Globally, an estimated 1 in 10 people (792 million) is living with a mental health disorder. Of those, upwards of 284 million experience anxiety in one form or other.
If you have anxiety or wonder if you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder, you are definitely not alone!
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, here are 10 signs of hidden anxiety to look out for (and what you can do about it).
1. You don’t like talking face-to-face
If you can keep a conversation going for hours while texting or chatting online, but the thought of talking to someone (even a good friend) in person makes you tense or nervous, you may have social anxiety.
Other tell-tale signs include:
- trouble making eye contact
- can’t find the words to respond
- you want to end the in-person conversation before it even begins
2. You’re always self-conscious
Have you ever walked into a room and felt like all eyes were on you, scrutinizing and judging your every move?
Are you super self-conscious about the way you eat, or walk, or even talk?
This is another sign that you may have a hidden social anxiety disorder.
3. You’re easily upset or irritated
Mood swings, irritability, and temper tantrums are a normal part of being anxious. You may have high-functioning anxiety if:
- you feel like everyone and everything is rubbing you the wrong way
- you’ve been told you’re too sensitive
- your feelings are easily hurt
- you’re quick to get angry or upset over little things
4. You’re panicky or easily startled
Anxiety has a way of making you want to be in control of every little detail. But, unexpected phone calls, random knocks on the door, or emails with no subject can make you reel with panic.
Other symptoms of panic may include:
- you go into a tailspin whenever you’re caught off guard
- it’s hard to relax even when the smallest things don’t go as planned
5. You’re indecisive
While many people experience indecisiveness at one time or another, hidden anxiety may be the cause if you:
- have problems making simple choices
- can’t make up your mind because you worry you’ll make the wrong one
- can’t make a decision without thinking about it for hours on end
6. You overthink past conversations
You may be harboring hidden anxiety if you:
- get hung up on past conversations, even if months or years have passed
- over-analyze body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice
- you constantly think about what you should have said or done instead
7. You’re always making yourself busy
It’s common for people with anxiety to keep themselves occupied with lots of different tasks throughout the day, as sitting still can make them feel restless or on edge.
8. You talk down to yourself all the time
Living with chronic anxiety, especially if it’s hidden or suppressed, can make it hard to feel good about yourself.
Negative self-talk about not being good enough, or not deserving good things, may also be an indication you have anxiety.
9. You have a lot of negative thoughts
Are you a half-glass empty kind of person? Catastrophic thinking is yet another tell-tale sign of anxiety:
- you see the downside of every situation
- you get upset over minor inconveniences
- you’re constantly fighting a battle between panicked and rational thoughts
10. You experience physical symptoms
Sometimes anxiety can manifest itself physically. If you have a combination of the following symptoms, your body might be trying to let you know that you’re anxious.
- erratic heartbeat
- chest palpitations
- clenched jaw
- muscle tension
- profuse sweating
- shaking hands
If you relate to any of these 10 signs of hidden anxiety, don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed. Although it’s a natural part of being human, you don’t have to live with it in silence.
Ask for help! Here are some free resources (in the USA):
Panic Disorder Hotline: 1-800-64-PANIC (72642)
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
If you don’t want to talk via voice, here’s another option:
Text HOME to 741741 for free, 24/7 help for anxiety.
Watch the video below to find out if you have hidden anxiety.
Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone.
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