If you’re enduring chronic anxiety, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why is this happening to me?”
While anxiety is more common than you think, the unfortunate stigma around mental health has discouraged multitudes of diverse sufferers from talking about it or seeking treatment. This leaves you feeling as if you’re the only person fighting this battle. Seemingly isolated, you wonder why those around you seem to function without these thoughts. This leads to a place where you’re asking, “Why do I have anxiety?”
This important question is one that I hear often. If you’ve ever experienced anxiety, you might ask yourself…
Why am I feeling this way?
What brought this on?
Is this going to keep happening?
When it comes to anxiety, you may or may not be able to identify when or why it started. For some, anxiety is triggered by an event or experience. A few examples that I hear often include:
“I used to drive without a problem, but ever since that fender-bender last year I’m terrified to get behind the wheel again.”
“I never experienced anxiety before I had kids. Now I’m worried about something happening to them constantly. It’s like I’m living in fear every day.”
“Last time we stayed at a hotel I had a stomach virus. Now I get anxiety any time I step foot into a hotel. We haven’t been able to take a vacation in years.”
For others, anxiety comes on without any warning signs or any apparent triggers. General feelings of anxiety and/or panic attacks are experienced at random times, even when you feel perfectly fine. Some people even experience nocturnal panic attacks (panic attacks occurring in the middle of the night, waking you from sleep). Those with seemingly “random” anxiety often say:
“I was in a great mood all day. Then all of a sudden I started feeling nervous before leaving work. The feeling wouldn’t go away no matter what I did.”
“I fell asleep last night like I normally do and around 3am I woke up panicking. I was having trouble breathing and my heart was racing. Why is this happening?”
“Almost every day I wake up feeling anxious. Even on my days off of work, I can’t seem to start my day off feeling relaxed.”
Despite its pattern, chronic feelings of anxiety inevitably leave you asking “Why?” While the answer is different for everyone, here are some possible explanations for why anxiety has forced its way into your life:
You can thank your parents for this one! (Kidding). If anxiety runs in your family, you can be predisposed from the time you’re born. Early childhood experiences can affect this predisposition, which we will focus on in #2.
Physical health conditions, such as Diabetes or hormone imbalance, can also impact your anxiety,. Be sure to get a full physical from your primary care doctor to rule out possible conditions.
As mentioned above, certain traumatic events, even in adulthood, can trigger anxiety. This is especially important in early childhood. Experiencing events that are stressful or negative can increase your chances of developing anxiety, regardless of age.
3. Socio-Cultural Environment
Especially in the hustle and bustle Tri-State Area, a culture of work, stress, and anxiety is ever-present. Maintaining a sense of calm can be challenging when you sense chaos in your surroundings.
If you’re suffering from anxiety, a key first step is to better understand these challenging thoughts. Meeting with a counselor specializing in anxiety can help you understand the patterns of your thoughts. From there, learning coping skills can help reduce the severity and frequency of your anxious thoughts. Regardless of the source of your anxiety, there is hope to begin changing these patterns.