I first introduced this in a past blog post, but I wanted to re-visit this topic and provide a bit of a closer look. Opening up about anxiety makes me feel a bit nervous and anxious (crazy, hey!). However, I really want to dig deeper and be more transparent.
Some people may be wondering what anxiety feels like. While there are common symptoms, I think it varies from person to person. Before I get into my own, I want to preface by saying that I have not been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder by a doctor, but I do see a therapist to control my anxious feelings and tendencies. Personally, my anxiety presents itself in many different forms. For example, when I am in a situation that makes me uncomfortable, I tend to subconsciously bite my nails (gross, I know), bounce my knee(s), fidget with my fingers, etc. My therapist has encouraged me to think about why I am doing these things, to see if I can recognize what is triggering my anxiety in that moment. Furthermore, when I am anxious, I also tend to feel emotional, nauseous, irritable, overwhelmed, panicky, and even sweaty, depending on the situation. There are a variety of things that trigger my anxiety, like speaking up in class, stories I hear on the news, pressure put on me by external factors, and more. Sometimes as well, with serious situations, I have had panic attacks, where I am unable to calm myself down. Clearly, I have encountered anxiety in different ways.
Additionally, a large root of my anxiety is my perfectionism and tendency to overthink. I tend to overthink just about everything! With that, comes indecision as well, but we can blame that on me being a libra ;). Overthinking is a huge struggle for me, because it leads to worry. It makes me read into a lot of situations, and it also affects the way I see or experience certain things. I sometimes go down a rabbit hole of thinking about different negative things that “could happen”, even if they are unrealistic. Overthinking also occurs in social situations, like in some conversations with friends, or even repeatedly thinking about something I did or said that embarrassed me previously. Also, I have recently encountered overthinking in regards to the Covid-19 situation, as I am very worried about contracting it, as well as passing it onto others. This worry manifests itself into feeling symptoms of Covid, like chest pain (I am sure others can relate), which really messes with my head. It all truly becomes exhausting. However, there are ways that I have been able to cope.
As I mentioned in my previous post, going to therapy has helped me find ways to manage my anxiety. I would recommend checking out my “Mental Health: Anxiety and Therapy” post, as I mention different techniques there. That said, I also find that opening up and writing about my feelings and thoughts like the way I have in this post, is therapeutic as well. Hopefully, others are able to relate to some of the things that I have mentioned, and also find comfort in knowing that they are not alone. I think that many people of my generation (gen z) have anxiety or other mental health struggles, due to the constant pressure put on us by society, through beauty standards, social media, and much more. Like I said, I tend to be a perfectionist and I am my own worst critic when it comes to these things. Nonetheless, we don’t have to live in constant fear or worry, feeling anxious, or overthinking. I think it is important to have these conversations and open up in any ways possible. Not only will it help ourselves, it’ll help others, too!
I hope I have provided some clarity and depth in regards to my personal anxiety struggles. For anyone reading, I want to share a quote and reminder that my therapist mentioned to me at my last session: “Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace” – Randy Armstrong.
Stay healthy and happy,
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