The Anxious Mind: How Do I know if I Have an Anxiety Disorder?
Behind the closed doors of a therapist's office, everyone usually has similar questions: “How do I quiet my anxious feelings”, “Why do I feel anxious for no reason”, or “Are my thoughts really just thoughts”? Mostly, they focus on wanting to feel like they are not “crazy” and what they are feeling is “natural or normal”. A common question is “Am I just stressed or is this diagnosable anxiety?”. While everyone has experienced anxiety, and it is a normal response to life stressors, the real question is: when do you need to see a therapist? The answer: don’t wait until it is feeling out of control. Getting in to see an anxiety therapist (or simply a therapist who specializes in anxiety) sooner rather than later will keep you from some future hardships that untreated anxiety may cause. And please know - the nation has felt a major uptick in anxiety (especially social anxiety that has gone untreated) this past year. It is very common AND it is time to get real about it.
You see, the real issue is believing that you are alone. I am here to encourage you that you indeed are not alone. You are not your anxiety. You can, with guidance, stop your negative thoughts and grow to understand that you are much more than your anxiety. Anxiety is in your body, not your mind.
Let's look at some signs that you may have that are more than your usual anxiety. Here are 11 questions to help you decide where you are at with your anxiety. Please be honest with yourself in the answers.
*Is my anxiety disrupting my daily functions?
*Am I finding it difficult to focus and concentrate?
*Do I have obsessive thoughts that are hard to control?
*Has my worry become larger than the original stressor?
*Has my anxiety occurred most days for the past 6 months?
*Does my body feel agitated? (Racing heart, sweaty hands, jittery, heightened senses, shaky, dry mouth).
*Do I feel restless? - “on edge” or “have an uncomfortable urge to move”
*Am I irritable?
*Do I notice my muscles are tense a lot?
*Do I have trouble falling or staying asleep?
*Am I avoiding social situations?
If you answered yes to more than 2 or 3 of these questions OR if you just don’t like how stress has changed your life, now is the time to talk to a licensed anxiety and depression professional who is skilled at getting beneath the surface. Sometimes our thoughts and worries are rooted in deeper, lying, negative beliefs and thinking patterns. Sometimes they are rooted in past experiences. Sometimes they are just situational. But because of their build up over time, our coping skills with anxiety can become fried and we just aren’t able to deal as well as we did before.
However, hope is on the horizon!
Did you know that anxiety is one of the most common things that people see quick results after just a few weeks of counseling? Your specialized therapist will help by addressing what may be causing your suppressed anxiety and fueling the anxious and panicky feelings.