Things To Remember When You Think Your Anxiety Is Never Going To Go Away
It might feel like it’ll last forever, but it won’t.
When anxiety strikes, it can be all too easy to imagine it will never go away. The physical symptoms – a beating or palpitating heart along with a constant sick feeling in your stomach – plus a mind working in overdrive become so consuming that you can’t remember a time when you just felt normal.
The problem is, that fear of anxiety never leaving you – of never being able to feel like you again – can ultimately cause your bout of anxiety to be prolonged.
If you’ve found yourself in a thinking pattern like that, one way to help yourself out of the cycle is to logically and rationally remind yourself that this intense feeling of anxiety won’t last forever. It physically can’t.
Here are four other things the experts at mental health self-help app My Possible Self suggest remembering when you feel like this phase will never end:
1. Anxiety can be managed
“Cheer up”, “calm down”, “stop overthinking” if you suffer from anxiety, you may be tired of being told to essentially ‘wish away’ your fears. If only it were that simple. Although it takes more than willpower to banish anxiety, there are things we can do to manage it. This means finding the right techniques or treatment for you. What works for one person doesnt necessarily work for another, so it may mean doing a little research, speaking to your doctor and getting support from your friends and family. And if results arent immediate, dont lose heart it can take time.
I Outsmart Your Brooding Ways
1. Fire the What-ifs Committee inside your brain. One of the most difficult tasks is talking yourself out focusing on the danger that threatens you. In reality, it is not menacing and may not even exist. Anxiety is not actually fear, because fear is based on something right in front of you, a real and objective danger. Becoming aware of defaulting to worst-case scenarios will help you avoid being trapped in an endless loop of what-ifs.
2. Control your inner dialogue. Check your vocabulary for unhealthy words such as hate, stupid, always, never, ugly, unlovable, defective, and broken. Replace black-or-white language with more neutral terms.
3. Fall in love with the Cognitive-Behavioral Triangle.Anxious people often feel attacked by their feelings. In reality, feelings come after a thought. Being aware of your thought process is crucial, especially because some thoughts are core beliefs, or internalized scripts that are ingrained and automatic. If you struggle with overreacting in the heat of the moment, its likely because unhealthy feelings lead to the same ol unhealthy behaviors. Remember the following diagram:
Thoughts > Feelings > Behaviors
For extra support about rewiring your thoughts, check out this in-depth article.
Who Does It Affect
Generalized anxiety disorder affects between 5% and 6% of people at some point in their life. GAD often starts sometime between late childhood and early adulthood, though it’s not uncommon for it to begin much later in life. Children may also be diagnosed with GAD. In children, separation anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder can look like GAD, so a mental health professional will carefully look at where the child’s worry is coming from before they make a diagnosis.
There are some groups of people at higher risk of getting the disorder:
WomenWomen are almost twice as likely as men to develop GAD.
Older adultsIts not uncommon for people to develop GAD later in life.
People with another mental illnesses or substance use disorderPeople living with GAD often have another mental illness. Mood illnesses like depression, other anxiety disorders and substance use disorders commonly occur with GAD.; People who start to experience GAD when theyre younger may be more likely to be diagnosed with more than one mental illness.
Family membersGAD seems to run in families, so you have a higher risk of developing the illness if a close family member also has GAD.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders
Many people experience anxiety at some point in their lives.
In fact, anxiety is a very normal response to stressful life events like moving, changing jobs or having financial troubles.
However, when symptoms of anxiety become larger than the events that triggered them and begin to interfere with your life, they could be signs of an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders can be debilitating, but they can be managed with proper help from a medical professional. Recognizing the symptoms is the first step.
Here are 11 common symptoms of an anxiety disorder, as well as how to reduce anxiety naturally and when to seek professional help.
One of the most common symptoms of an anxiety disorder is excessive worrying.
The worrying associated with anxiety disorders is disproportionate to the events that trigger it and typically occurs in response to normal, everyday situations .
To be considered a sign of generalized anxiety disorder, the worrying must occur on most days for at least six months and be difficult to control .
The worrying must also be severe and intrusive, making it difficult to concentrate and accomplish daily tasks.
People under the age of 65 are at the highest risk of generalized anxiety disorder, especially those who are single, have a lower socioeconomic status and have many life stressors .
How Do Anxiety Disorders Affect Children
Its normal for children to feel some amount of anxiety, worry or fear at certain points. For example, a child may feel scared of a thunderstorm or barking dog. A teenager might get anxious about an upcoming test or school dance.
But sometimes, children approach these situations with overwhelming dread or they cant stop thinking about all the fears tied to one of these events. It may seem that none of your comforts help. These children often get stuck on their worries. They have a hard time doing their daily activities, like going to school, playing and falling asleep. Theyre extremely reluctant to try something new.
