Sometimes people will know they’re anxious. They’ll even say things like ‘I’m too anxious to do that’, they will worry all the time, always see the negative, lie awake unable to sleep, rerun conversations, even have panic about travel or groups of people etc. and yet they endure.
What is it that makes it so easy to stay stuck in anxiety?
Here are five of the most common factors I see around this.
1. Fear of admitting the truth. This is the biggest. Anxiety makes us worry about people finding out we’re anxious. ‘They’d think I’m mad if they knew’ is a common feeling.
We also don’t want to admit it to ourselves. It’s easier to think something just ‘isn’t for us’ or ‘I’m introverted’ and so on than to admit we’re anxious.
That feeling of ‘I can’t let on I’m anxious’ throws up all sorts of barriers to getting help. Every excuse is leapt on and made to feel bigger than it is. It plays games like ‘I need to look after everyone else first’, ‘I have to spend the time or money on my family rather than me’ and other well-meaning or at least well-meaning sounding options.
The truth is we are only going to be able to help others long-term if we’re able to – and we need to look after ourselves to be able to do so.
Pretending it’s not an issue is the single biggest issue keeping people in anxiety – often for decades.
After decades of anxiety I got out of it easily and quickly, but only when I acknowledged the truth that I needed some help with it.
2. Fear of being labelled and it being like bad news from a doctor. How often do people feel ‘what if I’m told it’s something bad?’ and shy away? I think a lot of people worry that they will be labelled and not helped.
3. Lack of awareness that it can change. When raging over small things, obsessing on what people said or meant, or twisting myself into a knot of worry I had no idea anxiety can change. That lack of awareness was a huge barrier to getting help. Not trying was certainly the worst choice I ever made but I wasn’t aware that it could change.
People seem unaware that anxiety can change in general. I had no idea it could during the decades I suffered, yet the world is full of people talking about how they used to be anxious but are not any more. From celebrities to testimonials on therapist’s websites, to people we know, there’s loads of evidence that change is very possible, yet people don’t seem to notice it, perhaps because of the 1st point above.
4. Uncertainty as to what works best to help it. It turns out for most people there are many options. It’s a question of which fits best for us. From tried and tested options to new cutting-edge options there are a great many useful choices out there. All of them work for some people, but some are certainly better than others when it comes to anxiety.
My advice is that seeing someone who suffered anxiety themselves is a huge advantage. It removes all the ‘they’ll think I’m mad’ stuff as they will have had that too, and that sort of 1st hand experience is not something you can ever learn. The insight they will have makes a massive difference.
For me it was just a little therapy with someone who understood anxiety that made all the difference. I went from super anxious to calm and relaxed in just a few months. And I’m so grateful I tried it when I did. There are options, but we must try.
5. Fear of wasting money. The anxiety will create heightened worry about all aspects of life, so this is no different. I did worry a lot about money, and about would it work. But oddly I seemed to worry more about trying for change than the less important things.
Some things we spend more money on than what a full course of therapy costs are; a sofa, a gaming laptop, high end TV’s, Large fridge freezers, a weekend away, most family holidays, and so on.
I was quicker to spend money on things like these than on getting over decades of anxiety.
When I think about it every car I ever bought could have given opportunity. Most times I could have bought a car that was a year or two older and have saved way more than I needed to overcome my decades of anxiety, yet for some reason we spend like mad on big ticket things but hold back from looking after ourselves.
We spend money each year on car maintenance, but we expect our minds and bodies to run perfectly without any maintenance. Yet we abuse our minds and bodies with the wrong food, lingering in anger, frustration, worry and so on all the time.
The money I spent getting over decades of anxiety created the greatest change and positivity in my life ever. No holiday ever made a difference like it. No newer car, no laptop, no piece of technology or even education or qualification came close to the difference it makes.
I can enjoy life, I can also earn a better income because
I’m not holding back. I can be here for my family in better ways, but I recognise it’s hard to see this at the start of the process.
We only get to make change when we try. We must put that in perspective and look at it rationally rather than simply through fear.
So, my advice is to look at any anxiety/stress/overwhelm/worry in life and ask yourself a couple of questions:
1. How much easier would life be without it?
2. Who’s lives would be improved by reducing those issues? Yours, family, colleagues, etc?
3. Am I holding back from admitting the truth to myself? (If yes, that’s choosing to stay anxious)
4. Am I holding back afraid of being labelled or judged? (If yes, that’s choosing to stay anxious)
5. Was I unaware anxiety can really change? If so check out these examples: (TESTIMONIAL LINK)
6. Am I holding back because I’m not sure what’s the right answer for me? If so, do some searching, see what resonates and who has experience helping the issue. Then try something. Not acting is guaranteed failure.
7. Am I obsessing about the money? Look at it like any investment. Weight up the options, but don’t ignore the cost of inaction (I see people avoiding jobs, promotions, family, friends, social events etc because of anxiety. This has a real cost in life too.)
There are many options to get better, but we must see what stands between us and them to make change.
Don’t be afraid of acknowledging what’s there, that’s the most important step in building a better life.
I’m always happy to chat about how life can improve. Feel free to get in touch if you like.
Change is easier than you think.
Have a great week,