Worrying like it’s your JOB

Worry is a tough cycle. In some ways it’s soothing to rifle through your insides and check for the list of “things that need to be done” and worry about them for a minute. There is a calming safety in focusing on all the bad things that could happen and what you’ll do if they come true. We all do this to some extent. It’s natural, it’s normal and, in the right context, it’s beneficial. The truth is there are things for which we can prepare. It’s why we have insurance, see doctors, and have fire drills. Bad things do happen.

There are approximately a million and one reasons why people resort to worrying. Maybe they suffered a trauma that they never got over, maybe they were taught to worry by people raising them. Maybe they are scared they can’t handle things, that something bad is going to happen. The real question is, when do you know that your worry is more? When is worry really anxiety? I have some ideas.

 

If you lose sleep due to anxiety more than one night a week.

Sleep is very important. It is as important to the body and mind as eating, drinking water and staying out of the rain. Just a few days without sleep can produce hallucinations, paranoia and complete breaks with reality. If you are so worried about something that it is stealing this precious commodity from you on a regular basis, you might be doing more than just worrying.

If you lose friends because of your anxiety.

It is perfectly reasonable that the friends you drank and partied with in college stopped hanging out with you when you got all grown up and started placing more importance on things like paying bills and watching your cholesterol. Them telling you you worry too much might not be true. But if your anxiety has forced you into social patterns of isolation (if you’re desperately uncomfortable around other people, or you feel panicked when out of your normal routine) you may be dealing with something bigger.

If you lose weight because of your anxiety.

Or gain weight, or get diarrhea or acid reflux, tension headaches, migraines, ulcers, high blood pressure or feel dizzy or nauseous because of Anxiety, you might need to talk it out with a professional. Here’s a good test: sit in a quiet place and take a few deep and relaxing breaths until your body feels calm. Then think about something that worries you and search your body for pains, tensions, or aches. If you find some, there is a chance that you’re suffering from anxiety and that anxiety is causing you pain.

If you lose control because of your anxiety.

When most of us picture an anxious person we might picture a pale, sweaty person with big eyes who twitches and talks fast or paces. Lol, I just made myself chuckle at that image. That is not the face of anxiety. Anxiety can look like a deer in the headlights, or a person stuck in their bed. It can look like someone screaming at their children for getting in trouble. It can look like rage. The truth is anxiety has many faces. If there are things that happen in your life that prevent you from controlling yourself (meaning you either can’t do what you want, or can’t stop yourself from doing what you don’t want) you might want to sit quietly and ask yourself if maybe you’re not deeply worried about something.

If it’s bigger than a “worry.”

If you have been reading this blog and getting annoyed at my use of the word worry and have wanted to yell at me and tell me that suffering from anxiety is so so so much more than being worried, yeah, you’re right, and I hope that you’re invested in talking to someone about it. Struggling alone with anxiety can feel like a battle you can’t win.

 

If you or someone you love struggles with anxiety or thinks their worrying nature might be out of control and you’d like you talk to someone, you can click here to reach out to Jennifer or check out Psychologytoday.com to find someone closer to where you are. Why waste anymore time?

50 Signs You Might Need Therapy

  1. More days than not it’s hard to get out of bed.
  2. If you have ever seriously thought “what is wrong with me?
  3. If anyone in your life has ever said, “maybe you should try therapy.”
  4. If you sleep, or really want to, a lot.
  5. If you find yourself fighting or arguing with a lot of people.
  6. If people closest to you seem to be avoiding you.
  7. If you just can’t seem to find a partner.
  8. If it takes you longer than an hour to fall asleep at night.
  9. If you’ve ever thought “I would be ok if I didn’t wake up tomorrow.”
  10. If everything you touch seems to fail.
  11. If you have ever been so upset that you have gotten an ulcer, a migraine or your heart skips beats.
  12. If going to the grocery store seems overwhelming
  13. If the thought of someone saying, “it’s going to be ok,” makes you tear up.
  14. If you have lost someone important to you.
  15. If there is something you want to get, do, or be and you can seem to get, do, or be it.
  16. If your life is about to significantly change and that scares you.
  17. If you have been diagnosed with a life threatening illness.
  18. If you feel trapped.
  19. If you can’t remember the last time you had sex with, laughed with, went out with, been grateful for, or even liked your partner.
  20. If your kids are getting a lot of notes sent home with them.
  21. If you have ever punched someone and didn’t mean to.
  22. If you only eat privately.
  23. If you throw things when you’re mad, and you always seem to be getting mad.
  24. If your partner lays their hands on you.
  25. If there is something you can’t live without and it’s ruining your life.
  26. If you’ve got secrets you can’t tell
  27.  If you feel like the devil is on your back a lot.
  28. If you have talked to your friends and don’t feel like they understand.
  29. If you feel stuck.
  30. If while you’re reading this you are bouncing your leg, and you didn’t even notice.
  31. If you snapped at your spouse for not putting the lid back on the cookie jar.
  32. If you sometimes get black out angry.
  33.  If she died years ago and you can’t stop thinking about her.
  34. If you are missing work because you don’t feel like getting out of bed.
  35. If you found out your daughter was sending pictures of her boobs on snapchat.
  36. If you have had more than three boyfriends, jobs, or mailing addresses in the last year.
  37. If you feel alone.
  38. If you wait for everyone to be asleep before you eat.
  39. If you only have sex with people you don’t care about.
  40. If you have trouble focusing on things
  41. If you recently moved to a new place and are having a hard time leaving your house.
  42. If the body you see in the mirror feels like it belongs to someone else.
  43. If you’d be ok with not waking up tomorrow.
  44. If you stare at your body in the mirror and criticize yourself.
  45.  If the police have been called to your house recently.
  46. If you have thoughts in your head that you feel like you can’t say outloud.
  47. If you stay because of the kids.
  48. If you take the long way every night because you just can’t stand to go home.
  49. If you were pregnant, but lost your child.
  50. If you don’t trust ANYone.

If you or someone you love experiences one or more of the above, please go here and schedule an appointment, or check for licensed therapists in your area.