5 big signs you have anxiety lurking
Did you know that you can have anxiety but not realise it? Some people suffer in only one or two ways, while others suffer from many more symptoms. Some will have experienced anxiety all their lives and never even know it! Others will be fine until some big change or trauma happens, like grief, then it hits them and remains.
I’ve had anxiety all my life, but didn’t really know it. I thought everyone else was the same as me – worrying all the time. It took me to the age of 40 to start to realise what I was experiencing. Here are five big signs you have anxiety lurking.
Five big signs you have anxiety
1. You suffer from panic attacks
But do you know what a panic attack really is? Most of us will experience one in our lifetime, but we might not realise at the time what it is.
Many believe they are having a heart attack. The feeling is sudden and appears out of nowhere. It can happen when you think you’re having a good day too! So there you are, walking along without a care in the world and BAM! Suddenly you feel your heart fluttering with palpitations, you go dizzy and may start to shake. Feeling light-headed, you’ll sit down and wait for the feeling to pass. But that was scary! You’ll feel tired afterwards too, as your body recovers.
That’s one way you can experience a panic attack, but there are others too. You might feel your pulse quickening and start to feel hot. Your stomach might tense up. Whatever your experience, your body is trying to tell you something – ‘I don’t feel safe’. Your body is experiencing anxiety and it’s trying to tell you to stop and notice.
2. You’re an overthinker
Not just that you overthink, but that it controls you. It wakes you up in the night or stops you from falling asleep. The thoughts are racing, so many, seemingly all at once. Fleeting from one concern to another…
- Did I leave the straighteners plugged in?
- Will my son be OK crossing the road today?
- I need to book a dentist appointment soon.
- We have a holiday soon so we need to go shopping.
- Where am I going to get the money for that?
All these thoughts in just one minute. Overthinking is said to be a sign of intelligence, so I guess you can flatter yourself with that thought. But it doesn’t help much! To switch off your overthinking mind, you might try to focus on something else, maybe pour yourself a glass of wine. Eventually, after a few glasses, the thoughts stop and you feel all calm and relaxed. Bliss!
Until about 3am. When the anxiety wakes you up and the thoughts come flooding back. Maybe with a few heart palpitations to go with it. Overthinking is your mind telling you that it feels anxious. Out of control. It can’t understand the difference between the threat of a lion chasing you and those bills you need to pay.
3. You feel the need to escape because you’re overwhelmed
If your life is full to the brim of responsibilities for other people, it’s common to feel overwhelmed. But it shouldn’t get to the stage where you feel the need to escape. There’s only so much we can do in a day. But for some reason, some of us like to think we’re superwoman/superman and can keep adding and adding tasks to our day, with no time for rest. If your schedule is full of tasks and you feel like your life is one endless ‘to do’ list, it’s common for overwhelm to occur.
As humans we need work, rest and play, remember? (Or was that chocolate?) Rest doesn’t just mean sleep! It means being awake and resting too! Play means doing things you love, not just playing with the kids.
When you’re overwhelmed, anxiety is lurking. It’s whispering ‘run, get away, quickly!’ That’s where the need to escape comes from.
4. You’re a people pleaser
Yes, you guessed it! Saying yes to everyone, all the time is an indication you’re a people pleaser. And anxiety falls easily onto people pleasers. Trying to accommodate everyone, all the time means you’re likely to be putting yourself and your needs last. Sound familiar?
There are givers and takers in life and we should all be both. Not a giver all the time. Not a taker all the time either. But some people will know that if they ask you, you’ll say yes. So guess who they’ll ask first?
Trying to please everyone puts such a huge pressure on your emotional well-being. So anxiety pops up when it gets too much, to tell you to stop!
5. You don’t feel good enough
This is something lots of people feel, but don’t want to admit. Feeling like you’re not worthy, not good enough, like you don’t deserve to be happy. Every little thing you do that you’re ashamed of adds up. Until you feel somehow like you’re a bad person, not worthy of love, respect and happiness.
It could be just one thing, one mistake that you keep beating yourself up about. Or lots of little ones. Maybe you feel ashamed because you have a short fuse and you get angry easily? So you shout at people.
Whatever these things are, mistakes make us human. It’s OK to make mistakes! But instead of blaming yourself for being a bad person, try to see these as little lessons. So when you do make a mistake, figure out why it happened, so you can prevent it from happening again. Anxiety is often found in those who don’t feel good enough. But they just don’t know it.
So now you’ve learned five big signs you have anxiety lurking. Can we really overcome anxiety? We can certainly put tools in place to stop it from taking over our lives. Anxiety does have a role to play in keeping us safe. But it shouldn’t be controlling our lives 24/7. When it builds up and up, eventually it will lead to burnout. Your body and mind will say ‘enough!’ That’s what happened to me.
There are lots of ways to reduce anxiety. By reading this, you’ve just taken the first step. Now you know you may have it.
Once you know, you can find the tools that suit you and your lifestyle to overcome it. So that you’re no longer feeling overwhelmed, suffering from panic attacks, people-pleasing and waking in the night to anxious overthinking. You can even learn to love yourself. Deep down you know that you are more than enough. You deserve happiness.
So what now? Go off and do some more research. But before you do, let me tell you something. Anxiety no longer rules me. It took me 40 years to get there! The biggest help to reducing my anxiety was hypnotherapy. Now I use tools that suit me, to help me keep it at bay. And I can help you too.