While I’ve improved how I manage anxiety over the years, there are plenty of ways my anxiety manifests that I’ve never been able to get a handle on. No matter how much I try to manage anxiety in every possible area of my life, there always seems to be something that makes me anxious. Once I see what that something is, I work to manage that anxiety or try to problem solve as best I can. But when that problem is solved, it seems like something else pops up in its place that also makes me anxious. So why does this happen, and what can we do about it?
Generalized anxiety disorder is a very tricky diagnosis. When I first started researching it, I was actually relieved about receiving that diagnosis – to me, this meant my anxiety wasn’t connected to a specific aspect or area of my life. But that relief turned to panic when I realized what that meant. Instead of having a specific area of anxiety in my life, I applied it everywhere, even when (especially when, as it turns out) I was doing something common or routine.
How do you manage anxiety when it can come from anywhere and everywhere? What do you even know what to look for? Do you look for anything or everything? I didn’t really know what I was doing, so I decided to do more research. According to the Mayo Clinic,
Generalized anxiety disorder includes persistent and excessive anxiety and worry about activities or events — even ordinary, routine issues. The worry is out of proportion to the actual circumstance, is difficult to control and affects how you feel physically. It often occurs along with other anxiety disorders or depression.The Mayo Clinic
Early on in my mental health journey, defining anxiety was hard. I was driven to try and name my anxiety and call it out when I felt a certain way. I thought that if I could identify those moments, I could get rid of them. What I failed to realize was that it wasn’t that I had anxiety and worry while others didn’t, it was just that my worries and fears were much more common and felt more. It wasn’t just quantity – it was the quality of my anxiety that made me feel different.
When it comes to my anxiety, it will always be something. And once I fix it, it will be something else. That still causes panic from time to time, but I take heart in knowing that with human beings, there’s always something going on.
My parents used to say it a lot – “there’s always something going on.” I didn’t always believe them, but now I do. Whether it means that yet another task to accomplish or another person to connect with, I’ve learned that’s partially what adulthood is. But I’ve also learned that for me, that’s my anxiety is. It’s always something – and I’m learning how to deal with that in a new way every day.