As with everything in life, there are experiences within normal limits and outside of normal limits. Anxiety is no different.
Occasionally experiencing low levels of anxiety is actually healthy because it plays an important role in keeping us safe. That gut feeling that danger is nearby when we’re walking alone on a dark street is an example of how anxiety is our friend and our protector. However, it can turn on us very quickly and kick into high gear, even when there is no danger around.
Sometimes it feels overwhelming and all-consuming. It can keep us from concentrating on the task at hand or prevent us from engaging in social activities. That is anxiety outside of normal limits.
You like driving yourself places so you have an easy escape route, should you need one. You scan your environment for triggers and start formulating your Plan B. You look for bathrooms, exit doors, and friendly faces.
You are too stuck in your own head during social interactions to enjoy the conversations. More often, though, you just don’t leave your home because it’s easier than facing all the “what ifs.” You feel angry for finding the mundane and basic aspects of life tedious and debilitating and you feel sad that you’re missing out on what other people take for granted. You also probably feel hopeless, doubting that anything can ever change.
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