Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. While stress and anxious feelings are a common response to a situation where we feel under pressure, they usually pass once the stressful situation has passed, or ‘stressor’ is removed.
Anxiety is when these anxious feelings don’t go away – when they’re ongoing and happen without any particular reason or cause. It’s a serious condition that makes it hard to cope with daily life. Everyone feels anxious from time to time, but for someone experiencing anxiety, these feelings aren’t easily controlled.
Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia. On average, one in four people – one in three women and one in ﬁve men – will experience anxiety at some stage in their life. In a 12-month period, over two million Australians experience anxiety. Anxiety is common, but the sooner people with anxiety get help, the more likely they are to recover.
What causes anxiety?
An anxiety condition isn’t developed or caused by a single factor but a combination of things. A number of other factors play a role, including personality factors, difficult life experiences and physical health.
Family history of mental health conditions
Some people who experience anxiety conditions may have a genetic predisposition towards anxiety and these conditions can sometimes run in a family. However, having a parent or close relative experience anxiety or other mental health condition doesn’t mean you’ll automatically develop anxiety.
Research suggests that people with certain personality traits are more likely to have anxiety. For example, children who are perfectionists, easily flustered, timid, inhibited, lack self-esteem or want to control everything, sometimes develop anxiety during childhood, adolescence or as adults.
Ongoing stressful events
Anxiety conditions may develop because of one or more stressful life events. Common triggers include:
- work stress or job change
- change in living arrangements
- pregnancy and giving birth
- family and relationship problems
- major emotional shock following a stressful or traumatic event
- verbal, sexual, physical or emotional abuse or trauma
- death or loss of a loved one.
- Physical health problems
- Chronic physical illness can also contribute to anxiety conditions or impact on the treatment of either the anxiety or the physical illness itself. Common chronic conditions associated with anxiety conditions include:
- hypertension and heart disease
Some physical conditions can mimic anxiety conditions, like an overactive thyroid. It can be useful to see a doctor and be assessed to determine whether there may be a medical cause for your feelings of anxiety.
Other mental health conditions
While some people may experience an anxiety condition on its own, others may experience multiple anxiety conditions or other mental health conditions. Depression and anxiety conditions often occur together. It’s important to check for and get assistance for all these conditions at the same time.
Some people who experience anxiety may use alcohol or other drugs to help them manage their condition. In some cases, this may lead to people developing a substance use problem along with their anxiety condition. Alcohol and substance use can aggravate anxiety conditions particularly as the effects of the substance wear off. It’s important to check for and get assistance for any substance use conditions at the same time.
Everyone’s different and it’s often a combination of factors that can contribute to developing an anxiety condition. It’s important to remember that you can’t always identify the cause of anxiety or change difficult circumstances. The most important thing is to recognise the signs and symptoms and seek advice and support
I read Matt from survivingmypast.net blog ANXIETY TRIES TO KEEP YOU FROM STARTING YOUR HEALING JOURNEY. today and found it beneficial on anxiety and ways to manage it. Read on………
“If anxiety has its way, it will keep you from doing anything on your own behalf. It wants to keep you from reaching out for help, it wants to keep you isolated and alone, it wants you to catastrophize everything, and along with many other tricks, it always wants you to think that you can’t handle something.
Even a situation seemingly minor as going to the grocery store or making a decision about dinner can become a full-blown panic attack. If anxiety tries to rule us in those smaller things, imagine what it can do for bigger decisions. Buying a home or car, deciding to take a big trip, a new relationship decision, things like this are indeed important and deserve considerable thought to come to a healthy resolution.
However, there’s a fine line between giving a decision it’s just time in our heads and letting anxiety take over to point where you just end up forgetting about it completely because it’s too hard, and because you can’t handle it. That’s where it gets you; you just give up because the fear of failure is so great, or the possibility of something not going completely perfect is so loud in our minds that we’d rather just not try.
It’s easier that way, right? We save ourselves from suffering if we just don’t try. Hang on to that thought, we’ll come back to it.
We could go on and on talking about ways that anxiety tries to keep us from trying something or making a decision on our own behalf, but since this Surviving My Past, let’s look at it from the survivor perspective. How does it try to keep you from starting your healing journey?
It’s no secret that embarking on a healing journey can be intimidating. The fear of the unknown, the fear of advocating for ourselves, the fear of putting ourselves first, and of being vulnerable. All of these things can be used by anxiety to keep us from ever getting off the starting.
Let’s not minimise those feelings though, after all, they are real. As survivors we were groomed to feel like we were nothing, we wouldn’t amount to anything, and we have no chance at a “normal” life. Our self-esteem was shot to hell before we ever even knew what self-esteem was. Confidence, self-respect, healthy boundaries, yep those may very well have been erased before they ever had a chance to form.
That’s what an abuser does, and that’s what the acts of abuse do. They take everything good, wholesome, and innocent in our lives and turn it into something twisted, backwards, and self-invalidating.
On top of all that, it wasn’t like someone was going to come rescue us. We were on our own, either because we had no one else or because those who should have been coming to rescue us were part of the abuse acts themselves. Talk about feeling hopeless and helpless!
With all of those things working against us, it’s no wonder that anxiety has a field day at our own expense when we start contemplating the thought of working through our past. Or if we’ve already started but have come up on a rough stretch, all of those past fears and invalidations come roaring back to try to make us quit.
What if I fail?
What if it’s too hard?
What if I can’t handle it?
What will my family think, my friends, children, or coworkers?
All of those questions get blown so far out of proportion and each takes on a mind of its own. Suddenly we’re so overwhelmed that we figure, “what’s the use, I can’t do it”!
That’s exactly what anxiety wants you to think. That’s what those who abused you want you to think. That’s what the abusive acts themselves want you to think, that you just simply aren’t worth the trouble.
The fact is, and yes friends it’s a fact…You Are Worth It.
You owe it to yourself to put YOU first and reach out for help. You owe it to the life you want, whatever that is for you, and to stop letting your past keep you stuck. To stop letting it keep you from reaching the goals you have; things that you’ve always dreamed about but never thought you could handle.
This mindset goes far beyond dreams of making millions of dollars, living in a mansion on the beach, and owning 5 cars. I’m talking about:
Being able to wake up each day and embracing what’s ahead instead of fearing it.
No longer being afraid to go out for a night on the town.
Have the confidence to go back to school and get that degree, or apply for that new position at your job.
Having the confidence to know that you survived the trauma of abuse, but you aren’t letting your past define your future.
If you listen to the lies that keep you from healing, anxiety uses that make you think that you are better off not trying so you avoid any potential suffering. The problem with that is, you are suffering now and it’s gotten you nowhere fast right?
Anxiety has no right to keep you from calling that therapist or coach, or to keep you from joining that support group or online chat. It has no right to keep you from taking back your life and no longer living in a mindset of self-defeat.
Is this your healing journey going to be easy?…No, of course not. Nothing in life worth having comes easy, especially when it pertains to doing something healthy for ourselves. It will be trying, frustrating, confusing, and bring up things that you have pushed aside for years, or even decades. You may encounter resistance from those who don’t understand, and question why you are putting yourself through all of this.
The thing to remember is, you are doing it for yourself Because You Are Worth It.
You will reap the benefits of that hard work, and in time begin to uncover a whole new You! A you that knows the value of yourself and the value of what it means to be a Survivor who isn’t letting their past rule their future any longer!