Three things I didn’t know could be linked to anxiety, number three makes surprising biological sense
Anxiety presents itself in many shapes and forms. Until I started working as a psychotherapist, I didn’t understand all the different manifestations of anxiety.
When we think of the anxious person the image many of us conjure up is that of the worrier or the panicked. Someone who feels overwhelmed a lot and who can’t cope.
Statistically most people are going to feel anxiety at some point in their lives, this can happen at any stage young, old or in between.
We all hold things dear to ourselves, whether this be status, relationships, wealth, our looks, our job, our kids, our pets or our stability nothing lasts forever just as we don’t last forever.
No one is immune from the march of time so the view of the anxious person as falling into one personality type is wrong.
From doing this work I have met all types and heard all sorts, here are some of the unexpected things you can find alongside anxiety.
High achievers are not immune to anxiety! In fact, many with high achievement may have used pressure and deadlines on themselves and their fight or flight systems to great effect.
The fight or flight response is programmed into us to keep us safe. This can be activated by danger, but also by stress and by our own thinking and beliefs.
Many high achievers push themselves with this system and use its power to achieve major things. But by building a kingdom comes the risk of losing it all.
Many people I have met from seriously high-profile professions experience anxiety as they live their lives at the edge anyway.
Some suffer from perfectionism and push their lives in a set direction of their choosing. This unrelenting march of progress suits them while they have the control.
But often things beyond our power sap us of control and this can cause high anxiety. Many other high achievers come to counselling with anxiety as they find that all their success has not brought happiness.
These people may deep down not like themselves or feel trapped by choices they made years ago. High achievement and wealth do not insulate us from anxiety but can in reality make us vulnerable.
Another thing that goes with anxiety that surprises many is irritability. But wait aren’t anxious people supposed to be meek and timid?
Sometimes yes but we better believe that everybody has an edge that can come out if they are pushed hard enough!
Again, anxiety is the never-ending activation of the fight or flight response. This system is hand for us to have but if it activates constantly, I would compare it to a house alarm that won’t stop going off incessantly.
After a while this is going to piss us off. Many people with anxiety know at some level that they are working themselves up or overreacting.
Especially after incidents many know what happened but can’t stop. So, this leads to irritability with themselves, their situations and those around them.
The being constantly on alert too can feel like trench warfare for those in it. Where at any stage they may have to face danger!
This leads to a sensitivity to noise, disruption, exposure, pressure and other well-meaning stimuli.
Many anxious men I have worked with would rather seem tetchy than anxious so despite all the stereotypes believe me when I say behind many cold and hard facades there will be anxiety.
The next thing that might surprise people about anxiety is that is has a massive impact on the digestive system.
I know many who have spent hundreds on allergy tests only to find that stress and anxiety is the main culprit.
IBS and other stomach issues are all related to anxiety and the reason is quite smart evolutionarily speaking.
When the fight or flight response is in full flight the body directs blood away from the stomach and to areas where it might be needed.
For instance, the blood and power go to the major muscle groups and as the breathing and heart rate speed up the body gets ready to run away.
Doing this the stomach doesn’t digest food as competently and even in severe anxiety a loosening occurs. Animals and children often urinate when scared as do fully grown human adults sometimes.
The stomach and the gut are both inextricably linked to our stress and anxiety and the stomach can often be the guide to how are we doing today.
The reason I write about this topic is because it is so common, isn’t talked about enough and it is possible to rediscover life through counselling.
From my practice in Glasnevin I have worked to help many clients to process the effects of anxiety, to work to build their self-esteem and to kickstart growth and happiness again.
Counselling can help when someone is ready to make a change and to get that anxiety out of their lives and out of their heads!
To hear more about how I work with these issues please feel free to message this Facebook page, call/text 087 063 0949, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am always happy to chat about how therapy either with myself or with one of my colleagues can help!
Wishing everyone a great week and thanks for reading.
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Anxiety is like a merry-go-round, going nowhere, it’s ok to step off