Anxiety is difficult to understand for those who have not truly experienced it. Even our closest loved ones can have a difficult time comprehending the feelings and episodes we often have.
Anxiety gives no gifts. It gives no pat on the back or a ‘job well done.’
This list of eight things that anxiety gives to those who suffer from it is by no means all-inclusive, as anxiety can affect different people different ways. These are a few things that I have noticeably experienced and/or have increasingly noticed in other blog posts.
Doubting ourselves. Doubting our decisions. Second guessing each and every thing we do. Doubting your abilities.
We can have flashbacks to some of our most painful memories, at any given time. Painful memories are difficult for anyone, but even the good memories can be hard for someone with anxiety. They easily bring tears to our eyes and make us wish so desperately that we could step into a time machine, turn back time, and re-live them. I have found myself many times pleading with God to let me re-live some wonderful memories again. I sometimes plead so desperately to have back people that I have lost. All because of an unwarranted trip down memory lane.
Deja vu is a common experience. Certain places, people, music, items, words, etc. can bring an onslaught of flashbacks. We are going about our daily lives, then all of a sudden our brain decides to reach deep into the filing cabinet and bring out a memory to thrust in our face. Sometimes the memories are so strong we find ourselves leaving the present and re-joining the past. We can almost hear, smell, and feel the exact same things we felt back then.
3) Unnecessary Fears
We know our fears are unnecessary and sometimes unreasonable. We don’t want them, but we’re still stuck with them. Even the simplest, most ordinary things to most people can be another fear to anxious people.
Everyone is worried at some point in time in their lives. Worrying about having enough money. Worry about our car breaking down. Worry about people in our lives getting sick or hurt. Worrying about an upcoming event like a test, a doctor’s appointment, a speech, etc. Worry is a part of human nature. The Bible speaks about worry:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
God is bigger than all my worries and fears; I know that. Sometimes, however, I forget. I let the worry consume my being. I feel my stomach twist into knots. I bite my nails nervously. I chew on the insides of my cheeks and my lips until they bleed. I pace around the room…
Though I still never seem to accomplish anything to help me combat it.
We lay awake late at night with our minds racing. Anxiety does not know the concept of bedtime.
6) Physical Symptoms
Headaches. Stomach upset. Fatigue. Muscle aches. Anxiety often makes our bodies feel like they are covered in heavy weights. It feels like someone is taking our stomachs in their hands and twisting as hard as they can. It feels like a hammer is pounding on our head and in our heart. And then we worry because we think something is very wrong with us. It’s a never ending circle.
Sometimes the anxiety can even cause issues beyond minor annoyances. We develop real diseases. We’re more likely to have high blood pressure or heart issues, among other things.
7) Misunderstandings and strained relationships
Not everyone understands our anxiety. Can you blame them? It is difficult to understand unless you have experienced it yourself. The way we often stare into space or worry is often too much for those around us. They grow tired of hearing us spout our constant worries. They do not always know how to help us when we go into panic. They do not know how to reassure us. Sometimes they can even make things worse without even knowing it.
Depression and anxiety sometimes go hand-in-hand. Some of us are unlucky enough to experience both. It’s like feeling completely hopeless and then worrying about how hopeless you are feeling.
Can you think of anything that could be added to this list?