Anxiety can be a blanket term used to describe everyday worries or the nerves associated with specific events, such as public speaking. It’s something we have experienced at some point in our lives. Webster defines it as:
“worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.”
In today’s world, and especially in the wake of a global pandemic, there’s been no shortage of things for us to “worry about” or feel “uneasy” about. It could be argued that anyone who hasn’t experienced more anxiety lately has their head buried in the sand. But when is anxiety itself something to worry about? How do we know when it’s time to seek professional help?
The answer to that question is the degree to which one’s everyday life is impacted. In the clinical use of the word, people who struggle with anxiety suffer from intense, excessive, and persistent worry, fear that’s described as terror and that might escalate into full-blown panic. This level of anxiety begins to interfere with one’s functioning and daily activities.
Our team of licensed professionals at Simi Psychological Group is here to help. We work to help those who struggle with anxiety manage and cope with their symptoms and allow them to get back to living their lives. Click here to learn more about our practice. As the leading anxiety therapists in the Moorpark area, our team has comprised some of the most common indications that it’s time to get professional help for your anxiety:
- It’s interfering with your relationships
- You’re not sleeping well at all
- You just can’t concentrate on anything anymore
- You’re no longer doing the things you used to enjoy
- You’re having physical symptoms
- You’re starting to feel a sense of worthlessness or despair
- You’re feeling isolated from others
- You’re struggling with thoughts of self-harm
- Your anxiety has persisted for more than six months
- You just want some help
This list is not exhaustive, and there’s also no minimum or maximum you need to check off to seek support. It’s just a guideline.
Anxiety can significantly impact your quality of life when it starts taking over. You’re more likely to cancel plans with friends or even miss work or school when you struggle with severe anxiety.
Having a panic attack – feeling dizzy, like you can’t breathe, like the walls are closing in on you, or you’re going to faint– just as you’re about to meet your partner for lunch or head into a business meeting is a terrible experience. And if it’s happened once, you then start to worry that it will happen again, which may increase the likelihood.
So what do you do? You pull back. You cancel plans. You avoid what you can. This is one way that anxiety can impact personal and professional relationships and responsibilities.
Anxiety also creates sleep issues. Most often, it interrupts sleep. You can’t fall asleep because you can’t turn off your brain. You can’t stop thinking about the conversation you had earlier that day. “Did I sound ridiculous? I can’t believe I said that. They must think I’m an idiot.” Or, you’re worried about the project due next week, your nephew going off to college soon, the stock market, the sniffle you heard from your child at dinner, your aging parent, etc., etc.
How can you relax and sleep when your brain goes a mile a minute? If you do manage to sleep, it’s restless and fitful. You wake up exhausted. Rinse and repeat.
When anxiety takes over, it makes it difficult to focus on anything else. You can’t concentrate. You just keep worrying and overthinking, or the knot in your stomach just won’t go away. How can you concentrate when you’re overcome with feelings of dread but can’t say why?
Are you avoiding the things you used to love doing? Suddenly, book club just seems overwhelming. You can’t bring yourself to go. Or you feel too anxious about driving to go visit your friend. You used to be so active, but lately, you are finding it harder to leave the house. And you’re exhausted, so the idea of pulling out your favorite activities just falls flat.
Anxiety is also felt and experienced in the body. We carry our stress and tension so frequently anxiety shows up as ongoing stomach aches, headaches, or body aches. We might struggle with indigestion or bladder/bowel issues as a result. Whenever these physical issues come up repeatedly, it’s essential to check them out.
Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or even despair go hand in hand with clinical anxiety. You’re feeling overwhelmed, stuck, sometimes “crazy” (you’re not crazy, by the way), and helpless. You might be asking yourself, “what’s wrong with me?” and judging yourself mercilessly. Anxiety can have a crippling effect on one’s overall mental health and well-being. As these feelings intensify, you begin to feel more and more isolated. You can’t seem to “get it together,” and you just don’t know what to do or who to turn to. In dark moments, you may even begin to have thoughts of self-harm. You just want this pain to end.
Know that there is help available. Anxiety therapy is a prevalent issue, and mental health professionals can provide information, resources, strategies, and compassionate support to help see you through it.
If you find that you relate to any of these symptoms, especially if you are struggling with thoughts of self-harm, reach out to our team at Simi Psychological Group. Our team of professionals is here to help you manage and learn to cope with your anxiety. To learn more about our anxiety therapy services, contact our team of therapists in Moorpark call (805) 842-1994.