When thinking about your childs anxiety levels, getting stuck is key. It separates the regular worries of childhood from an anxiety disorder that needs professional help. If the anxiety or worry interferes with your childs ability to function, it may be time to seek help
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Be Patient With Yourself Be Kind To Yourself Your Anxiety Does Not Describe Who You Are As A Person It Is A Part Of Who You Are And How You Are Feeling And It Is Okay To Feel That Way As Long As You Try To Help Yourself
Treat yourself the way you would a loved one who is going through a hard time. There are many ways to deal with anxiety different methods work for different people. Give yourself a chance. For me, it was faith, meditation, exercising, and writing that helps. For some it could be medication, therapy, or just time. ;Just remember that you are not alone in this.
I am learning to breathe. But most importantly, I am learning to tell myself that sometimes it is okay to not know what I want or need. Life never gave me a timeline, I forced it upon myself and I do not need a timeline to live my life. What matters most is right now.
My old friend anxiety still pays me a visit once in a while; I mean we were together for a long time. That is when I think of the people important in my life and I remind myself of how far I have come from where I started.
When To Seek Professional Help
Anxiety can be debilitating, so its important to seek professional help if your symptoms are severe.
If you feel anxious on the majority of days and experience one or more of the symptoms listed above for at least six months, it may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.
Regardless of how long you have been experiencing symptoms, if you ever feel like your emotions are interfering with your life, you should seek professional help.
Licensed psychologists and psychiatrists are trained to treat anxiety disorders through a variety of means.
This often includes cognitive behavioral therapy, anti-anxiety medications or some of the natural therapies listed above.
Working with a professional can help you manage your anxiety and reduce your symptoms as quickly and safely as possible.
If you are experiencing chronic symptoms of anxiety that are interfering with your life, it is important to seek professional help.
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What To Do When Your Anxiety Wont Go Away
If you are having a challenging time finding peace of mind, or if you struggle to stay calm and generally free from irrational worries or fears, you may want to consider seeking professional help for your anxiety.
Working with a professional has several benefits. First, you can have your symptoms examined and diagnosed properly so that you know what kind of anxiety you have. Based on your evaluation results, a mental health professional can advise you on the therapies and medications that can help you.
Part of managing a mental disorder is learning about it. With the right information in hand, you will be informed as you create strategies to help you manage your anxiety. There are a lot of resources you can use to help you.
A mental health provider should consult the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition when evaluating your symptoms. This helps ensure you receive the right diagnosis and treatment. It also rules out other possible causes of your condition.
When you meet with your medical or mental health provider, have questions ready as well as an account of what you have been experiencing. Your doctor will also ask you questions to help them understand your symptoms and how they affect you.
NIMH also says exposure therapy is another approach to helping people cope with an anxiety disorder.
If you notice a change in your physical or mental state when taking medications, consult with your doctor as soon as possible.
When To Call A Professional
See your doctor if you are troubled by severe worry or anxiety, especially if:;
- Your anxious feelings have lasted for several months.;
- You feel that you can no longer control your anxious feelings, and this causes you to spend unreasonable amounts of time managing your symptoms.;
- Your constant anxiety is interfering with your personal relationships or with your ability to function normally at home, at school or at work.;
- You are having difficulty concentrating or remembering.;
- You are having trouble sleeping.;
- You have unexplained physical symptoms that may be anxiety-related.
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Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety
As you ask the question do I have anxiety, you should have a clear understanding of what signs might point to an anxiety disorder. Anxiety happens when something makes your body activate its fight or flight response it often happens suddenly and puts your body on high alert. When you experience anxiety, you can exhibit any of the following anxiety symptoms:
- Anxiety surrounding a life event or experience
- Difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly
- Digestive or gastrointestinal problems
- Feelings of panic or dread
- Increased or heavy sweating
- Strong desire to avoid things that trigger your anxiety
- Trembling or muscle twitching
How Long Does Anxiety Take To Treat
This is very much dependent on number of different variables:
- How intense your anxiety is
- How much your anxiety is impacting your day-to-day life
- How long youve been dealing with anxiety
- How consistent you are with coming to therapy
- Your relationship with your therapist
- The experience/expertise of your therapist
Theres a wide range. I think you can generally expect at least 5 to 10 session for lower levels of anxiety. And 25 sessions or more for anxiety that has been chronic and severally impacting a clients; day-to-day life.;
Its very important that clients are consistent with showing to therapy. Sporadic attendance tends to be more about putting out fires than treating the source of the fire.;
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Nothing Cured My Anxiety Entirely
For most of my life, I thought of my anxiety as this shameful personality flaw that I need to cure as quickly as possible. I’ve tried anything and everything that I thought might work, but nothing has eased my anxiety entirely.
