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I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember. I was diagnosed in 2008 with OCD, Panic Disorder, Imposter Syndrome and Agoraphobia (although the agoraphobia was temporary).
Long story short, disorder is often the root cause of my anxiety. A lack of control of any situation can also cause panic. I also find being the centre of attention something I don’t handle well. I find the last part strange because I have no problem with presentations or teaching people, but when someone is recognizing more doing a good job or congratulating me, I start to feel panicked.
As for my symptoms, since I have OCD my symptoms include obsessive thinking and compulsions to do something to relieve the anxiety around that obsessive thought (I am really simplifying this). For example, when I am recognized at work for a job well done, I will obsess over the people staring at me. My thoughts are often things like “they are all looking at you” and “they are going to find out the truth that you don’t really belong here”. Since I am unable to leave, I will tap my fingers equally over and over until it feels just right.
I am a completionist (yes, I know that isn't really a word). Like a protectionist feels the need to go over something until they feel it is perfect (which often they never do) I feel I must complete anything that has been started. For example, I am finding it very difficult to join this community. There are so many forums with threads that have not been read. Every time I come in, I feel I must read each thread in chronological order. On good days (like today) I can get past this compulsion, while on other days I cannot and will spend hours reading through things that are not of any use to me.
I also find disorder a cause for anxiety. In fact, I have recently discovered that this disorder has been a leading factor into regular panic attacks (a story for another day). The overwhelming feeling to find or create order can be debilitating. For example, when my house is messy to the point I am bumping into things (like the kid’s toys) I become angry and pull out a garbage bag to throw things out. But when I start, I find that I need to separate the items into categories. The result is a bigger mess with me in a ball on the floor.
I will also create lists. Anything kind of list from To Do lists to lists of items we have in a certain part of the home. I do this at home and at work. Although the lists, like my attempts to organize things, is a way of relieving the anxiety, I am often spending hours creating and perfecting the lists I make. Of course, once they are made, I then feel it necessary to complete or reduce the list.
To summarize, I often create my own anxiety when attempting to reduce my own stress and anxiety.
Some people with anxiety say they have had issues with anxiety since they were children, other people say their symptoms started after a big life event or change. When did your anxiety symptoms start? What do you think may have triggered the anxiety symptoms?
I am curious to read about everyone's experience with anxiety.
Ashley, Health Educator