"Push yourself outside your comfort zone. That's where growth happens" -- I have to disagree.
Being anxious does not automatically mean you are an introvert, just like being an introvert does not automatically mean that you are a chronically anxious person. But in my experience, this has gone hand in hand, and sometimes it feels like it is hard to separate the two.
My name is Shubhechha Dhar; I'm a writer and the new author of "Treating Anxiety." Through my blog posts, I hope to create a safe space for everyone struggling with anxiety to feel seen, understood, and heard. After being diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, I spent a year in group therapy and learned coping techniques that helped me thrive with my disorder. My life's purpose is to use my writing to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.
One of the hardest things that I have found about dealing with anxiety is the second-guessing that happens when making decisions. It becomes so hard to make decisions because I find myself wondering if it's the right choice or the wrong choice. Then, when I make a decision, I second-guess it and question whether I should have made a different choice. The problem with that is, even if I had made a different choice, I would still question that one anyway. As a result, my thoughts will spin out of control, and my anxiety will overtake my logical thought process.
When I am anxious, one of the main symptoms I experience is a loss of sleep. And this is due to a couple of reasons -- first of all, my heart rate increases when I'm anxious, especially if I've had a panic attack. When this happens, it is hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. The other reason is that I will find myself thinking about whatever I'm worried or stressed about, and those racing thoughts make it difficult to sleep as my mind works overtime. Even if I fall asleep, I will wake up in the middle of the night and have a hard time going back to sleep, and so I might find myself fully awake before dawn.
When you are chronically anxious, one of the effects you might often deal with is feeling exhausted. Depending on the situation, if I have experienced a very stressful situation, I tend to feel exhausted when my body starts to wind down from the physical effects of stress. And so, I might find myself quite fatigued from anxiety, but at the same time, I might have a hard time sleeping as well, also because of anxiety. So it becomes a cycle of inadequate sleep and anxiety that seems to be never-ending. Then, if I haven't gotten a good night's rest for a long time, what I find is that I deal with the effects of fatigue. This includes having a hard time concentrating and having a hard time focusing. I also find that it affects my memory, and it affects my mood as well. Ultimately, fatigue can affect me in several ways.
When I feel anxious, I tend to be very aware of the multiple anxiety symptoms I experience, including struggles with my confidence. However, because anxiety is something I've struggled with for years, this also means that keeping my self-confidence and self-esteem up has been a struggle for me for years as well.
The start of a new year usually brings new goals and resolutions, but anxiety can sometimes be a barrier to actually accomplishing those goals. Because of my anxiety, there have been many times that I have established New Year's resolutions that I had every intention of following, only to find myself unsuccessful at following through for one reason or another.
The holidays are supposed to be full of cheer and celebration. But for so many of us, they are a time of increased stress and anxiety. This can result from a number of things, such as feeling as though there is not enough time, pressure from upcoming family gatherings, gift-giving, holiday travel, and financial worries related to all of the above. We also tend to see quite a bit on social media of what the holidays are supposed to look like, even though we know it is often not an accurate depiction of what the holidays are like for most of us. And now, due to the pandemic, there is the added stress of how these current times impact the holiday season.
I think one of the most difficult aspects of coping with anxiety is dealing with the fear that is inherent to this experience. While fear and anxiety are not necessarily the same thing, they typically walk alongside one another, and that is why it can be helpful to analyze one in order to understand the other.