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Anxiety Vs. Anxiety Disorder ~ Exploring Anxiety {Part 1 of 3}

Have you ever questioned the normality, or abnormality of your feelings of ‘worry’?

Exploring the difference between anxiety vs. anxiety disorder is the first in a series of three to be posted in the next week. This idea came about as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed one day, when I saw a post on ‘Things People With Anxiety Do That The Average Person Does Not’, or something to that effect. I clicked into the article and was shocked! I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I finished and thought, “So, not everyone thinks this way? But I do these things all day long, everyday! Hmm…might be time to take a look at this…”.

Now, I know I have an issue with worrying. Yes, I know my fears may be irrational logically (although that is not how it feels when I’m in the grip of fear/anxiety), but logic and emotion do not always line up. I began to look back through the past, and came to the conclusion that it is possible I have had an anxiety disorder to one degree or another almost all of my life.

I have had an anxiety disorder to one degree or another almost all of my life... Click To Tweet

 

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Anxiety disorders wreak havoc on personal relationships. This has to be one of the most difficult consequences of living with GAD. Just ask my husband. As I have delve deeper into this subject, I keep coming across some serious ‘A-HA!’ moments. Understanding how anxiety works within inter-personal relationships explains so much about our conflicts over the years. This is one of the many reasons getting a ‘handle’ on anxiety is of paramount importance.

 So, before I go further into anxiety disorders, and how GAD manifests in me personally, let’s take a look at what is a ‘normal’ anxious reaction vs. an unhealthy response to stressful thoughts:

Anxiety disorders wreak havoc on personal relationships... Click To Tweet

Anxiety Vs. Anxiety Disorder ~ Exploring Anxiety {Part 1 of 3}

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Anxiety Vs. Anxiety Disorder ~ Exploring Anxiety {Part 1 of 3}

  • ‘Normal’ anxiety is experienced when an actual threat, and/or stressful situation is occurring. For example: a public speech you have to make, starting a new job, having a conflict that needs resolution with a loved one, jumping out of a plane, standing in front of a fang-bared rattlesnake, ect. It is obvious that a certain amount of ‘stress’ is healthy, and even necessary in order to be alert, survive, and properly deal with the situation.

  • ‘Unhealthy’ anxiety is experienced when a threat is ‘perceived’, and not necessarily an actuality. Or, you may continue to feel anxious even after a real threat is gone. It is a continued ‘fight or flight’ response that never quite goes away.

  • Racing thoughts are a common experience in those with anxiety disorders. We are often told ‘just don’t think that way’, when what is not understood is the almost ‘compulsive’ ‘obsessive’ component to these thoughts. A thousand different scenarios rush through the brain, each one worse than the next. 

  • Physical panic symptoms accompany these thoughts. Feelings of fear, dread, and alarm can cause a rise in blood pressure, heart beat acceleration, and muscles to tense.

  • Worse case scenario fantasies prevail in the mind of those with anxiety disorders. The ‘terrible thing that could happen’ crosses our thoughts, and that becomes the ‘probable outcome’ rather than just a ‘slim possibility’.

This is just a small glimpse into the way those of us with anxiety disorders think on a daily basis. BUT, there is HOPE! Although depending on individual cases where professional help and/or medication may be implemented, there are also different thought patterns that can be put into play and practiced. These can then become ‘new & healthier’ mental habits to help us cope with the stresses of life both real and perceived.

Next: ‘Toxic Vs. Balanced Thought Patterns ~ Exploring Anxiety {Part 2 of 3}

New & healthy mental habits can help us cope with the stresses of life both real and perceived. Click To Tweet

 

 

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Used by Permission From Gemma Correll

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15 Comments

  • Reply
    Michelle
    January 12 at 6:55 pm

    Wonderful post Kristine! I’m looking forward to reading the next ones…I totally understand. I have dealt with anxiety pretty much my whole life as well. You’re such an inspiration and you always have such great topics on coping with all of these issues we face on a daily basis. Thank you:-)

