Anxiety manifests in a range of symptoms, affecting our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. A build-up of stress can become problematic over time and, because we know that a certain amount is ‘normal’, it can be difficult to assess when to take action, especially if you’re someone who typically doesn’t like to ‘make a fuss’.
If you’re reading this and trying to persuade yourself or someone else that it’s okay to seek support, consider the questions below:
Are you experiencing feelings of general, persistent unease, fear or dread?
Are you finding it difficult to focus?
Are you having panic attacks?
Do you feel irritable / edgy / snappy?
Are you having trouble sleeping?
Do you feel sick / short of breath / is your heart racing?
Are you avoiding people or situations that you previously tolerated or enjoyed?
Are your usual coping strategies feeling less effective?
Are you engaging in destructive coping strategies?
Symptoms of anxiety present differently in different people and at different times. You don’t have to have answered ‘yes’ to every symptom to validate that what you’re experiencing is anxiety. Anxiety affects our ability to think and behave rationally, leading to distressing patterns of behaviour that serve to reinforce its existence.