As most of you know I have anxiety, like many of you, and millions of people all over the world. Now unlike many of you I am in my 50’s and I have been living with Anxiety in some form for decades. So, what is it like to have anxiety issues in your 50’s and dealing with it for years?
Let me say that age enables you to have experience and experience breeds wisdom. It makes dealing with Anxiety easier so that’s the good news. The older you get, the longer you live with this issue the better equipped you become in dealing with it. Now things can still get bad don’t get me wrong, but the feelings of isolation and shame decrease as you begin to realize more and more that many people have this problem, it’s not just you.
That’s the good news, the bad news is you have more time to reflect on, which for me has always been the problem. I suffer from intrusive thoughts. I can be sitting in the car and suddenly I remember something that happened in 1983 that was a negative situation. The problem with intrusive thoughts is you assume the emotional reactions you had at the time and then start applying them to your current situation.
Pick whatever name you want, Anxiety at any age sucks
The older you get the more history you have that you can reflect on. Now everyone does this to a degree but for me anyway it can be debilitating. I can’t get out of the thought or the feeling, it will replay itself over and over until I can expel it. Like a song you cant get out of your head. It flavors everything I am doing and affects all of those around me. Now this is contradictory to the first part of the post isn’t it?
“Karac you said the older you get the less shame and isolation you feel” yes that’s true, but the frequency increases and that’s the problem. Literally daily I have an issue like this, and the factors that contribute to its intensity can be anything from lack of sleep, stress at work or family issues. So the older you get the easier it gets to deal with the issue, but the issue becomes more frequent.
At least that’s what is happening to me. I could take more medication but I basically just push through. Don’t get me wrong I have more good days then bad but when you have anxiety, you are most likely going to be dealing with it for decades. So all my Gen Z and Millennial friends out there, your mental health is a life long journey. The first critical step is recognizing your specific issue and understanding what your triggers are and why they are happening.
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