What Do You Confuse Anxiety With?
What are some physical symptoms we get from anxiety? Heart beating quickly. Urge to release energy, but sometimes frozen. Tightening of the chest. Not being able to talk and so on.
When we experience any type of feeling there are physical symptoms that can come along with that feeling. The problem is when we start confusing anxiety with other feelings. This is a problem because if we truly aren't experiencing anxiety, but something else, that can sky rocket anxiety that wasn't meant to be there. So what is this something else you ask? Let me tell you...
Have you ever been given the opportunity you’ve been dreaming of your whole life? What feeling do you think would come after this has been given to you? I'll give you a personal example. My dream has always been writing and getting a children's book published and that just so happened to happen this past year! When I found out I was beyond excited. My heart began to race and I just felt a rush of energy hit me. These two symptoms are very similar to the symptoms I get when my anxiety is peaking. If all I knew were the physical symptoms someone was having and these were the ones they were having, it would be hard to say if this person was feeling excited or anxious. It's even sometimes hard to tell how you're feeling when you are in the situation.
As I began the editing process of my book with my editor, I started to feel my heart beat faster and my chest become tighter. I also felt an urge to release energy, but I couldn't figure out how to. I was frozen for a bit. Then I quickly assumed this was my anxiety coming in. These symptoms seemed to keep on coming up whenever I was thinking about the book. I started to worry about how I was feeling when I would think of the book.
The next time I saw my therapist I told her about this. The very first thing she said was, "Are you sure that's anxiety you're feeling?" I was beyond confused when she asked me this because everything we talk about in therapy is based around my anxiety. She then said, "Or are you just really excited?" The more I thought about it the more confused I became. She asked me what thoughts came along with these feelings and asked if that's an anxious or excited thought. Of course some thoughts were a mixture of both anxiety and excitement, but some of them were just excitement that I assumed were anxiety.
This has been a question that has seemed to make me have a better understanding of my own anxiety. It has made me question my thoughts and see where they are coming from. It has allowed me to be excited even if the physical symptoms feel like anxiety. I'm not sure how many people this will relate to, but if this resonates with you in anyway then I want you to ask yourself, "Am I anxious or excited or both?" I hope you have the same sense of relief that I did!