According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million Americans over the age of 18 suffer from anxiety. That’s about 18 percent of the population!
General worry over a situation is normal. But the way to tell if you have anxiety is to keep track of how much time you spend a day worrying and obsessing. If you worry around 55 minutes a day, that’s normal. If you worry over 300 minutes a day, you probably suffer from a type of anxiety.
Anxiety can affect everyone, but some personality types are more prone to it. For example, Type A personalities are generally competitive and ambitious, which makes them more at risk. Anxiety is also found in families, though whether it’s caused by genetics or upbringing is still being studied. Withstanding stressful life events can also play a factor, as can creativity, a high IQ, and heightened sensitivity levels.
Taking all this into consideration, there’s a good chance that someone you love is fighting an ongoing battle with the disorder. Maybe you’ve already fallen for this person.
Here are 8 things you can expect from someone with anxiety:
1) They Need Their Alone Time
People with anxiety are constantly worrying, which takes up so much energy that it can leave them drained at the end of the day (or maybe even the middle!). This is especially true for introverts, who are classically known to require time alone to recharge their emotional and mental batteries. Give them the time they need and don’t take it personally.
2) They Notice Everything
Anxious people over-think and over-analyze everything. They remember and replay conversations repeatedly, double-thinking the tone of your voice or the expression on your face. And possibly coming to a false conclusion, based on their own doubts and insecurities (which, consequently, haunt them). But, on the flip side, they also appreciate even the littlest of gestures, like bringing them flowers or playing their favorite song. A brief loving moment to help them forget their troubles means the world.
3) They Value Stability
Because people with anxiety already have enough to worry about, the last thing that needs to stress them is their loved one. Every day of their life is filled with ups and downs; you need to be a constant. They don’t expect you to be perfect, but they expect you to be there.
4) They’d Prefer if You Make The Plans
Figuring out what to do next is just one more thing to stress out about. Anxious people analyze every single possible way that events could go wrong and blame themselves for ruining the evening, if only they hadn’t picked the imperfect choice. Relieving them of that burden would be heavenly.
5) They Want You to Listen
One of the most therapeutic ways of managing anxiety is to, simply, talk about it. Anxious people do not want advice. They want your ear or even a shoulder to cry on. They need to let out all the conflicting feelings they’ve been holding inside. If they go for too long without talking about their problems, it can feel like their world is caving in. If you love them, listen to them.
6) They Know That Reason Doesn’t Always Win
Sure, it would be great if an anxious person could stop caring about, say, if her sister is going to get into a car accident. Her sister is a grown adult, passed driving school with flying colors, and hasn’t ever had an accident. But anxiety doesn’t care, even though all the logic in the world proves otherwise. It’s best to accept this.
7) They Have Odd Sleep Patterns
7 out of 10 adults with anxiety claim it affects their sleep. This can take the form of insomnia, or other sleep disorders. So don’t be surprised when you get a text or e-mail at 3am.
8) They Like Plans
If you love an anxious person, then you know the value of plans! Having a definite plan or list, something they can rely on, soothes anxiety. With firm goals in mind, they won’t have to worry about forgetting anything. And you won’t have to worry about anxiety rearing up its ugly head.
To learn more about what it feels like to have anxiety, check out the following video: