Here it comes again; that heavy feeling in your chest, the sudden panic like you left your child in the grocery store, or you have forgotten something else that is very, very important. Trembling, crying, a wave of nausea, or the crushing weight of anticipation, fear, guilt, or grief. Many people don’t understand the severity of anxiety and panic disorders, but to the 40 million Americans adults who do understand, it can be a daily struggle.
According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are “highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment.” Statistics also report that anxiety stems from risk factors such as genetics, brain chemistry, personality and life events, and that anxiety is often paired with depression.
It may make you feel a bit better to know that you are one of millions suffering from anxiety, but it’s definitely not enough to solve the problem. Symptoms of anxiety aren’t alleviated by sympathy, even from the most well meaning friends and family members. If you suspect you are suffering from anxiety, recognizing the symptoms is your first step to receiving help. Symptoms may be different for everyone and may include physical symptoms as well as psychological. Buzzfeed offers a practical list of “24 Things Only Anxious People Will Understand.” Their list includes over thinking, questioning everything, insomnia, not being able to make decisions, and racing thoughts to name a few.
Once you recognize the symptoms, you can try to determine what causes them. Keep a journal to track episodes so that you can identify what triggers the episodes. Personal triggers may include holidays, relationships, financial stress, memories, work responsibilities, or any number of life events. Tracking your episodes can help you identify patterns and be very helpful to your attending physician.
You can practice anxiety relief techniques at home or on the go. Music, deep breathing, journaling, artwork, meditation, and exercise can all be very calming. But if the symptoms of anxiety begin to interfere with your ability to work, maintain social relationships with others, or your physical health, it’s time to seek professional help. Take the Anxiety Assessment on our Brookhaven Retreat website to help you determine if you may be one of the 40 million Americans who could benefit from professional help.