Anxiety can wear many hats.

Everyone thinks of anxiety as excessive, irrational worry and dread of everyday situations. What many don’t realize is it can show up in our lives in so many other ways. The WHO estimates that 1 in 13 people with have anxiety disorder. It can show up as agitation, restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, or irritability. You can have trouble falling or staying asleep. Most people will say that they have trouble “turning off their brain.” Restlessness is a common presentation among teens.

People with anxiety may avoid social situations for fear of being judged by others. They may be driven by a fear of embarrassment in a public situation. In children, constant anxiety can make them feel like they are worthless. They may not excel academically. This also can often lead to depression as a result, making the diagnosis and treatment even more difficult. Children also may not have the language to express their emotions. So, they will say their stomach hurts, have meltdowns, or try for perfection.

What I find most important to recognize is that there is a brand of high functioning anxiety. These patients seem like they have their life together. They excel but it is at a very high price that most people don’t see. They over-rehearse every conversation so they are prepared. The worst-case scenario is the first thing they think of when planning. They can exhibit many compulsive behaviors because they are trying to control their lives to avoid surprises that trigger the panic. These patients too have anxiety and it can be just as exhausting on their emotional well-being. They often weather this storm alone because people don’t realize how much they are carrying on their shoulders.

Our world today is not helping any of these feelings. You are best to surround yourself with loving friends and family. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is not weakness. We cannot get through life alone. Exercise can help with stress, anxiety, and depression. Use your relaxation tools and seek help from a counselor when the tools are not enough. Remember above all else that you are not alone.

About Alison


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