I think we've all experienced anxiety at some point in our lives. Maybe you were anxious about a meeting with your boss, or maybe you were anxious on your sweet kindergartner's first day of school. It's completely normal to feel anxious, nervous and worried sometimes.
However, when someone suffers from an anxiety disorder, those feelings of nervousness and worry don't go away - and they can easily turn into feelings of dread. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States. It affects 40 million people, but only about 37 percent of those affected receive treatment.
If you recognize any of these symptoms in your life, it's never too late to get help, be happy and take your life back.
1. You worry about everything
This is one of the most common symptoms of anxiety. You basically worry about everything there is to worry about, even if it's completely out of your control. You have a consistent pit in your stomach, even if you honestly don't know why you're worrying.
2. You're having trouble sleeping
Anxiety can cause a number of sleep problems, including not being able to fall asleep, waking up frequently during the night and not getting restful sleep. In severe cases, it can even develop into insomnia.
3. You have muscle aches and pains
This pain can come in all different forms. Some people get stomach aches, some get headaches and some have muscle tension-and some people have all three. This chronic pain can affect your quality of life and make you even more anxious.
4. You feel panic
Feelings of panic come with anxiety, especially when you're having a panic attack. This can feel different for everyone, but you shouldn't have to feel this way.
5. You have heart palpitations
Many people have heart palpitations when they suffer from anxiety. It's super scary to feel your heart acting abnormally, and it adds to the anxiety that there might really be something very wrong. Of course you should see a doctor if your heart starts behaving abnormally, but don't let it add to your panic.
6. You're constantly tired
Anxiety takes a lot out of you physically, emotionally and mentally. Some days, it takes all the energy you have to just make it through the day. Add this with the lack of sleep you're experiencing, and it makes for feeling very tired.
7. You're unable to relax
When my anxiety is especially bad, I have a very hard time relaxing. My mind can't slow down enough for me to calm down, so I end up getting even more anxious when I try to relax. If you're experiencing something similar, you might also have an anxiety disorder.
8. You can't sit still
This goes hand in hand with being unable to relax. This can come out as twirling your hair, tapping your foot, clicking your pen or biting your nails. Some people even pick at uneven spots on their skin just to distract them from anxious thoughts.
9. You feel like you're in danger and can't escape
Sometimes when my anxiety is at its worst, I feel like I'm trapped in my mind and I can't escape. This is a normal feeling for people with an anxiety disorder, especially after a particularly stressful time.
10. Irrational fears
People with anxiety think about every possible horrible outcome of every situation. They create this idea in their mind of what's going to happen, and they actually believe it. These irrational fears can be debilitating, and you shouldn't have to deal with them.
Talk to your doctor or find a therapist if you're experiencing any of these symptoms. You deserve to live a happy life. You won't be free from worry (because everyone worries and it's natural) but you'll be free of the dread and anxiousness you feel every day, and you'll be able to live your best life again.