According to the American Psychological Association, adapted from the Encyclopedia of Psychology, Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.
What does that mean for me?
“Frustrating and overwhelming. Overthinking that ruins your mood and lots of things” (Age 14)
“It’s exhausting because no matter how hard you try to stay calm, it finds a way to take over every thought you have. It can destroy relationships due to overthinking” (Age 15)
“Feeling like everyone’s watching you and judging what you do” (Age 23)
“Unpredictable, Debilitating” (Age 39)
“Fear of the unknown, dread, uneasy and upsetting, stomach tinges” (Age 41)
“You feel like you have no control, overthink everything, can’t focus, pressure to say or do the right thing” (Age 46)
“It is anticipation, doubt, defeat, mistakes, sickness, the unknown, death, low self-esteem” (Age 76)
Anxiety is not specific to age, race, gender, social status or any other identifier. It can happen to anyone and happens to everyone at some point in some way. For some, it may just be the anxiety you get before a test or speaking in front of a group and it goes away once the task is complete. For others, it takes over their life and affects everything they endeavor to do. It is rooted in fear and, while some fears are specific and related to prior experience, sometimes it is just there and you do not know where it came from or why it exists in your life.
What can I do?
First, realize that seeking a complete cure is not realistic, but seeking to cope is possible and many resources are available to assist in developing the skills that work for you.
Second, seek to learn and believe the real truth about who you are and what you are capable of, based on the evidence that is there if you are willing to look for it and see it, and let that replace the maladaptive identity you have assumed was all you could be for so long.
Third, know that you are not alone and you are not weird or crazy or any other negative word that you may have used to describe yourself. Also know that there are people ready to help if you just ask. You do not have to stay in a place of fear. You can take back your control, you just have to take that first step.