talking to them
Feeling very self-conscious in front of other people and worried about -feeling humiliated, embarrassed, or rejected, or –
fearful of offending others
Being very afraid that other people will judge them
Worrying for days or weeks before an event where other people will be
Staying away from places where there are other people
Having a hard time making friends and keeping friends
Blushing, sweating, or trembling around other people
Feeling nauseous or sick to your stomach when other people are around
I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Unless you are a close friend, or family member, many people have (and will) find this shocking to believe. I became very good at keeping my feelings locked away in the closet. What people observed was a total inaccurate interpretation of how I actually felt. Inside, I felt like my brain was caught up in a storm of constant, repetitive, and racing thoughts, but that didn’t stop me from smiling. It was on fire. Eventually the anxiety led to Major Depression (and the smiling ceased to exist – for a while), which I will discuss another time.
The greatest accomplishment for me was being able to recognize that there was an issue, and that I needed help beyond peer social support, journal writing and self-help books.
There is so much stigma circling around mental illness, when it’s merely no different than any medically diagnosed condition. It should be treated with the same level of priority and importance. Medication, psychotherapy, and support groups are okay. No one should feel judged or embarrassed to seek support. The only way to break the stigma is to talk about it, spread awareness.
Here are some things that have helped me manage my cyclic worry:
Create a list – Identifying the things you are worried about allows you to acknowledge them for what they are (just thoughts), and it allows you to do something about them (or perhaps nothing at all).
Analyze (but don’t over analyze) – Determine whether your thoughts are productive or non-productive. Productive in the sense, can you do something about it now? Non-productive thoughts are typically worse case assumptions, “what if”, that cannot be changed.
Embrace Uncertainty – Accept your limitations, and let go, focusing on the things you do have control over and enjoy.
Bore Yourself Calm – Repeat the negative thoughts in your mind until they lose their importance, resulting in boredom.
Stop the Clock – Worry creates a sense of urgency. Become mindful, and focus on what you observe in the present moment. Practice mediation, deep breathing, music therapy, and/or journal writing.
Ask, “What can I do in this present moment to make my
life more meaningful and pleasant?”
Lastly, Talk About It – I have to say, I am very thankful of the support I have in my life. I have the most amazing family and friends. BUT, sometimes we need professional support, in the form of psychotherapy, or talk therapy through certified therapists, psychologists and/or psychiatrists. Recognizing the need for professional help is key. If you notice your excessive worrying, or anxiety is starting to affect multiple areas of your life (ie. work, personal, relationships) then it’s highly suggested you reach out for additional support.
Rachel Page ♥
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