Now that our lives have been greatly affected by COVID–19, you may be experiencing thoughts, feelings, and emotions you have never felt before. In my practice, many new cases are coming in of those suffering from anxiety. Yet there are also some coming in thinking they have anxiety to the point that they need medication and it is not the case. You may be wondering what you are experiencing and if it is anxiety? You want to know, “Richale, so just how do I know if I have anxiety?” My short and sweet answer is, “You know you have anxiety if you have a pulse!” I always teach my clients that anxiety gets a bad rap! Anxiety can be a friend that sticks closer than a brother and can literally save your life. Remember the last anxious feeling you had about making that left turn and you didn’t listen and you found that you were now stuck in traffic or an accident was ahead of you? That is how anxiety works for us when we listen to it. This level of anxiety does its job by warning you through physical experiences such as your pulse or heart rate increasing; however, when danger subsides so does your pulse or heart rate. That is the good news; however, there is the increased level of anxiety that we need to explore where your pulse or heart rate may be through the roof with no signs of letting up.
There are several types of anxiety disorders, and in my practice, Generalized Anxiety Disorders (GAD) are most prevalent and oftentimes can be accompanied by depression. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 6.8 million adults in the U.S are affected and women are more likely to be affected than men. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.”
With those stats it is clear that we all have it; however, on a clinical level when anxiety gets out of control causing great impairment and dysfunction in our lives, we know we have anxiety and we need to seek help! So the real question you might want to ask me is, “Richale, how do I know when I should seek help for the anxiety that I have? Remember that pulse; that heartbeat when it increased to warn you? If that stays up for long periods of time, resistant to returning to rest consider your self-talk. If you are saying these 4 things to yourself you might want to get some H.E.L.P.
4 Ways I Know I Need H.E.L.P for Anxiety
H – My mind is HAZY!
The words are constantly on the tip of your tongue but won‘t come out. You are forgetting more than normal the things that used to come easy for you. You might even have trouble concentrating on the simplest tasks like watching your favorite tv show.
E – I’m on EDGE and there is no ledge!
You are feeling the pressure and it’s as if there is no way out, so you’re stuck and in a panic with no way out. You are wearing your feelings on your shoulders and everyone notices you are increasingly irritable. In some parts of your body, you feel increasingly tense and both your pulse and heartbeat may be consistently elevated.
L – I feel LAZY!
You have a hard time getting to work or you come home feeling unaccomplished and you have nothing left to give physically. It’s not you, when anxiety is too high, we all become easily tired due to an inability to hone our energy.
P – If I could just get a PEACEFUL night’s sleep!
You have not had a peaceful night’s sleep in you don’t know how long. You’ve tried everything you could and your mind just won’t shut off.
You have anxiety and need some H.E.L.P if you are experiencing these symptoms for at least 6 months. There’s more good news! GAD is treatable and you can recover with the help of a licensed professional and some lifestyle changes that they will suggest. You are so deserving of support so please seek a caring professional where you are for help!