Experiences of anxiety has increased during this past year in CoVid-19.
A parent in Lake Oswego is trying to discern if her high school student is feeling stressed over the challenges and isolation of the year or is dealing with anxiety. Her kid is sleeping a lot more. She wonders, “Can anxiety cause my child to be more tired?”
A professional in Portland doesn’t know if she has what it takes to succeed. She dreads going into the workplace and is afraid she doesn’t compare well to her peers. She feels sick to her stomach and wonders, “Can anxiety cause nausea?”
A spouse is concerned about his marriage and has negative messages swirling in his mind throughout the day. He has been feeling more agitated and frustrated lately in the relationship. He questions, “Am I overexaggerating? Why can’t I just let these emotions go?”
Is it just normal stress or is it anxiety that is causing people distress?
You may not always aware of how anxiety impacts you. Or maybe you downplay the feelings you are carrying. You may not even know when it is right to seek help for your anxiety.
At Wellspace Counseling, we want to help people find the mental and emotional wellness they long to have. With that in mind, here are a few symptoms that you may experience with anxiety:
Symptom of Anxiety #1 — Foreboding Feeling of Fear:
Are you walking around with a general feeling of impending doom? Or maybe concern of facing some form of public embarrassment? Do you have a general sense that you are going to fail in a work or school project? Or maybe it is more of a concern that you are going to be rejected in your relationship or marriage?
If you have a consistent feeling of dread that is present more often than not, you are likely experiencing a symptom of anxiety.
Symptom of Anxiety #2 — Increase in Rate of Breathing:
Anxiety is part of the “fight or flight” response in our body. Because of this, a natural occurrence of our physical reaction is to take quick and shallow breaths. The problem, of course, is that this reaction only leads to heightened anxiety.
Taking shallow breaths communicates to your body and brain that you are not getting enough air into your lungs. And one of the impacts of that communication leads to….
Symptom of Anxiety #3 — Faster Heart Rate:
An increase in heart rate is a symptom of the short breaths from anxiety. The heart begins pumping at a quicker pace. It may even feel like your heart is going to leap out of your chest. It may even cause you to think that you are having a heart attack.
Which will make you worry and become more anxious. Which will cause you to take shorter breaths. Which will increase your heart rate. Which…you get the point.
Anxiety causes for a more rapid, racing heartbeat.
Symptom of Anxiety #4 — Nervousness, Restlessness, & Fatigue
A common symptom of anxiety is a general sense of dread or fear. Of course, this can make for someone feeling nervous even if they are watching a movie in the safety of their own home.
The restlessness that occurs can make it difficult to focus or concentrate on tasks or during conversations. And a constant state of heightened awareness leads to physical fatigue.
Symptom of Anxiety #5 — Trouble Falling Sleeping:
Even with the increase in fatigue, a person experiencing anxiety symptoms may struggle to fall asleep at night. Why does this happen?
Have you ever been in the situation where your mind starts going into overdrive when your body starts to relax? Maybe you are processing your day or start ruminating on a conversation you had earlier. Or you begin to think about the big projects that are due in the next couple of days. Or the conflict that you have settle the next day with a hard conversation.
In any case, many people experiencing anxiety struggle to fall asleep in part because of the mental, emotional, or physical symptoms of anxiety.
Symptom of Anxiety #6 — Overthinking:
Yup, overthinking will keep you from being able to fall asleep. But it also can make it hard to make decisions.
Have you ever struggled to decide what you want to eat for dinner with friends or your spouse? Is it because you don’t like the pressure? Or because you don’t want to be a hassle? Or maybe because you don’t want to upset someone or risk putting your opinion out there in the open?
This can make it easier for us to let other people decide.
Because what if you choose wrong? What if you make a bad decision? What if you fail with the decision you make, and it ends up ruining your life?
Anxiety leads to overthinking. Not because we can’t make a decision. It’s because we don’t feel secure enough in ourselves to make a decision.
Symptom of Anxiety #7 — Avoiding People or Situations:
When our anxiety keeps us from interacting with other people, we call it social anxiety.
We avoid going out of our house because of a fear that we may not be able to emotionally survive. We are afraid of embarrassing ourselves. Or failing.
So, rather than take the risk, we choose to stay home.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms of anxiety, there is good news! There are things you can do that will help you manage your experiences, even if you are having an anxiety attack.
And do not hesitate to seek out a professional counselor if you are ready to find emotional and mental freedom from anxiety.
Jason Wilkinson provides counseling for anxiety to help individuals reach their goals of mental and emotional wellness. His practice, Wellspace Counseling, provides individual and marriage counseling for the communities of Tualatin, Lake Oswego, Wilsonville, and Portland. Wellspace Counseling also provides services throughout the state of Oregon through the use of its online counseling platform.