Anxiety is frustrating, stressful, and completely terrifying.
It steals the joy from your life and replaces it with fear. It doesn’t make sense, but recognizing its illogical nature doesn’t make it go away. As Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote,“Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.”
The longer we endure anxiety, the more powerful it can become. It grows inside of us. It learns what makes us tick. The most effective course of action is to seek treatment when it is new, small, and relatively manageable. Identifying it in the early stages, however, rarely happens. We tend not to treat problems in our mind with the same urgency with which we would treat those in our body.
If you suffer from chronic anxiety, it is important to get help right away.
Here are 20 signs you need to do that:
1. You struggle to focus. You have difficulty concentrating on things that are important to you.
2. You can’t seem to get a good night’s sleep. Your body is exhausted, but your mind remains restless.
3. You have started to depend on drugs or alcohol to calm your mood. You need them to get through the day.
4. You have very little patience. Things that didn’t used to bother you now seem unbearable.
5. You sweat much more than normal. You’re not sure how to make it stop.
6. You realize many of your fears are not rational. This makes you even more worried.
7. You avoid activities you would probably enjoy. You’re afraid you’ll embarrass yourself.
8. You crave sugar and carbohydrates much more than you used to. It’s more challenging than ever to stick with a healthy diet.
9. Your moods fluctuate wildly throughout the day. One minute you’re happy and calm, and the next you are overcome by fear.
10. You fear your friends and loved ones will leave you. They have shown no signs of doing so.
11. You engage in compulsive rituals. You do not feel right if you are somehow prevented from completing them.
12. You often find yourself feeling dizzy or short of breath. You may even experience chest pains or full-on panic attacks.
13. You lash out at loved ones. You feel terrible afterwards, because it isn’t like you to do that.
14. You experience flashbacks. These may involve serious traumas, or small events in which you felt ridiculed.
15. You feel that people are constantly judging you. You worry that you are falling short of their expectations.
16. Your stomach is not working properly. You may experience nausea, diarrhea, cramps, flatulence, or indigestion.
17. You are extremely tired, all the time. You feel as if your anxiety is sucking the life out of you.
18. You suffer from terrible headaches. They may be related to caffeine or alcohol, but most likely they are a result of stress.
19. Your muscles hurt. This is not related to illness or exercise – you’re just in pain.
20. You are a perfectionist. When your work is not flawless, you feel like a failure.
Many people fear getting help for anxiety. They worry that by acknowledging the problem, they are somehow making it more real. Thankfully, this is false. By confronting your anxiety, you are actually taking away much of its power. Fear grows in the dark. If you are afraid to get help, bring a trusted friend or family member with you. Trust that your life is about to change for the better. As Mandy Hale wrote,“It’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.”