Who gets Anxiety?
In some way, shape, or form, everybody gets anxiety symptoms from time to time!
Anxiety is a healthy, normal response to stress. But most people’s symptoms occur only after obviously stressful times, such as a death in their family or a bad divorce, and they are very aware that the symptoms they are having, such as headaches and feeling keyed up or jittery, are simply a reaction to that stress. The “average” person doesn’t usually get too worked up about these symptoms. They take some time to grieve, perhaps use herbal teas or aromatherapy to manage symptoms, and trust that as time passes, so will their discomfort.
Those of us with anxiety “disorders” have brains that work the exact same way. Our whole anxiety response system is exactly like everybody else’s. The difference is that quite often, we don’t even realize we are under all that much stress. So the anxiety symptoms we get seem to come from out of the blue and feel vague and mysterious. We may have known we have had a rough month or two, but certainly would never have thought it was enough to start causing physical or emotional problems for us in our day-to-day lives.
It’s important to remember that sudden, life altering stress is not the only kind of stress out there. There are also daily stressors that everybody goes through, and we are such sensitive people that we respond to that stress without even knowing how deeply we are affected by it. One person’s death in the family can be the equivalent of our not being able to pay our bills for a month. One person’s getting mugged in an alley can be the stress equivalent of our leaving home and going off to college.
Everybody has a stress threshold.
Everybody has that line, and once it’s crossed, they will develop symptoms of anxiety. Those of us with anxiety disorders just happen to have a line that’s easier to cross – and that’s okay. It’s not a flaw. It’s just a characteristic. Our sensitivity is a gift that benefits us FAR more than it hurts us. But because most of us aren’t aware that we have that lower stress threshold, we don’t take it into consideration when we are wondering why we are having seemingly odd and scary symptoms all of a sudden. We only know that we are going through the same life stressors as everybody else, and nobody else seems to be all of a sudden crippled by intrusive thoughts or a fear of driving, or having panic attacks on a daily basis. So we never make the association.
It is not our brains that turn our very normal reactions to stress into a “disorder”. It is the fact that we are misunderstanding what is going on and reacting with fear to these normal reactions. It’s a bit messy, isn’t it? It’s not the easiest thing in the world to explain, but the important thing to remember is that even though it’s called a “disorder”….every physical symptom you have is a very normal response to fear and negative emotions that you are feeling .
If we knew right away that what we were feeling was a normal response to stress, all the mystery and bewilderment would be taken out, and it would probably not get blown up into the “huge deal” that we turn it into.
If we just accepted our initial anxiety symptoms as the body and mind’s natural way of working through this rough patch in our lives and let them take the time to handle it the way they were designed to do….we would rest, we would heal, and life would carry on.
But we don’t let the mind and body handle it.
We decide to start over-thinking and over-analyzing and questioning and picking apart everything we feel down to a microscopic level, and this disrupts the natural ability of the brain and mind to be able to help us work through our stress. That is the “disorder” part. But it’s really all just a misunderstanding. Once you understand what is really going on, it’s just a matter of “resetting” your thought patterns and resetting yourself so that you stop reacting to things that aren’t really a threat
Life would be a lot easier for us if we could just unplug ourselves, wait 60 seconds, and then plug ourselves back in and start fresh. But since we don’t come with a plug, we have to do it the manual way. It may take a while, but it can be done. I did it with these recovery steps.
The important thing is that now you know what is really going on and that is the first step taken right there.
Now you know that it takes a lot less stress than the average person has, for you to start feeling the effects of it.
For your current and future emotional health, always keep that in mind and remember that you need to monitor your stress levels and make sure to take good care of your mental well-being. Make “calm” time a part of your life, in whatever way feels right to you, every single day. This is crucial for anybody who has a history of anxiety problems.
The brain/mind/body/ connection is pretty amazing, readers. It has been around for gazillions of years….and it was designed to be efficient and be able to handle most of what life throws at us. There are always events that can be traumatic of course, and if you are a very sensitive person, a much broader scope of what could be considered traumatic exists so you have to keep that in mind and consult a professional to help you sort that out if you have any questions. But in the absence of any significant traumatic event/s in your life, if anxiety symptoms start showing up, trust that natural relationship that exists between your mind, brain, and body, and give them a chance to sort things out on their own before you start to over – analyze things and become concerned. Again, it is that over-thinking that interrupts your natural emotional healing process and that is when things can start getting complicated. I know it’s easier said than done but all you have to do is keep an open mind and try. That’s it.
And whatever you do, do not mistake sensitivity for weakness. I think it is a huge disservice to ourselves to believe that because we are sensitive, we must not be as strong as everybody else. That is absolutely not true. One has nothing to do with the other. I am the most sensitive person you will ever meet. Everything affects me deeply. But I also am one of the strongest people I know. I know that I can handle anything. And so can you. A soft soul does not mean a soft spirit.