Anxiety Disorder Or Regular Anxiety?


Something I’ve recently had to learn to differentiate is regular anxiety VS my actual anxiety disorders. Because I have generalized anxiety disorder, this can be a huge challenge. Still, it’s helpful for me to know when I’m having normal, my-life-is-really-busy-so-I-feel-stressed-out anxiety or actual I-shouldn’t-be-worried-about-this-but-I-am anxiety. How can I tell the difference? 

Why would I even want to know the difference, you may ask. Well, I keep track of my actual anxiety symptoms and highs and lows. This way I can figure out triggers and patterns, let me psychologist know, and work on those things. But at some point, everyone feels anxiety. My husband Jeff is the calmest person I know, but during exam season…yeah. He’s stressed. He’s a little anxious. Most people in university are. That’s normal. He has very clear periods of high stress, and then they go away.

But I don’t have that. I’m always stressed. I live in a constant state of anxiety, even during the low periods my anxiety levels are much higher than someone who doesn’t suffer from an anxiety disorder. Last year, I was in my fourth year of university, I was working on publishing a book, and I was engaged and planning a wedding. I was stressed. Wouldn’t anyone be?

Two years ago, I developed an intense fear of dying in my sleep. I would sleep with the lights on, the TV on, and usually on the floor. This only lasted a few months. Thankfully, my psychologist helped me through that. This was very clear anxiety disorder anxiety.

But right now, I  think I’m experiencing both and it’s hard to deal with. I’m in school, I’m newly married, I’m trying to work on my writing portfolio and I have a job. Yeah, I’m sure this would make even the most chillaxed person feel stressed out. But I started feeling stressed beyond normal levels. I started to feel hopeless. This is a big red flag telling me my stress is not just regular anxiety anymore. It’s moved into anxiety disorder territory. I don’t really know what to do with these multiple layers of anxiety. I still see a counsellor and I talk to my parents about it and I’m open with my husband about it, but I feel stuck.

I know how to deal with regular stress. I know how to deal with my anxiety disorders (heck, I’ve had them my entire life!) But this weird combination…what do I do with it?! I don’t have an answer.

I don’t really know why I’m even posting this. At the beginning of the post I felt like I had a clear direction but now it’s sort of turned into a muddled rant. The other day I was working (I work part-time as a children’s ministry intern at my church) and I had a breakdown in front of my supervisor. I NEVER cry in front of people. But I couldn’t hold back. That’s how you know it was serious. She told me I could stop working, but I refused, at least the work distracted me from the thoughts that I would never get the chance to rest again and my life would be a busy mess of work and school and volunteer jobs and relationship work and family relationship work for the foreseeable future.

Honestly, I think I just need a vacation.

2 thoughts on “Anxiety Disorder Or Regular Anxiety?

  1. The best thing you can do is pray. That used to be the last thing I think about whenever the anxiety would hit me but the more I pray, even if it’s bugged praying the same prayer over and over and over again, it brings me comfort knowing that God hears me and is always faithful. Keep reminding yourself of the truth. You were not given a spirit of fear but of power, love, and of a soundmind. No weapon, seen or unseen, formed against you will win. God is always always always at work for your good – not your downfall. You are courageous and you are powerful. Don’t let the devil sell you so short. You are awesome.

    1. Thanks so much for the encouragement :) I have been trying to spend extra time in prayer these past few weeks, and it definitely makes a difference on the rest of my day when I’m diligent in my devotionals.

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