The signs were there all along, unfortunately.
Living with anxiety is often terribly debilitating, and in most cases, anxiety goes undiagnosed for years until one episode pushes you over the edge causing you to reach out for answers. For myself, I was finally properly diagnosed in my mid-twenties. It was a tough pill to swallow. Looking back, I realize the warning signs were there all along.
Anxiety isn't just an illness; it's an actual chemical imbalance within the brain that causes its patients to think differently than that of someone who has normal brain function. Everything feels different, is dissected differently, and the ability to process things rationally takes real effort and convincing within your own mind.
If you grew up with anxiety, you probably faced these all too real struggles, many of which are probably still relevant today.
1. You're more sensitive than others.
Whether it was being teased by your peers or handling a hard grade on a test, you took things harder than how you observed most people to handle bad news. It's because to you, bad news isn't just bad news, it's the end of the world, and the worst emotions have always taken front and center in your mind.
2. You think everyone is always judging you or talking about you.
When you walked by a group of classmates or peers talking or laughing, you automatically assumed it was about you. They don't like you. They hate your outfit. They think you're a loser. Your mind races and you assume everything is about you because the fear of being an outcast was overwhelming from a young age.
3. You avoid social interaction at times because it overwhelms you.
There have been times where you just couldn't muster up the energy or courage to go out and face social gatherings or large crowds. Social gatherings in high school always gave you high anxiety, and sometimes those same tendencies creep into your adult life.
Sometimes you'll stay cooped up in your bedroom or living room for days because the mere thought of social interaction makes you want to retreat further into your own isolation.
4. You need more reassurance of feelings in your relationships.
When you started having relationships in your life, you needed reassurance a lot about how the other person felt about you. You would find ways to get your partner to show or state affections and, when they wouldn't respond to your liking or took a long time to get in contact with you, it made you freak out with fears that they were going to break up with you.
It proves difficult in your adult dating life as well. Although with time you've learned that your fear of abandonment and rejection is mostly the anxiety talking, you can't help but struggle to feel security in your love life.
5. You're always prepared for the worst to happen.
When you've suffered from anxiety for a long time, you're always prepared for and fear the worst possible outcome. It's always been a struggle for you to rationalize probable reality from the worst case scenario. You've always assumed the most dramatic conclusions to basically everything in your life.
6. You live in fear of uncontrollable situations.
When you had to take a test or get a regular check up at the doctor's office, you've always had a persistent fear of matters that are out of your control, and it drives your anxiety absolutely wild. If you've grown up with anxiety, you're definitely no stranger to feeling like you need to control everything, and when you can't it only aggravates your situation that much more.
7. You overanalyze every situation heavily.
Every single thing that happens to you is open to interpretation and gets heavily dissected. When someone tells you they like your hat, you'll question why, assume they were joking, or assume that they had an ulterior motive. You've always had a hard time accepting things at face value.
8. Being confident is really f*cking hard.
Confidence is something that you've truly had to work at in your life. You've probably been constantly told to be more confident, but it's hard for you to do because there's always a lingering fear in your mind that someone is judging you.
Even when you do behave confidently, you silently fear that you're being judged for being too arrogant or that you're coming across narcissistic. Confidence is a huge struggle to anyone who deals with anxiety. You just can't win no matter what you do.
9. You have a hard time moving past difficult life hurdles.
It's always been harder for you to move past significant life hurdles you've faced in your life. It's not that you don't want to move forward, it just takes a bit longer for you because you constantly dwell in a regret of the past and a fear of the future. You overanalyze yourself and others to the point that it stalls your progress to move forward.
It might take some time, but you do eventually push through it. If you've grown up with anxiety, it's been a tough battle, but as you get older you have started to feel more of a control over your illness. You might not ever be fully out of the darkness of it, but you've grown since your upbringing and will continue to do so. Hang in there.