Anxiety Help and Support – Part 1


The Many Faces of Anxiety

… by Giovanni Dienstmann.

My mind often annoys me with useless thoughts, fears and worries. It holds me back from fully enjoying my life, and achieving my goals.” 

Is your mind full of noise, stress or anxiety? It need not be so.

Do I really have anxiety?

Some people think that “anxiety” is what you have if you can’t function in life, can’t leave home, are constantly paralyzed by fear, and need medication just to be able to live kind of normally.

That is only one of the faces of anxiety, in its most debilitating form. 

In a broader sense, anxiety is a very common mental pattern that affects millions of people, on one level or another. It’s a challenge to be overcome in our journey as a human being.

Here is another expression of anxiety, much more common but equally troublesome:

I wake up in the morning to the sound of my alarm clock. I Cannot believe that it’s time to get up already… I feel tired and de-motivated, as if I have barely slept.

The last thing I remember is rolling on my bed again and again, trying to fall asleep, while my mind is spinning fast with all sorts of nonsense. 

I don’t want to wake up right now. There are many challenges waiting for me, and I don’t know what to do. Stuff I have to figure out…

I worry about my financial situation, my mortgage, and my health habits. I think about my relationship, and how it may fall apart and leave me in a bad situation. I ask myself if I’m about to lose my job, and if I’m in the right place in life after all. 

There is sometimes a sense of guilt that I’m not being the best parent I can be. And also regret for not going after my goals consistently. This is not how I expected things to turn out for me, and I know I’m missing out on a lot. I just don’t know what to do about it.

Ah, and I will soon need to have that difficult conversation at work. I find myself repeatedly rehearsing it in my mind, and wondering what people will think of me. 

As I do that, I can feel a sense of tightness in my chest and shoulders, and a knot in my stomach. My heartbeat goes up. My mouth is dry. It doesn’t feel good.

This background noise of worry, stress and anxiety has been there for a while now. I’m not really enjoying where I am in life, and I rarely feel a sense of fulfilment at the end of my day.

I know that a lot of this doesn’t make much sense, and that many of my fears are irrational. But still I can’t stop it. It’s like my mind has a life of its own, and it doesn’t listen to me!

What’s wrong with me? Will this ever go away, or is it just the way I am wired?

[The alarm goes off again.]

If I could I’d call in sick, come up with an excuse, and take a day off to myself—to avoid all this mess. But even if I do that, my mind will not cut me any slack, so I’d better just get going and get busy with my day. Perhaps it will go away by itself…

— Diary of an anxious human

Does any of that sound familiar ?

Perhaps you struggle with similar challenges, but nobody can tell. They all think that you’ve got it all together. But inside you know that you are walking on thin ice. Simple things are not so easy anymore, and every day takes a lot of effort. You’re not really happy.

If any of that resonates, keep on reading. Having full clarity about the problem is the first step in solving it.

Is this really a big deal?

It is possible to live without anxiety. And, once you fully understand the consequences of anxiety, you will have the needed fuel to overcome it.

We know the physical symptoms that accompany anxiety: the heartbeat goes up, you may sweat or have a dry mouth, and there is tension in your body (usually chest and shoulders). Some also feel a knot in their stomach, dizziness, or agitated breathing. 

However, the mental and emotional symptoms can be harder to detect, as anxiety can show up in disguise. So let’s now pull down the curtains and understand this better.

Anxiety is often at the root of the following problems:

Procrastination & Avoidance

Anxiety triggers feelings of discomfort and fear in certain circumstances. To escape that you may go into avoidance, all the time convincing yourself that “you better not go”, “you don’t need to say that”, or “better not even try”. Or you may fool yourself saying “yes, I’ll do it later”, and procrastinate without end.

Addiction & Emotional Eating

Anxiety is a stressful emotional state. In order to escape it, you may engage in addictive behaviors that give you a short-lived relief from anxiety, but don’t really solve anything. Examples: drinking, gaming, shopping, internet addiction. These bring a lot of side-effects, damaging your health, wasting time and money, and draining your motivation.

Lack of Focus

When your mind is busy with so many thoughts, it is hard to make it focus on a single task for any amount of time. As a result, your work performance suffers, and also your ability to be present in your relationships and be a good listener.

Restlessness & Agitation

It has been said that “our mind is like a drunken monkey, jumping from branch to branch”. Anxiety is part of that fuel, making our energy move in a thousand directions, without a center and without rest.


It is normal to feel stuck in life when you are constantly anxious about what is going to happen. Whatever options you are considering, your mind focuses on the negative and tells you a bad story. There is a sense of wanting to get out of this, but you don’t know how. 

Low Energy

Thinking takes energy. Anxiety wastes your energy by creating thought spirals that lead nowhere, and repeat day after day. As a result, you have less energy available for the really important things in life.

Poor Sleep

A lot of people struggle with sleep problems nowadays. Anxiety keeps your mind busy at night, making it hard to fall asleep, and preventing you from sleeping deeply. You may have the best bed and night-time routine, but if you can’t relax and turn off your mind, sleep eludes you.

Low Self-Confidence

Anxiety makes you worry too much about your performance, what others will think about you, and what will happen. As a result, you lose confidence in yourself and in your abilities. You are not so sure about taking action and showing up, because you don’t want to risk failure and disappointment. There may be also a sense of low self-esteem, that “I’m not good enough”. 


When your mind is busy with anxiety, it becomes noisy and foggy. It is then harder to think clearly, see all your options, and make good decisions. As a result, you often make decisions that you later regret. Or you may fail to take advantage of the opportunities that come in your life.

Tension & Stress

Stress is often the cause of anxiety; but anxiety further spins the wheel of stress. Our own mind becomes a big source of stress in our life. On the other hand, tension in your body—especially chest, neck and shoulders—can be a symptom of underlying anxiety.


Anxiety can make you moody and less resilient. You have less space in you, because your mind is engaged with a lot of negativity. Things look worse than they actually are. Anxiety makes you feel that you are not in a happy place, the world is full of dangers, and things often go wrong. As a result, you get irritated more frequently, and become very reactive.

Insecurity & Self-Doubt

Anxiety may prompt you to constantly doubt yourself, feel that you are not good enough. It makes you overestimate the “dangers” out there, and underestimate your capacity to deal with the adversities of life. As a result, you feel disempowered.

Any one of the above challenges is already enough to make your life more difficult. They can affect your health, finances, work performance, and even your relationships.

If you are reading this page, you probably struggle with at least one of these challenges.

Maybe you got used to it. Maybe anxiety—although painful—became like a comfort zone for you. It’s “the hell you know”…

Please don’t do that! You are limiting yourself.

Life will be much better once you learn to overcome (or at least better manage) anxiety. It’s totally possible.  

In summary: 

  • Anxiety limits you in many ways—and it’s a bigger problem than you might have considered.

  • Overcoming anxiety will be a big shift in your life (more about that soon).

  • Overcoming anxiety is worth every effort. You owe it to yourself!

To learn more about the “way out” … continue to read Part 2 of this story

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