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Do you feel anxious before a medical/dental visit, or starting something new? Full disclosure; I get very anxious years in the Dentist office. I crumble into a million little pieces. I am constantly amazed at how quickly it happens! I start sweating profusely. My bladder starts filling up again, doesn’t matter if I went minutes ago. My body is wound so tightly, I have to force myself to relax. Recently, the Dentist finally suggested I take Valium. My PCP agreed.
Have you gotten the jitters before speaking in front of a large group, or sweaty palms when thinking about the future? These are common reactions, when faced with something that’s scary or unfamiliar, and it doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong. However, some people suffer from a more severe form of anxiety, that causes more serious physical symptoms. To better understand if your anxious feelings could be a sign of an anxiety, or panic disorder, let’s do a deep dive:
1. If your heart is racing, and you can’t breathe correctly, this can be a symptom of anxiety that is severe, enough to get professional help.
2. Some people have uncontrollable fears of things like crowded places, driving, or germs that cause complete avoidance of places or situations.
3. The consistent inability to concentrate can be a symptom of anxiety. This must be consistent behavior, not just on those occasions when you lack sleep, brought on by hunger, for instance.
4. Nervous behaviors, such as walking around the same area, over and over again, or twitching your fingers or toes repetitively, can be another indicator.
5. A feeling of doom that something will happen to you, such as an accident, heart attack, or even death, can be symptoms of an anxiety disorder or panic disorder.
6. Numbness in your hands, fingers, toes, and legs or feeling like you can’t stand are common.
7. If you have trouble swallowing, or unusual dry mouth episodes, these may be indications of anxiety.
8. Fear of people around you, and the desire to be alone, are feelings many anxiety sufferers face.
9. The inability to leave your home, can be a symptom of a severe anxiety or panic disorder.
10. If your normal activities become overwhelming, you could be suffering from anxiety or a panic disorder. More than fifteen years ago, I worked the front desk of an animal clinic. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had a panic attack, later confirmed by EMS personnel. One of the worse experiences of my life. My Doctor surmised, it was related to working and attending school full-time.
Certain cultures rarely openly acknowledge mental health issues. More than ever, I hope to reach this demographic. Being born and raised in the Caribbean, I can attest to this. The good news, is that these symptoms and conditions, are no longer considered taboo in mainstream society. The COVID pandemic, has shed a huge light on the burgeoning mental health crisis.
If you suffer from anxiety, please do not do so in silence. Many mental health clinics, and hospitals offer affordable support, if you’re on a lower or fixed income. Your health insurance can help you get treatment, they cannot reveal your diagnosis to your employer. Medications, meditation, and relaxation techniques are also beneficial. Understanding your condition, can help alleviate the stress and fear caused by panic attacks. Living life in fear of another panic attack will hold you hostage. Get the treatment that can put you back on the road to peace, health and happiness. You’ll be glad you did!
If you are experiencing a crisis, and need to speak with someone immediately, please contact the National Suicide and Crisis Hotline, at 1800 273 8255.
Here is a FREE Anxiety Self Test worksheet to help you sort things out.
Up next, surprising facts about anxiety.
To Your Success,