If you're struggling with anxiety, you're not alone. Not only have anxiety levels risen in the past year due to the pandemic, but even before that, anxiety is something that everyone feels from time to time. And while that may be slightly comforting to know that you're not alone, simply knowing others struggle with anxiety isn't going to help you either. At The NEST Clinic in Stillwater, we want to help provide you with anxiety help so you can feel better and live your best life.
As you read through the information below, we want to encourage you not to compare your situation to that of another person. It can be easy to think that you're problems/struggles/challenges aren't "as bad" as what someone else is going through. If you're constantly making these comparisons, you may delay or avoid getting the anxiety help you need. And we don't want you to do that.
Like it says above, anxiety is something that anyone can experience. You don't need to have an anxiety disorder or any other diagnosable mental or physical health disorder to benefit from getting help. So, keep an open mind as you learn more about how to get anxiety help.
Is there a difference between stress and anxiety?
Sometimes the words stress and anxiety are used interchangeably. However, they are not the same thing.
Stress is caused by external circumstances. If you feel stressed, there is something around you that's the root of the issue. It could be that you have tight deadlines at work, too busy of a schedule, or not enough paycheck left to cover the bills for the month. There is an endless number of things that can cause you stress. But in the end, when the "circumstance" changes, the stress goes away.
Anxiety, on the other hand, while can be linked with excessive worrying, also can seem to be caused by nothing at all. And while stress is short-term, anxiety can linger.
Signs of anxiety
There are many symptoms of stress and anxiety that you may experience. Not everyone feels exactly the same way. But, here are some of the common signs of anxiety:
Feeling like something bad is going to happen
Rapid breathing and heart rate
Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
Problems with your digestion (upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea)
Those are some of the common symptoms of anxiety that you may feel, but what does it look like in your life? You may notice some of the following as a result of anxiety:
A decline in work performance
Failing to meet deadlines
Being irritable with family members and friends
Overanalyzing conversations and situations from your day
Not wanting to be around people if you don't have to be
Feeling like the world around you is overwhelming
Anxiety can make daily life far more difficult than it needs to be. As you can see, it doesn't just impact the way you think, it also impacts the way you feel physically. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to treat anxiety so you don't need to stay stuck feeling like that.
Causes of anxiety
People often want to know what's causing anxiety in their lives. There are times it can be helpful to learn what triggers your anxiety so you can do what you can to avoid or overcome the triggers. But you may not know what's causing your anxiety.
There are many different things that can cause anxiety. Some examples include:
Mental health disorders such as a Panic Disorder or Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Symptom of a medical illness
Family history of mental illness
Stressful life situations
Working with a therapist can help you get to the root of what's causing your anxiety. This may help in customizing a treatment plan to work for your specific situation.
Ways to reduce anxiety
There are many ways to reduce anxiety on your own and many ways that a mental health professional can help you with your anxiety.
Some common anxiety-reducing strategies you can try on your own include:
Keeping a gratitude journal
Saying self-affirmations on a regular basis
Eating a healthy diet
Getting regular exercise
Connecting with your support group (family and friends)
Deep breathing exercises
The strategies above are great ones for everyone to know and put into practice in their lives. But there are many times when those strategies alone aren't enough to help you overcome anxiety. During these times, it's best to work with a therapist or other mental health professional to get the anxiety help you need to feel your best.
How to know when it's time to get anxiety help
If you are feeling anxious and want to reach out for help, do it! There is never a time when it's not OK to seek help. You don't have to wait for your anxiety to reach a certain level before talking to someone about it. In fact, just like many health challenges, the earlier you catch it and get help, the easier it may be to overcome.
But if you struggle with taking the step to reach out for help and care for yourself, the following are signs that it's time:
Your daily decisions and actions are impacted by your anxiety
You're canceling plans and avoiding doing things you used to enjoy
You can't sleep because you're up worrying all night
Even though there are people physically around you, you still feel alone
You don't feel like yourself anymore
You're having panic attacks
You've been struggling for weeks
It's impacting your physical health
There are problems in your relationship because of your anxiety
You feel like something is off even though you can't put your finger on it
If you are dealing with stress or anxiety in your life, help is available.
Creating a treatment plan for your anxiety
Here at The NEST Clinic, we know that you are a unique individual. The situations that you've experienced or are experiencing aren't the same as your Stillwater neighbor, best friend, sibling, parent, child, coworker, or anyone else. You are uniquely you which means you need a treatment plan that is customized for your individual needs.
We have a team of mental health professionals with different specialties ready to provide anxiety help in Stillwater. We also have a Certified Nurse Practitioner who specializes in women's health and can assist with medication management if needed as part of your anxiety treatment plan.