7 Sneaky Ways Anxiety Takes Over
Everyone has experienced a pile-up of life stressors from time to time!
Sometimes life happens and it feels like all the emotional energy you have gets sucked out. It can feel like you’re running on an empty tank. Running out of emotional fuel - and sometimes physical energy too! It can leave you feeling run-down, apathetic, or completely exhausted.
I am prone to Anxiety … I’ve lived with it longer than I even knew what it was. I used to think I was just very detailed, or a “neat freak.” I told myself I was strong and independent, refusing to accept help from anyone because I wanted to handle it. I had a difficult time sitting still, and could always find something that needed to be done … and then get extremely frustrated with my family for not seeing all the things that needed to be done! Always busy. Always needing to be in control of the situation.
As it turns out, all of these characteristics can also be signs of high functioning anxiety. This type of anxiety usually causes behaviors that allow you to be productive and accomplish tasks.
On the other hand, anxiety can also make you paralyzed and unable to complete tasks or function. Many people experience both at different times.
Either way, anxiety has a way of disguising itself. It’s a sneaky beast and takes over sometimes before you even realize it.
Here are 7 ways to tell your anxiety is taking over:
- Mind Block
One day you begin to realize that for months you have been experiencing a mind block at work. Or coming home and trying to decide what to have for dinner only to be met with what seems like a brick wall. Nothing. No ideas.
- Avoiding - and not realizing
My last experience with crippling anxiety, I didn’t realize that every day after work I would come home from work and sleep for 45 minutes. I’d wake up, pick up my son from football practice, make dinner, eat dinner and then go to my room and lay in my bed under a blanket dong NOTHING.
I normally experience the “super busy” variety of anxiety! At the same time that I was doing absolutely nothing, my mind was racing. In fact, I felt like I had no time because my mind was so busy.
With some self-awareness, I came to realize I was avoiding any anxiety-provoking situations … which in that season, was everything!
- Snapping at your kids and/or husband
If you notice yourself getting overwhelmed with all the crazy noises and attempts to play around from your little ones, or your significant other is just not listening or hearing you...it might be anxiety!
It turns out anxiety and anger both trigger your fight or flight response. It feels as if your emotions have been hijacked! In a lot of ways, they have been!
- Body aches and tight muscles
When you experience anxiety, you probably also try to hold it together. You want to appear in control. You want to regain control of what feels like out of control emotions and racing thoughts.
When you resist emotions and try to stuff them away or repress them, that energy gets stored in the body. If you have aches and pains, especially in my shoulders and neck, it’s a good chance that you are storing some stress and anxiety.
- Restless sleep
When anxiety starts to get out of control, you might experience a lot of restless nights. Waking up regularly and immediately start thinking about SOMETHING, or having trouble getting to sleep at all are good indicators of anxiety.
- Looping thoughts
Looping thoughts are exhausting. For example, looping thoughts might look like:
- Naming things that are happening
- Calculating, adding, and re-adding the budget
- Is the dishwasher loaded?
- Why is he playing video games?
It often feels like your thoughts are stuck. The looping thoughts preoccupy your mind and make you forget details, which also makes you anxious!
- Overplanning and trying to control everything
A year ago when I experienced a pretty severe episode off anxiety, it was almost impossible trying to choose a hotel and a rental car to go to my son’s boot camp graduation.
And then, trying to book a flight home after the holidays. I just could. Not. decide. I supposed you could describe it as continuously wondering if you’re making the right decision. Trying to create the perfect plan.
The truth is, for a person who experiences anxiety, it can be a benefit in some ways. It’s often a big part of the reason someone is so good at what they do.
People that experience high functioning anxiety often thrive being super busy, may have a career where every day looks different, they can be super organized and be very productive at work and home.
There are times, however, that even the best coping mechanisms and ways of compensating fail, and anxiety becomes too much.
If you notice some of the signs and realize anxiety is crippling you, reach out to a therapist who is skilled in anxiety disorders.
Our therapists are highly skilled in working with adults, children, adolescents, and families. We offer a diverse array of services to meet the needs of you and your family!
Let’s connect! Call us today to schedule an appointment. We’re here to help!
Clinical Director and Co-Owner at Redeemed Life Counseling