The feeling that everything is out of control, constant tension, nervousness, excessive worrying, agitation, insomnia, twitching eyelids, difficulty concentrating…
All of these are signs that indicate anxiety, and they constitute a problem if they occur very frequently. But this isn’t an uncommon ailment. It is actually suffered by many people. In fact, it is becoming more and more common in our current society.
Today we’re going to focus on some ways to recognize and understand anxiety. Our goal is to help you identify it through the feelings it produces.
Feelings produced by anxiety
Anxiety is that feeling that our chest is shrinking. It exhausts us, blocks us off and unsettles us. It makes a hole in the pit of our stomach, leaves us paralyzed and invades our being. An overwhelming battle of emotions, thoughts and behaviors that subdues us, both psychologically and physically.
Anxiety warns us that we should take care of something in our lives. That is to say, something is happening and it requires our attention.
In another article, we explained how anxiety is a monster that feeds on our adrenaline. One to which we offer attention and importance. When something makes us the least bit activated and alert (be it a thought, sight, behavior, etc), our adrenaline starts to surge, and our inner anxiety monster is awakened by the scent of its next meal.
At first it is positive, because, for example, it can help us not fall down a flight of stairs. However, if we keep the monster awake, it will feed off our adrenaline and become bigger and bigger. Soon it will consume all of our energy and will flood our life with a great deal of fear.
A metaphor to help you understand anxiety
You’re at a theme park and see a roller coaster. Filled with the intent of having a good time, you get in line to acquire a ticket for the ride. The sun is very intense that day. So, by the time you get your ticket, you’re already tired.
But that shouldn’t matter, because you’re at an amusement park! So you take a seat in the cart and try to have fun. However, suddenly, a worker dressed as a clown hits you over the head and leaves you in a great deal of pain. This discourages you even further.
To make matters worse, the roller coaster cart you are in makes a quick 360 degree loop. And suddenly, what was supposed to be attractive at first, is no longer any fun for you. Your thoughts cram together and spin around and around in your head. You can’t stop, the tension is constant and you feel like your heart is going to stop at any second. You go up and down, go through a dark tunnel, lose control, and your stomach flips over on itself.
Finally, the ride is over. You climb off filled with the dullness of intense fear, not being able to think clearly. You’re truly exhausted and feel like you’ve been run over repeatedly by a bulldozer.
Feeling anxiety is like getting on a roller coaster, and not having any fun on the ride. Sooner or later, the ride and the attack both end. You know that there’s a climax, and from there everything starts to calm down. However, you have a lousy time. It disturbs you and makes you feel like a thundercloud just robbed you of all of your belongings, and even your identity.
If you ever suffer from an anxiety or panic attack, it’d be good for you to keep this metaphor in mind. It’s important for us to keep in mind that once it appears, it’ll leave through the same door it entered. It’s only a matter of time.