    • Reply
      kristine
      January 12 at 7:15 pm

      Thanks you so much Michelle! What a wonderful encouragement, greatly appreciated ♥

  • Reply
    Dianna
    January 12 at 8:02 pm

    Thank you so much for this post, Kristine! I’ve been a worrier ever since I can remember. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the posts in this series. Thank you so much for the research you do and then sharing it with us.
    Dianna recently posted…A ReminderMy Profile

    • Reply
      kristine
      January 12 at 10:35 pm

      You are very welcome Dianna! It really is interesting. I love gathering facts about things like this. Many times when you are ‘aware’ of the facts, it gives you the option to choose, rather than have to simply ‘react’. Thank you again, and have a wonderful week! 😉

  • Reply
    Chronic Mom
    January 16 at 9:03 am

    I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I never had anxiety until I got sick, though I’ve always been a little bit of a worrier.
    Chronic Mom recently posted…Why I use humor to cope with chronic illnessMy Profile

    • Reply
      kristine
      January 16 at 9:17 am

      Hi SHelley! I know right?! I’ve always had anxiety issues, but since my FMS, CFS/ME really ramped up around 10 years ago, it denfinitely ramped up with it. Thank you for commenting ♥ Have a truly fantastic week! 🙂

  • Reply
    Valerie
    January 16 at 9:12 am

    Anxiety goes hand in hand with my Lyme disease, this is such a wonderful post. I can identify. xo
    Valerie recently posted…9 Tips for Coping With Chronic FatigueMy Profile

    • Reply
      kristine
      January 16 at 9:15 am

      Thank you Valerie! Anxiety does seem to go hand in hand with so many chronic illnesses. I’ll have to do a little research on that! 😉 Have a wonderful week Valerie!

  • Reply
    Jayne
    January 17 at 12:38 pm

    Great post Kristine. ‘You have anxiety’ gets banded about a lot. It’s good to know the difference between normal anxiety and an anxiety disorder. In my case I have a physiological overresponse to many triggers due to my blood pressure wiring issue resulting in anxiety. It’s taken two years to work out that mine is secondary to something else! Our bodies are pretty complicated!!

    • Reply
      kristine
      January 17 at 5:28 pm

      Hi Jayne! YES! Very complex, and VERY interconnected. The mind and body work together in ways they are still discovering! Thank you so much for commenting 🙂 Have a wonderful week!

  • Reply
    Mari
    January 18 at 5:21 pm

    i have panic disorder. one of my therapists helped me trace it back to when i was at least three. it’s one of those things i can’t imagine my life without because it’s literally always been there. these days i “control” it with medication, which helps. but it lingers.
    Mari recently posted…review: born of swords, by steven l shrewsburyMy Profile

    • Reply
      kristine
      January 18 at 5:53 pm

      Hi Mari! Isn’t it funny (not ha ha) how things that happen in our childhood ‘still’ affect us no matter how old we get? There have been studies where they believe they have shown that babies are affected even in the womb.
      BTW, I just downloaded your book ‘Midnight’ on my Kindle. Looking forward to reading it! 😉 {♥ vampire books!}

      • Reply
        Mari
        January 18 at 6:01 pm

        I’ve spent years in therapy trying to “get over” stuff. Some stuff, I’ve concluded, you just can’t “get over” – it just is. As a parent, I’m not surprised at all that kids are affected in the womb; it only makes sense.

        I hope you enjoy Midnight! Thanks! 🙂

  • Reply
    Nikki
    January 23 at 7:25 pm

    Kristin, this is me. This is my life. Obviously I have had to learn to deal with it, and most times I do ok. But the probable thoughts that run through my head drive me crazy, thank God for cell phones, I can reach my kids and Bruce to make sure that they are ok. This is a great series and I’m looking forward to reading all the pieces and parts! xx
    Nikki recently posted…Best of 2016 – Top Viewed Posts of the Year.My Profile

    • Reply
      kristine
      January 24 at 9:21 am

      Thanks Nikki! I know, that cell phone IS a life saver 😉

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