11 Honest Signs I Know I Have Anxiety, and Not Just ‘Stress’


This piece was written by Lauren Jarvis-Gibson, a Thought Catalog contributor.

1. I frequently find myself thinking and fretting about things that happened weeks or months ago.

I can’t seem to let go of things from the past no matter how hard I try to clear my mind. Whether it’s about an argument with a friend, or a confrontation I had with my boyfriend, it still runs through my head constantly no matter how long it’s been.

2. When I make a mistake at work, or even in my personal life, I have a hard time letting it go and beat myself up over it.

I despise letting others down, and when I do something wrong, I am my own worst enemy. I beat myself up over every little thing that a lot of other people would be able to let go of. No matter how many times people tell me that “it’s fine,” I don’t believe it.

3. I have trouble sleeping because I’m playing over the day I just had in my head relentlessly.

Whether it’s waking up in the middle night with worry, or if it takes me a few hours to go to sleep because I’m playing over every single thing I did the day before, that’s not just stress talking, that’s anxiety.

4. Out of nowhere, my throat feels incredibly tight and it becomes hard to catch my breath.

Sometimes, I feel like it’s hard to get air into my lungs. While some may think it’s something else, anxiety can truly have scary effects on your body that you may not even be aware of.

5. I’m constantly apologizing for the smallest of things that other people wouldn’t even think twice about.

I am the queen of overthinking every little detail and every little thing that could go wrong during my day. Even if something isn’t my fault, I find myself apologizing for situations that weren’t even mine to apologize for.

6. I have thoughts about your future at least once a day, and can’t seem to calm down about what’s next for me.

My future is a scary, scary thing to think about for me. I hate when people ask me what my plans are for the next few years and it makes me feel like I’m drowning. I feel like my life is this one giant race where I have to finish everything in time, and I put so much pressure on myself to hit all the right marks.

7. I am known to be a nail biter, and do it without noticing.

Sometimes I bite my nails, and I don’t even realize I’m doing it. These little nervous ticks may seem like it’s no big deal, but it’s a sign that my mind is on overboard and is running out of energy.

8. I avoid confrontation at all costs.

Even the thought of confronting someone or being confronted by someone else makes me feel queasy. When it comes to confrontation, I would rather go quiet and hide from everyone else to not have to deal with it.

9. Every once in a while, I feel a terrible sense of dread that I am in danger.

It could be on a plane, on my walk to work or even in my own home. Feeling a sense of panic or dread is a definite sign I’m struggling with something more powerful than stress. Panic attacks are not just a sign I’m overworking myself, it’s a true symptom of an anxiety disorder.

10. I have noticed I’ve been having digestion problems that seem to happen after stressful situations or encounters.

Another physical symptom that anxiety can plague me with is digestion troubles and stomach pains.

 11 Honest Signs I Know I Have Anxiety, and Not Just ‘Stress’

11. I wake up with racing thoughts and questions in my mind about the day ahead of me.

Anxiety is a never ending cycle of thoughts, worry and overall panic about what my life is turning out to be. If I’ve been having constant thoughts about the future, or even just tiny things that other people wouldn’t ever think twice about, that’s my anxiety talking.

Anxiety is an extremely powerful disorder, and it can have a major impact on your well-being and overall health. Don’t ignore your body, and the thoughts that you tell yourself in your head.

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