Not Evident Symptoms of Anxiety
If you're someone who struggles with anxiety then you're already familiar with the really common well-known ways that it shows up in your life. Things like feeling fearful, worried, nervous a lot of the time. Or maybe it shows up physically with pounding chest, the lightheaded feeling, sweaty, the jittery, etc. Those are the really common and well-known ways.
However, there are also some less known symptoms that are really common as well, but we don't usually realize that they are tied to anxiety. The reason why I want to share these with you is that I was talking recently to one of my students who I'd been sharing this information with. And she said:" I had no idea that what I was struggling with was anxiety! I thought I was just struggling with stress and overwhelmed. But now understanding that the root of the issue is really anxiety, I know now that I can go forward and start doing things to deal with the anxiety.
Below you will find common but less known, or maybe even sneaky ways, that anxiety shows up in our lives.
1. Avoiding anxiety-provoking situations
That might seem obvious but a lot of the time avoiding situations that normally we'd like to be a part of, that we want to do. There's this fear, there's this worry we get in our heads. And we talk ourselves out of it.
Doing that and doing that regularly is rooted. It is often coming from anxiety.
We are talking about the things that maybe we want to be doing, but on are not, because we're feeling anxious, nervous or worried, maybe even unnecessarily worried about them.
2. Trying to be perfect and control everything
Oftentimes anxiety is rooted in a lack of control. When we feel like we don't have control over something, then we try to gain control to reduce the anxiety. Oftentimes what we do is we try to overcompensate for that by trying to over control a lot of things or almost everything. We are trying to be perfect, trying to come across like we have it all together like our lives are fully in order.
We are overwhelmed trying to control and appear or, at least, make it look like for other people to think we are perfect. It is all rooted in anxiety. There are a couple different types of general anxiety and perfectionism is one of them.
3. Multitasking or being frantically busy
If you're somebody who's always taking on a million things, always trying to do a million things, always running from one thing to the next you have an anxiety.
4. Not being able to start things
The number four is kind of different or maybe on the opposite end of being frantically busy. It is a state when your are not being able to start things.
Often if you're someone who struggles to get going, procrastinate or you put things off you avoid things that you want to be doing or you know you need to be doing but you just can't get yourself to start. Did you know that that is rooted in anxiety?
4. Unable to finish things
The next one is similar to previous when maybe you have no problem starting things but you just can't finish things. You're great at starting things but they get to a certain point and then you just kind of drop them or leave them. It's not because you don't really feel like doing it or you don't want to do it. You want to be finishing it, you want to be tying it up, it's hanging over your head, it's driving you crazy but you just can't seem to finish it.
If you have a lot of unfinished business, projects, other things in your life that feel like they're hanging over your head that is a symptom of anxiety.
5. Social withdrawal
You are avoiding situations you actually want to be a part of, things that you want to do, things that you want to have in your life. But even just the thought doing them makes you feel nervous. You end up probably spending a lot of time alone and closed off. But you're not doing it out of choice, you're doing it out of anxiety, out of fear. You don't feel like you can go out and do the things that you really want to be doing.
6. Getting overwhelmed or irritated really easily
If you're somebody who notices yourself just getting snappy, rude or irritated, chances are it's because you're feeling anxious. You've got this anxiety going on in your emotions or at the surface. And when the smallest of things comes in you've got no room to cope. You have some kind of disproportionate or unhelpful emotional reaction that later on, you end up feeling guilty about.
At the moment it just you get overwhelmed with this emotion and don't know how to cope.
7. Being hyper-vigilant
We are not talking about being diligent, prepared, careful and responsible. We are talking about being overly vigilant, overly nervous, overly careful, checking things several times, over preparing for certain situations.
Here we talk about being overly vigilant and trying to plan for every single thing that could happen. You are getting almost paralyzed in preparation mode or in planning mode. This state of mind is oftentimes rooted in anxiety.
If you're somebody who struggles with anxiety, you probably know this one really well. You either have a hard time falling asleep, or you fall asleep okay but then you wake up in the night and can't get back to sleep. Your thoughts start going or you just feel really awake but then the next day you're exhausted.
So, not being able to get good quality sleep is rooted in anxiety. It can often be rooted in depression, as well. However, usually, depression is when people struggle with oversleeping and not being able to get out of bed but not even actually having a good quality sleep. The anxiety is often not being able to sleep at all or at least not very much.
9. Unable to be alone
If you're somebody who gets really nervous or really uncomfortable they're ever alone either in social situations, or when they're out in their community or out at different events, it is a symptom of anxiety. Even if you have to have someone with you just going to the grocery store or even at home.
You just don't want to be alone at home. Though, there's a difference between liking having company and liking having people around and getting really fearful, nervous or scared when you are alone. Again, it is a symptom of anxiety.
10. Seeking reassurance
We are not talking about wanting to get praise and recognition, where praise and recognition are due. We are talking about being almost obsessed with needing reassurance.
Always checking like was this good enough, did I did do this okay, did I screw up, did I say something and offended someone, was that okay to do, was that okay to say, etc.
There is a fine line between wanting to be recognized and wanting to make sure that we haven't offended anyone and almost getting obsessed with it, getting stuck in our heads.
Those are common, but less known ways that anxiety shows up in our lives.
If you're experiencing any or many of these things that these are symptoms of anxiety.
The last one is a really important symptom because a lot of people deal it, is any kind of addiction or self-medicating.
People who take prescription drugs not as directed, people that are struggling with addiction issues like alcohol addiction, drug addiction, gambling all have anxiety symptoms.
Addiction is rarely just about the behaviour itself. It's oftentimes a way of coping with some kind of mental health struggle that is called concurrent disorders.
Usually, people who are struggling with addiction have a concurrent disorder. They're struggling with some kind of mental health struggle and using the substance or the addictive behaviour to avoid numb or cope with that deeper issue.