Your mind won’t stop asking questions. Your stomach is in knots. You feel unsettled or worried all the time. You are so tired from having to be alert and vigilant all the time. You doubt yourself; you doubt others. Your heart is racing. You can never get a deep breath. It’s hard to concentrate and impossible to relax.
This is what anxiety looks like for some people:
- Anxiety can be this rolling snowball that gets bigger and bigger as the years go on. A small thing turns into something bigger and more unmanageable as you struggle to shake it off.
- Anxiety is brand new. You weren’t a worried person until something happened - you had a baby, you got sick, you lost a relationship - and now you just can’t cope the same way you used to. You’re over-anticipating everything that could go wrong and you don’t know how to regulate yourself.
- You may feel like you’ve been hiding your anxiety for years. People would be shocked that under your calm demeanor, you are over-thinking every detail, so insecure and worried that people are going to find out you’re such a mess.
- Anxiety mostly shows up in your relationships. You worry that your partner is going to realize they don’t love you and they’ll leave. At work, you’re nervous that your coworkers find you annoying and your boss thinks you’re incompetent.
- There’s always something to worry about. Things that other people seem unfazed by are the things that you can’t let go of. You can’t just be ok.
Anxiety is closely related to fear, which is a natural and adaptive response to danger. Feeling fear when we’re in danger means that we can escape or confront the threat and find safety.
However, anxiety is when our body thinks we’re in danger when we’re actually not. It reacts to the memory of fear and our physiological system responds as if we were experiencing the actual threat.
Changes in mood can be challenging to navigate, whether it’s the first time you’ve ever felt this way or it’s a cycle that you’ve experienced off and on your whole life. There are several different types of anxiety and each type can affect your life in significant ways.