Adulting is hard. Being a teenager isn’t far off the scale as well. As a teenager, we’ve got to sort out a huge deal of stressful events, about to happen to us in a matter of months. First dates, college tests, potentially new friends and even getting our driver’s license within 1-2 years seems like a challenge. Add to that potentially deadly combo: Anxiety.
In short, anxiety is what happens when we get restless, worrying about what’s to come and experiencing hot flashes. Some get cold chills, numbness in hand movements, time seems to slow down but never stops. You find yourself stuck in a loophole, your mind is tricking you into fearing the worst of situations. The worst is that you find yourself feeling helpless, almost like you’re stranded in the middle of the big blue sea with no sight of ships or civilization anywhere in the horizon.
Extreme cases of anxiety involve feeling like you’re about to get a cardiac arrest, your mouth stops moving, you have tingles all over your body, just plain apprehension and fear. You think to yourself, is this how I die? Like, is that it?
Now see, anxiety doesn’t just come waltzing in our lives without impacting a few other symptoms. Some symptoms of anxiety such as fear of spiders (arachnophobia! EW!) can trigger depression in our minds. We’re so scared of that bugly eyed bug, in our minds our fear is doubled, making our blood pressure race and eventually sending us into full shock mode.
Although anxiety and depression are two majorly different psychological health disorders, anxiety may well be a symptom of clinical or even major depression. Certainly, a person who experiences anxiety of public speaking may fear speaking in public until developing depression involving this situation. It might make being in the public difficult to process for this individual, and sometimes this affected person may shy off from society’s eyes, fearing to be judged and talked about. It turns this individual from having anxiety, to being depressed and possibly experiencing social anxiety disorder. Anxiously attached adults experience greater depression, more severe social anxiety and avoidance and even have a lower life satisfaction as compared to other attachment styles in children and as they grow up to be adults.
I’m putting up all these situations like they’re all without joy and full seriousness, but sometimes, having a little bout of anxiety helps motivate and push us to do more. The same goes for stress, in excessive it is dangerous and health implicating, but in certain situations, stress can just be a motivator of success. It does help being anxious to get through some phases and events in our lives, such as the anxious feeling of presenting our exam report card to our parents, it validates the fear we feel. Somehow, we feel that by feeling some kind of fear or apprehension, it makes the event all the more important to do it right and well. Our anxious feelings to fail and disappoint our parents might push us to work harder and get that A’s.
The sun and moon are both present in the sky, albeit being there for separate reasons. Both can’t operate without one another, and that’s how its alike to anxiety disorders. There’re two sides of the coin; the good, and the bad. The yin and yang.
On the bright side of life, being either clinically diagnosed with anxiety or experiencing anxiety feelings in life makes you cherish the good times. The feeling of constantly experiencing highs and lows strive to highlight the highs, even the simple act of enjoying a good scoop of vanilla ice-cream with your best friend becomes not just a mundane, ordinary routine act. Rather, you hold this good memory in the highest regard, protecting and cherishing it. This becomes known in your mind as one of “good times.”
You never take life for granted, because you know how quick things can take a turn for the worst in split seconds. Being in relationships can be quite trying, as anxiously-attached individuals are more hypervigilant for rejection cues by partners and the fear of infidelity, or your partner leaving you, makes you take radical and unjustified actions. The matter of sifting through the justified and unjustified feelings can help you be a better person, for yourself and for the sake of your partner. More often than not, you might not pay attention to explicit details otherwise. In order to keep your mate by your side, women have been found to enhance their appearance, love and care while men strengthen public signals of possession and direct guarding. Having anxiety involves second-guessing and careful consideration of risks and challenges which serves well in leadership roles!
On the other end of the spectrum, being overly anxious in relationships does not help. Many anxiously-attached individuals are perceived to be manipulative, clingy, overly possessive and even appearing as mental/physical abusers. It certainly isn’t a positive factor in keeping relationships healthy and happy and puts a direct strain of keeping a satisfactory relationship. If an individual’s anxiety issues are not kept under lock and key or treated with the amount of care needed, a person’s rational justification on what is right and wrong can be hazy and blurred due to the need to win the person back. They may react negatively to breakups, and often take to alcohol and drugs.
Having anxiety doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person, or even a sick one. It may just be a warning sign that you need to pay attention to make some necessary and fundamental changes in your life. If a relationship you’re in is toxic and you end up feeling miserable, if the work you’re doing gives you more stress than pleasure, and if you end up losing sleep due to financial constraints, feeling anxious and apprehension is a sign to change. Use it as motivation to become the best version of yourself.