How to determine WHAT anxiety disorder you have.

Many of us generalize anxiety in prose, I do it I’m sure many of you have in your life as well. Simply put we use the term “anxiety” as a catch all for any anxious reaction. It’s an umbrella term that is simple to understand, you tell anyone “I have anxiety” and they have a good general sense of what is happening with you. What happens next though? When you continue down the rabbit hole, what do you find? Indeed, there are several types of anxiety disorders. I found a good article here that discusses the issue.

From the article: All anxiety disorders cause chronic and persistent forms of distress and discomfort, which can include emotional and physical symptoms, but they differ from one another based on the specific trigger of the anxiety, Jenny C. Yip, Psy.D., clinical psychologist and owner of the Renewed Freedom Center in Los Angeles, tells SELF.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and phobia disorders are among the most common types of anxiety disorders. Other common anxiety disorders include post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.”

stressed-out-woman
Some days are worse then others.

The article goes on to list out and elaborate on several types of anxiety disorders, it’s a good article definitely take some time with it. Look I don’t need to elaborate here, as many of us are on an anxiety journey we deal with the symptoms and consequences daily. Identifying triggers or specific conditions around your particular situation is critical to creating a management plan on how to cope and eventually thrive.

This article does a good job of mapping things out for you and who knows maybe there is a nugget of data in here that helps you progress on your journey. I hope this helps you, if nothing else it can help with confirmation and affirmation and that’s a positive.

You are doing great, one day at a time.

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Shame and Anxiety

One of the dirty secrets of having anxiety is the shame associated with it. Now it has improved a great deal recently but inherently and culturally there is a certain shame associated with being afflicted with anxiety. The stigma of being weak or the whisper of “something isn’t right” affects people a great deal. Shame is a very powerful emotion and has been used to great effect in history to garner a desired outcome.

It’s important to define what shame is. Shame is: “the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, and ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another”

Embarrassed Shame GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I found a good article on Psychology today here about anxiety and shame

From the article: “Anxiety disorders are generally categorized based on symptoms and behavioral expressions, such as psychological disorganization, irritability, nonspecific fears, sleep difficulties, panicky feelings, or an inability to concentrate. Yet any given state of anxiety can be best understood by distinguishing it in terms of the emotions that are involved in the experience. Shame is an emotion that is prominent in states of anxiety and often goes undetected as it hides in the shadow of the experience.” 

Shame is a natural consequence of anxiety because we worry what other people think. It would be easy, actually cavalier for me to say “you can’t control what people think so don’t worry about it”. Of course I just said it because it’s an extremely powerful concept to strive for. It’s likely you will never achieve it but it’s a worthy aim.

Quick story on the concept. When I was younger in my 20’s I remember not being able to find my car in a parking lot I was freaking out inside and I had  2 people approach me and ask me if I was okay. It was clear my anxiety was taking over, others sensed it. I was cringing inside, I refused the help, I found my car and I sat there for a half hour calming myself. I remember thinking “these people think I am crazy”. At that moment I was.

Shame had seeped into my emotional process. It prolonged my recovery from that episode. Was it merited? I don’t know, I as unable at that moment to dismiss these strangers from my mind. I kept thinking about what they were saying about me. I wondered for days what their conversation was on the ride home. How they must have mocked me etc. I never saw them again, and 20 years has passed…

Shame is horrible, and it is a component in anxiety. If you are feeling shame its okay you aren’t alone. Identify its source, write it down if needed and really consider why you feel shame and what the source is. You will get through it, things will improve, you are safe, and you doing great, one day at a time.

Are you interested in more posts on Anxiety? Check out one of my previous posts here.

Beyond the Trees

Which is it?

I found a very good article here about anxiety and in it was a great little chart (see below).

Anxiety vs Anxiety Disorders Infographic.png

I don’t think this encapsulates 100% of anxiety issues but boy it captured a lot. I think many of us teeter between the columns. I certainly have had moments of avoiding social situations for fear of being judged. I think its important for all of us who deal with anxiety to be as honest with ourselves as we can.

That said I am not a big fan of labels but they are important if you are engaging in the battle of health care. Sadly, many care providers in the west cant or wont treat you unless you have a “diagnosis” from a doctor that you have actual anxiety disorder.

If you are fighting that battle, print this little chart out. Make sure you tell your Dr that it comes from the Anxiety and depression association of america. Advocate for yourself, you can do it. I don’t have much to add here other than to say look at the chart, if you think you fall into the anxiety disorder column that doesn’t make you deficient or a bad person. You have an illness, millions of us do, attack it, fight back! You are doing awesome, one day at a time.