Anxiety: Fear and Loathing in Grad School
It's Normal. Right?
Everyone experiences anxiety to certain degrees. Maybe you’re anxious about an upcoming test or giving a speech in front of classmates. That’s good! That’s “normal” anxiety. It can push you to succeed. However, when “normal” worry and fear turns into debilitating fear and worry that affects and/or takes over your life, you may have an anxiety disorder.
Signs of An Anxiety Disorder
- Constant, incessant, worrying.
- Inability to concentrate.
- Inability to relax.
- Startling easily.
- Sleep problems (either going to sleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much).
- Avoidance behaviors (avoiding things or place because you are scared).
- Physical aches and pains, stomachaches, headaches, trembling.
- Irritability (“Mental Health Information Toolbox: Anxiety”).
Additionally, you may also experience panic/anxiety attacks. Signs and symptoms of panic attacks include:
- Extreme terror.
- Feeling like you are “going crazy” or “losing control.”
- Feeling you are in grave danger.
- Feeling like you need to escape or “run away”
- Dizziness, palpitations, trembling, sweating, shortness of breath, chest pressure or pain, turning pale.
- Feeling detached from reality.
- Numbness and tingling sensations.
For a more complete list, visit The Anxiety Center. Like depression, these lists of symptoms are by no means exhaustive (trust me, I don’t think I can even begin to make a list of the feelings that I have gotten from anxiety. General anxiety and panic attacks can take on many, many different symptoms. See your doctor to discuss your symptoms.
Fun fact! One time, in the middle of an extreme panic attack, I literally thought my brain was going to explode out of the top of my head and through my ears. Yup. Sure did. I can laugh about it now, but it was certainly not funny then. I’m telling you: when I say anxiety can take on many different symptoms, I mean many, many different symptoms.
Heidi Ashcroft is a recent graduate of Central Michigan University’s English Language and Literature Master of Art’s Program. She lives in Midland, Michigan with her husband, Steve and their two dogs Rollie and Rudy. She enjoys walking with her dogs, snuggling with her dogs, and petting her dogs. She also enjoys the outdoors, reading, and spending time with friends and family.
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