Anxiety is extremely common. In fact, most people will experience some degree of anxiety throughout their lifetime. It’s a normal and healthy response to a range of stressful situations like public speaking, heights, and even test taking. It can, however, become disruptive and consuming and prevent you from enjoying life and the things you love.
We often associate symptoms like a racing heart, fearful out of control thoughts or shallow breathing with signs of anxiety, however, new research suggests that not everybody experiences anxiety the same way. There are several other signs of anxiety that you may not recognize.
Being aware of your mental health and how you personally experience anxiety is critical for making sure you stay balanced and healthy. We talked to a local expert, a Phoenix anxiety therapist, about the lesser known ways people experience anxiety and the importance of self care and here’s what we learned:
5 Less Known Symptoms of Anxiety
- Fatigue – Quite frankly, feeling tired all the time isn’t normal. Unfortunately, people who suffer from anxiety not only have difficulty falling or staying asleep, but often feel drained from having an unregulated nervous system and constant racing thoughts.
- Perfectionism – Overthinking is a common side effect of anxiety. Because of this, many people who suffer from anxiety stress about details and perfectionism. This can cause fixation, low self esteem, critical thought patterns, and performance anxiety.
- Hypervigilance – Refers to an overactive nervous system that’s always on high alert trying to anticipate the next threat. If you’re jumpy or easily startled, your nervous system may be stuck on high alert. This can lead to adrenal fatigue and other mental health issues.
- Stomach Aches – Digestive issues are common amongst people who suffer from anxiety. Many people feel like they hold stress in their gut and experience a lack of appetite or, they experience butterflies, nausea, diarrhea, or other guttural responses.
- Depersonalization – When circumstances are difficult and uncomfortable, it’s not uncommon for people to avoid reality. This is also called dissociation or depersonalisation. It essentially means, “checking out.” It’s a survival mechanism that kicks in when reality becomes uncontrollable and unbearable. This also includes “zoning out”.
Tips For Dealing With Anxiety
The first step is self-awareness. There’s a common saying in the mental health community, “you can’t heal what you can’t feel”. Without understanding your triggers, or how you personally experience anxiety, you can’t take the necessary steps to deal with it and cope.
Experts also suggest accepting how you feel. Instead of trying not to be anxious, many people focus on accepting their anxiety and changing their perspective and relationship with their experience.
And sometimes, you just need someone to talk to. Talking to an experienced and qualified anxiety therapist can help you develop better ways of coping with anxiety and changing your relationship with it. They can also offer support in helping you understand all the ways anxiety can be normal, healthy and even beneficial.
Infographic provided by MD Infusions, a Chicago ketamine clinic