People always ask me how to know if you have anxiety.
I never really know how to answer that question because truth is, anxiety feels & looks different for everyone. Two people can suffer from the same anxiety disorder in completely different ways.
Sometimes, my anxiety even feels & looks different to me from one day or hour to the next.
Some days, it’s raging. I feel like I’m fighting to come up for air. I have no control over my demeanour & I can’t keep my composure. My thoughts are scattered, my mind is racing & I feel a constant need to be busy & moving.
Other days, it’s subdued. It’s there but I don’t feel it as much. I feel in control of my thoughts & I’m better able to manage the way I react & behave. My thoughts are never FULLY in order but they’re not as disordered & I find comfort in relaxation & in not needing to be constantly occupied.
The worst part? These two extremes sometimes happen from one day to the next & sometimes, I can experience any & all those emotions in just one day! This is the reality of having anxiety & it’s what makes it so hard for me to pinpoint standards or criteria by which you can judge if it’s something you deal with.
Reality is you’re the best judge of how you feel. Your anxiety or what you perceive as anxiety isn’t diminished or less worthy of somebody else’s anxiety, even if it doesn’t fit a definition or fall into identified symptoms. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
My quick answer to this common question is that you might have anxiety if you often get the feeling that something more powerful than you is weighing on your mind & feels like it’s burdening your life.
That feeling can come once or three times a week, once a day or more times than you can count in a day or hour. But anxiety isn’t about that. It’s not so much about the frequency of the attacks but more so about the intensity & how much you feel they have an impact on your ability to function & perform regular daily tasks. The rest is up to you.
Next time you question the way you’re feeling & whether it falls within what society defines as anxiety, let go of the traditional definition & CREATE YOUR OWN. Then, find YOUR BEST WAY to cope with it.