The Personal Cost of Anxiety

Merely Me Health Guide
  • When we speak of anxiety there are a whole lot of variations. One can suffer from phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety.  I can tell you from personal experience that having any type of anxiety disorder is no picnic at the beach. Anxiety can take a toll on all aspects of your life including your physical health, your relationships, your career, and your ability to enjoy life. In this post I am going to describe what losses I have endured due to anxiety and also suggest ways to prevent these losses.

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    My message to you: Don’t let anxiety rule your life. Don’t let it win.


    What I have lost due to worry and anxiety:


    1. