How do I know if I’ve got anxiety or something else?

You might be thinking, “surely it’s obvious when you’re anxious?” and I used to think that too. All through the years when I suffered from anxiety and depression and thought I was just suffering from depression.

Until very recently, what I thought were warning signs that my depression was on its way I was actually, I now know, suffering from anxiety. It was not dealing with the anxiety that led to the depression.

It wasn’t until my doctor mentioned in passing that I had anxiety that I even gave it a thought. Once I’d had a chance to google it everything became clear – and I have to admit I felt a bit of an idiot.

The coping strategies I had developed to deal with the onset of depression (that, if I’m completely honest, only really served to delay the inevitable) were no use against anxiety. I had to learn what the signs of anxiety were, how they applied to me, and what best to do about them.

So I know how easy it is to not recognise that you’re suffering from anxiety, and I also know that there are a lot of other conditions that have anxiety as a feature or have similar symptoms – take a look at my blogpost “what is anxiety” for some examples.

So what are the symptoms of anxiety? Here’s a list of symptoms used to diagnose Generalised Anxiety Disorder. The more often you experience these symptoms the more likely it is that you are suffering from anxiety, so Doctors ask you to rate how often you have experienced these symptoms in the last 2 weeks, from Not At All, to Several Days, to More Than Half The Days, to Nearly Every Day

  • Feeling nervous, anxious or on edge
  • Not being able to stop or control worrying
  • Worrying too much about different things
  • Having difficulty relaxing
  • Being so restless that you find it hard to sit still
  • Getting easily annoyed or irritable
  • Feeling afraid that something dreadful might happen

Obviously there’s no substitute for a professional diagnosis, so if you’re experiencing these symptoms regularly then I implore you to seek medical help if you haven’t already done so.

Whether your anxiety is mild or severe and whatever formal diagnosis you have, there are always things you can do to lessen the impact anxiety has on you. Check out this post where I share my top 5 tips for managing the symptoms of anxiety

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