Five Anxiety Facts that Help You Understand Yourself
Thursday, March 22 2018 Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC
Anxiety facts can help with one of the most maddening things about anxiety. That is, anxiety makes you feel like you don’t understand yourself anymore. If your anxiety has lasted for a long time, you might feel that you’ve never fully understood yourself. You know you feel terrible: worried, fearful, stressed, and gripped by a cycle of rumination and overthinking. You’re pretty sure it’s anxiety, but you check and double check references to be sure because you wonder if it’s actually anxiety or something else. These five anxiety facts might help you understand yourself and your own anxiety.
Anxiety can throw off our self-concept for a couple of reasons. There are so many different symptoms of the condition and so many ways it manifests itself that anxiety can vary drastically from person to person. Therefore, reading or hearing about one person’s experiences can cause you to question your own. Some symptoms could be the same, while other things that you’re feeling might not fit the other person’s description.
Also, sometimes with anxiety, we feel this vague notion of being “off.” Something isn’t quite right, but we don’t know why.
As common as anxiety and anxiety disorders are—almost 20% of the US population alone experiences some type of anxiety—they can be hard to completely understand. These five anxiety facts will help you understand anxiety and yourself.
5 Anxiety Facts to Increase Your Self-Awareness
- Anxiety can take away your words. The term for this is "alosia." Alosia is described as poverty of speech. Simply put, in anxiety, alosia makes it hard for someone to think of what he wants to say or even to speak what he is thinking. Alosia isn’t just for social anxiety, either. Any type of anxiety can steal your words and make communicating frustrating.
- Anxiety can give you too many words. The opposite of alosia, anxiety can create what’s known as the pressure to talk (or speak). Sometimes, discomfort and nervousness cause people to talk a lot and to talk rapidly. If you find yourself doing just that or being highly uncomfortable with silence, anxiety and pressure to talk could be at work.
- Dread is part of anxiety and it can strike out of nowhere. It’s possible to be blind-sighted by a crushing sense of dread or doom when seconds ago you felt good and were sailing along in your day. When this happens, it often makes someone worry that she’s going crazy or that something very wrong and possibly life-threatening is happening. Sudden dread, though, can be a normal part of anxiety, coming and going as it pleases. You’re not going crazy.
- Anxiety can create a restlessness that is beyond restlessness. People who have experienced extreme restlessness have described it as feeling like they are going to jump out of their own skin. It can be hard to be still and it often doesn’t go away when you move around.
- Anxiety responses can be fight, flight, or both. If your brain and body rev up to fight during periods of anxiety, you might feel irritable, impatient, and even confrontational. If "flight" is at work, you might want to withdraw and isolate. With anxiety, you might even experience both impulses in cycles.
Many of these symptoms aren’t commonly associated with anxiety. They’re components of other mental illnesses like schizophrenia (especially alosia), bipolar disorder’s mania (like pressure to talk and irritability), and others. So when you have anxiety and experience these symptoms, it can be confusing and bothersome.
Knowing the facts about anxiety can help you reduce worry and fear. It can even increase a sense of peace as you come to understand yourself through the facts of anxiety.