You’re probably familiar with the most severe anxiety disorders and anxiety related disorders. Generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, PTSD, social anxiety, OCD and so on. They, as a group, are one of the most common mental illnesses. In fact, 30% of Americans will experience an anxiety disorder at some time in their lives.
When I was diagnosed with anxiety last year, I was shocked. I thought that my constant worrying was due to depression. So much for “know thyself”.
Here are some more subtle signs that you may have anxiety of some kind.
- You’re always busy but can never seem to get things done. Poor time management, low productivity and difficulty prioritizing can be symptoms of anxiety.
- Catastrophizing — the technical term for thinking obsessively that something is worse than it really is — can be a sign of anxiety. It can be about external things or about yourself. (Think: I’ll never pass this test, then I’ll flunk out of school, then I’ll never get a job…)
- You’re easily startled. Anxiety sufferers can have a heightened startle response, particularly when they’re mentally stressed which means you’re likely to freak out at the slightest stimulation if you’re wrapped up in your own thoughts. This is so me.
- Tummy trouble– People often talk about stress manifesting in your stomach, and anxiety works the same. It can worsen symptoms of abdominal cramps and pain and make you feel sick to your stomach.
- It takes you longer than normal to recover from illness. Anxious people have a hard time slowing down and resting when they start to feel sick — what’s called “all-or-nothing behavior” — a condition like the stomach flu, which usually clears up quickly for non-anxious people can later become a serious, long-term illness.
- Perfectionism– This isn’t always anxiety, but if your perfectionism prevents you from trying new things because you’re afraid of failing, or causes you to avoid certain situations or tasks because you don’t want to make a mistake, it could indicate anxiety. Feelings of shame, inferiority, and constant self-criticism are all part of that perfectionism package.
- You’re often irritable. We all feel this from time to time. But feeling like you could go off at any second is another matter. the fight/flight/freeze response is heightened in anxiety sufferers, and, since ‘fight’ is another side to our ‘flight’ response…you may also find that you are more impatient and easily annoyed by others if you have anxiety. Feelings of rage, hatred, and revenge are common, too.
- You can’t make a decision. Getting way too emotionally invested in every decision you make can be a manifestation of anxiety. Especially if you are too worried about how your decision might affect others.
- You are often sick. Feeling rundown, having unexplained aches and pains, and experiencing frequent and chronic colds are all part of the anxiety roller coaster. Again, so me!
- You can’t sleep. If you’ve tried every kind of sleep hygiene tip you can find and still can’t sleep, it may be anxiety.
Do you see yourself in any of these traits? Which ones? Please comment below. Or use my Contact Me page and I promise to respond!
These points are not to be used for any kind of diagnosis. But if you have some of these tendencies, you might want to bring it up with your doctor or therapist.