December 5, 2019
Maybe it started with a nervous twitch. Chances are good that you never even noticed it until someone pointed it out to you. You can’t sit still. Even when you try, there is this nervous kind of energy, especially in your arms and legs. If you really concentrate, you can keep your arms and legs from moving. But then you can’t concentrate on what your teacher or even your friend is saying. It is this restless, unsettled feeling that just doesn’t go away. So why can’t I sit still?
More Than Just Anxiousness
There are actually so many reasons our bodies experience restlessness. But one of the reasons we have labeled anxiety. There is a common misconception that anxiety the emotion is the same as anxiety the condition. To be fair, there are similarities. However, one is temporary and based on environmental factors, while the other is a physiological condition that is lasting and can be influenced by your environment, but may not be based on anything going on around us at all.
It is important to separate the two because people have a tendency to say things like “Don’t worry” if we tell them we have anxiety. This is a great opportunity to educate them and tell them that we are not worried. Most likely, we are not consciously thinking of anxiety at all. Rather, we have a medical condition that causes our bodies and minds to behave in certain ways. The condition is a physiological one that has a lot of different causes, none of which we can just stop worrying and the symptoms will go away. That’s not the same thing at all. For example, these are a few of the physical symptoms of anxiety:
Limbs: we might feel restlessness, pressure, or pain. It can feel like they are tight or that they are swollen, but they are not.
Heart: our heart rate increases, and it can feel like our heart is pounding right out of our chest.
Chest: our chest can feel tight, our lungs may feel heavy or tight, and it may be harder for us to breathe.
Stomach: our stomach can feel knotted, nauseated, or like we want to just curl up into a ball.
These are just some of the physical symptoms we may experience with anxiety, but it can manifest itself in many ways. Like the intense, really severe anxiety episodes are known as panic attacks. Sometimes these are so crippling that we cannot even move. In these situations, we may have to seek immediate medical care just to even be able to function again.
Taking Control Back
We didn’t ask for this, but we don’t have to settle for a life filled with pain, discomfort, and restlessness, either. The first thing to do is to see a doctor. A psychiatrist specializes in anxiety and other medical conditions located in the brain. We can talk to the doctor about the symptoms we are having, how often we are having them, and if we notice a pattern or situations that trigger the symptoms worse than normal.
For example, many people experience physical anxiety in social situations. Not just the nervousness we feel when we talk to someone we are attracted to, but uncontrollable physical symptoms like those listed above. Social anxiety is triggered by meeting new people, being in social situations like parties or working with groups at school or work, or performances in front of large crowds. Our doctor has many treatment options, but when we have specific forms of anxiety, therapy is particularly helpful, often in conjunction with medication or other forms of medical treatment.
In particular, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is very helpful with anxiety. This therapy technique emphasizes living in the moment and learning to cope with stress, which is very helpful with anxiety. Additionally, we can learn how to manage our own emotions better and improve communication with others. DBT is also great for people who have used substances and/or have co-occurring disorders because it focuses on the root of our problems and puts us in control of our mental health.
As with all mental health conditions, our lives are better when we address the issues instead of pretending they are not happening. We cannot afford to get caught up in the stigma or worry about what people think. We do not need to add to our anxiety with outside worries. We are ready to live our best life when we acknowledge what is happening in our bodies and bravely seek help. Anxiety has so many symptoms that affect us already. Left untreated, the symptoms will get worse and can lead to bigger, more serious health issues. Anxiety can also lead to substance use, which can also lead to anxiety, even after we stop using substances. It really is up to us to make the best choices for our lives.
Living with anxiety does not have to mean not being able to sit still. It doesn’t have to mean living with pressure or pain or a pounding heart or troubles breathing. Living better means that we take our lives back. We find a doctor, develop a treatment plan, and learn new skills to help us manage our symptoms better. We can sit still. We can breathe freely. We can make the call today to change our lives tomorrow.
You can learn to manage anxiety and live better by contacting Potomac Programs at 1-855-809-0409 today. Your life deserves to be free.