Back when I was a church-going kid, I tried to pray my anxiety away, but the lack of results only made me feel more anxious. When I went to college, I tried to study my anxiety away with extra credit projects, multiple jobs, and honors coursework. After college, I tried to work my anxiety away by juggling multiple day jobs and a budding freelance writing career â but staying that busy for that long eventually led to panic attacks and burnout. When I fell in love for the first time, I thought having sex with my then-partner would ease the anxiety I felt about our relationship â but it actually contributed to my anxiety.
I’ve also tried managing my anxiety with nightly yoga, daily exercise, long walks, anti-anxiety teas, writing, meditation, traveling, music, work, medication, therapy, dietary changes, playing with animals, spending time in nature, and cleaning. All of these things have helped me tremendously, too. I’m super-grateful for my coping methods, and I rely heavily on them to keep functioning. Not one of them has made my anxiety disappear completely, of course, but I’m able to manage it much better than I used to.
Who Is At Risk For Anxiety Disorders
A mix of genetic and environmental factors can raise a persons risk for developing anxiety disorders. You may be at higher risk if you have or had:
- Certain personality traits, such as shyness or behavioral inhibition feeling uncomfortable with, and avoiding, unfamiliar people, situations or environments.
- Stressful or traumatic events in early childhood or adulthood.
- Family history of anxiety or other mental health conditions.
- Certain physical conditions, including thyroid problems and heart arrhythmias .
Anxiety disorders occur more often in women. Researchers are still studying why that happens. It may come from womens hormones, especially those that fluctuate throughout the month. The hormone testosterone may play a role, too men have more, and it may ease anxiety. Its also possible that women are less likely to seek treatment, so the anxiety worsens.
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I Remembered Being An Anxious Kid
I’ve known for many years that my anxiety issues began in childhood, but it’s only been in the past couple of years that I’ve really thought about all the ways my anxiety manifested itself when I was a kid. Now that I can view my anxious childhood through a more informed lens, I’m realizing that the signs of my anxiety disorder have always been thereâI just didn’t know what to look for.
I remember being seven years old and needing at least an hour to fall asleep, simply because I couldn’t shut my mind down. I remember having my first panic attack when I was seven years old. I remember developing nervous ticks, like rubbing my eyebrows and chewing on the inside of my mouth until I tasted blood.
I remember going through a phase of hypochondria where I really felt sick. I remember feeling so guilty when I couldn’t control my near-constant stream of weird thoughts that I would clean for hours as a kind of penance. I remember taking to the woods with my dog and a journal whenever my anxiety left me feeling stupid and hopeless. I remember holding my breath when my anxiety spiked out of nowhere, and I remember having all of the most comforting psalms bookmarked in my Bible. There are so many other things I remember about being an anxious kid, but you probably get the picture.
I Talked To Open Minded People About My Anxiety
With the exception of a few friends and one Sunday school teacher, I was in my twenties before I started meeting people who spoke about mental illness in an informed and non-judgmental way. It’s not that my family shamed me for having anxiety, but they didn’t really know how to help me either. Plus, I grew up in a part of the U.S. where mental health stigma is still particularly rough.
In fact, it wasn’t until I left the Midwest to spend some time in Brooklyn that I found myself surrounded by people who didn’t think of anxiety as a choice or a character flaw. Everyone from my friends to my editors to my dates were open-minded about mental illness, and not one of them suggested that anxiety disorders aren’t real. That experience, plus therapy, plus all the interviews I’ve conducted with mental health professionals over the past year, has helped me finally see my anxiety for what it is: a very treatable illness that won’t go away on its own.
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What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder
In generalized anxiety disorder, a person has frequent or nearly constant, nagging feelings of worry or anxiety. These feelings are either unusually intense or out of proportion to the real troubles and dangers of the person’s everyday life.;
The disorder is defined as persistent worry for more days than not, for at least several months. In some cases, a person with generalized anxiety disorder feels he or she has always been a worrier, even since childhood or adolescence. In other cases, the anxiety may be triggered by a crisis or a period of stress, such as a job loss, a family illness or the death of a relative. The crisis or stress may have ended, but an unexplained feeling of anxiety may last months or years.;
In addition to suffering from constant worries and anxieties, people with generalized anxiety disorder may have low self-esteem or feel insecure. They may see people’s intentions or events in negative terms, or they experience them as intimidating or critical. Physical symptoms may lead them to seek treatment from a primary care doctor, cardiologist, pulmonary specialist or gastroenterologist. Stress can intensify the anxiety.;
Some people with this disorder have a genetic tendency to develop it. The disorder probably stems from how a variety of brain structures communicate with each other as the individual tries to manage the fear response. Life experience, significant relationships and environmental stresses also influence the development of this disorder.;