This post is a love letter to anyone feeling anxious. It could be that yes, you have faced challenges in your life, but it seems like your reaction is out of proportion. Others seem to be coping fine and you feel like a loser because you can’t keep up.
Hints that this has been brewing for a while
Often, the (metaphorical) alarm has been shrieking, trying to capture our attention and alert us, but instead of taking action, we hit snooze. We hope that if we ignore the signs that we are finding life tough that they might just disappear.
Perhaps you have just recently been diagnosed with anxiety, or maybe you’ve wrestled with it all your life. I’ve had clients come to me with symptoms like panic attacks, vomiting and days spent crying in bed. Some of them can point to stressful situations that led to the onset of their pain. Others are at a loss to explain what’s going on and why. This just adds to the confusion and panic.
Remember that alarm I talked about earlier? It expresses itself differently for everyone. The good news is that once you recognise your unique signals you can act faster from now on. Read this post for tips on what you can do to start feeling better.
Some people get really tearful (and not because they’ve just watched E.T.). Others experience lots of physical symptoms, like migraines, muscle tension or shaking. It might be that your besties or your family comment that you have been acting differently lately, or it could be that your mind is racing and you find it difficult to “switch off”.
I have seen clients experience relief and begin to feel better once they understand some of the root causes of their pain. I want to help you to understand why your anxiety is manifesting and why it suddenly seems to be getting out of hand:
You don’t have to justify your anxiety to anyone.
I’ve worked with clients who feel guilty for feeling anxious when they can’t pinpoint a definitive trigger. They feel like they should be able to cope. This post is for anyone who feels like they aren’t entitled to feel anxious, who can’t explain why all of a sudden their world is caving in.
Anxiety can be a delayed reaction to traumatic experiences. Maybe you seemed to get through a difficult time unscathed, but now you are inwardly collapsing. Have you ever taken a step back and looked at your life holistically? It can help you to have more self-compassion and understand your pressure points.
But WHY have I been feeling anxious?
- Think about your childhood messaging. Were the adults in your life cautious and overprotective? Perhaps they experienced anxiety themselves? Or maybe you grew up in a chaotic household where you felt destabilised?
- Personality and genetic factors can predispose us to anxiety. If you are an introvert and/or HSP you may be more likely to experience anxiety.
- Have you experienced major change? (Even positive changes can have a significant impact). How do you tend to adapt to new circumstances? Have you been feeling overstimulated lately?
- Think about the life events that you have experienced. There may be unresolved trauma buried deep. You don’t have to just “suck it up”. Unexpected events in particular can really destabilise us. Bereavement, loss, workplace bullying, relationship difficulties etc. can shatter our sense of security.
- Issues we can’t control like political instability and social unrest can lead to deep-seated unease.
- Our frenetic lifestyles and the emphasis on more/better/faster, coupled with the “perfect” images carefully curated by others on social media can leave us feeling under pressure.
- Lack of self-care can compound anxiety.
Acknowledge your anxious feelings
When we try to discount or minimise our anxiety it has a funny way of manifesting itself anyway. Download the checklist to figure out how you can tell when things are beginning to spiral for you.