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Sep 25

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The Many Faces of Anxiety

The Many Faces of Anxiety

The Many Faces of Anxiety

I suffer from Anxiety and the resulting disorders it presents itself with.  The word ‘anxiety’ reaches far beyond what many people would typically think. It’s common to feel anxious about something in life – whether it is positive or negative. But anxiety manifests itself in many varying degrees in your body and you show the symptoms.

Everyone has experienced some sort of anxiety in their lifetime. That’s part of being human.   But when anxiety lasts for a long time it will manifest itself in your body…..it shows itself.  I will not discuss the medical ways it shows itself here.   We can cover that in another post.   If you are experiencing anxiety,  It will show itself in mental health disorders.  It helps to know how anxiety manifests itself in you, so that you can find the proper treatment.  I highly suggest that you seek out a mental health professional if you should show the symptoms of what is described below.  Your life will be greatly improved if you seek mental health treatment.  There is no need to suffer.  Below are general descriptions of how anxiety may be seen in yourself or others.  These are some of the diagnostic terms used for the faces of anxiety.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Commonly called GAD, this type of anxiety involves a sense of things being out of proportion. You feel things are ‘bigger’ than they are. Your worry is excessive and uncontrollable. Things that most people consider to be a part of everyday living are much more drastic and overwhelming for someone with GAD.  They think everything bad is going to happen to them.

Panic Attacks

This type of anxiety typically comes on suddenly. The panic attack may last for minutes or hours. A panic attack may be characterized as periods of intense fear or apprehension. It may feel like a heart attack or a nervous breakdown. There can be a feeling of being trapped and wanting to escape. If panic attacks occur on a regular basis, they are then deemed to be a symptom of a panic disorder.   I suffer from this and only medication keeps it from returning.  Still yet, if I am extremely stressed,  my medication can not handle it and I will get a panic attack.  I can get one from intense exercise or doing a long day of hard garden work even.  I also am sometimes woken up from a dead sleep…with one.   When they present for me, I can be unable to speak and  even not know where I am.   Or I can just be so extremely anxious that I think I will die.  Even realizing what they are when they occur, I feel like I am dying or having a nervous breakdown.  I need medication for them to go away.  But each person is different how they present.

Worry

When we rehash an unpleasant outcome of a particular event, that is what we call worrying. It is based upon mental thoughts and images about what might happen. This can be both real and imagined events. Technically, a little amount of worry is common and even helpful. Worry becomes a problem when it dominates our thoughts or prevents us from living a normal life, including taking normal risks.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

This type of anxiety became well known as a result of the increased number of military personnel put in circumstances that cause psychological trauma. An event that puts someone in harm’s way, and/or traumatizes a person’s mental or emotional well-being, could impair the mind’s ability to cope with even normal situations. Think of the brain as being on high-alert at all times. Typical symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, anger, depression, and sleep disorders.

Social Anxiety / Social Phobia

Socializing may be fun for most, but for someone with social anxiety or a social phobia, the thought of being with others in terrifying. A heightened sense of worry occurs when the thought of going to an event or being with friends can cause extreme panic, often causing the person to cancel events or planned trips. This type of anxiety is a downward spiral – isolation creates low self-esteem and doubt, and low self-esteem and doubt creates isolation, and on and on.

Depression

This is probably one of the most misunderstood part of anxiety. Depression is not something we typically see as being anxiety-related. Seen often as simply a period of time when we feel “in the dumps,” depression is in fact a time when our mind and body have suppressed feelings and emotions. It is what happens during these times that can cause our anxiety to rise. During times of depression, we can have negative thoughts and feel fear toward things that may not have bothered us before. When these thoughts and fears start to escalate, our anxiety begins to climb.

Don’t stuff your emotions!   If you have gone through a huge event, talk about it, cry about it, deal with it in some way.  If you stuff your emotions and don’t deal with them you are much more likely to have problems in later life with depression.

Depression can also be caused by a lack of seratonin and some medications to increase that level may be all this required.  With others other neuro chemicals may be inadequate or in overabundance.   And sometimes it is just not known what causes depression and various treatments will be tried.

Hypochondria

With this type of anxiety, a person has only one focus: their health. The slightest physical symptom can manifest itself in the hypochondriac’s mind to be a major concern. A small bump on the leg can be no less than a cancerous tumor. Blurred vision is nothing short of total blindness. This type of anxiety, left untreated, can consume a person’s life to the point of disability, even to the extent of becoming a self-fulfilled prophecy.

As you can see, there is a vast array of anxieties. If you think you or someone you know fits one or more of these categories, be sure to consult your physician. Getting professional help is the first step to recovery.

*Disclaimer:  Please note every effort has been made to include accurate information, but further research and the advice of a physician is highly recommended before starting any of the anxiety management ideas listed.

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11 comments

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  1. 1
    Natalie

    Anxiety certainly comes in many forms.

  2. 2
    lostlenore1970

    I have pretty bad social anxiety which may be part of my bipolar disorder. No one can know how miserable panic attacks and PTSD can be unless they’ve lived with them.

  3. 3
    Susie Wilkinson

    I had suffered with depression and anxiety since I was a child, over 30 years now, and it’s very misunderstood. I’ve lost count of the people who’ve said that there’s nothing wrong with me and I’m just using excuses to get out of doing things. I’ve learn to cover my emotions very well, if anything, being over-happy to compensate so I’m always life and soul of any party, but inside I’m usually dying and looking for an escape and have to take trips to the loo to have a cry. It’s so difficult because there’s nothing physical for people to see, when I broke my leg I got sympathy from everyone, but I’d rather have kept that and got rid of the mental health problems, much easier to cope with!

  4. 4
    Rosie

    This is good information. I was just reading about geriatric pets they can start suffering from anxiety, that is typically due to something else that they can’t tell you (ie, it can also be a symptom and not just its own malady, not sure if that can be true for people, too)

    1. 4.1
      Colleen

      I’ve never thought about that Rosie…

  5. 5
    Kristyn A

    I’m glad there is an easy to understand, thoughtful list of the different types of anxiety presentations; a lot of people just don’t understand it, unfortunately. It’s also nice that you added some of your personal experiences as everyone can be different and it’s important to remember that.

    1. 5.1
      Colleen

      Thanks for your comments Kristyn.

  6. 6
    BRANDI DAWN

    Anxiety is a very exhausting condition. I have recently discovered that in reference to the hypochondria aspect of it, I have become sort of an anti-hypochondriac. This is, of course, only in action. I still have all the same thoughts running through my head but in fear of being seen as a hypochondriac, I have neglected a lot of potentially important medial/dental visits. I am recognizing this now, so am on the right path to remedying the situation. But I thought it was an interesting concept to share.

    1. 6.1
      Colleen

      Thanks for sharing Brandi..yes worrying about being a hypochondriac is something that is a different concept. It’s good you are recognizing this now.

  7. 7
    clojo9372

    I had anxiety issues since I was a child. It’s made being around people outside of my immediate family an absolute nightmare. I live in a constant state of fear and worry that had debilitated my life for so long. It’s only the past several years that I realized that I wasn’t the odd woman out. There are so many people out there who’s experienced what i have and actually get it. I’m really not alone. It’s nice to know that now. I wish I knew that when I was younger though, maybe I could have gotten help sooner.

    1. 7.1
      Colleen

      I am so glad you know more about it and it sounds like you have gotten help. Glad you are doing better.

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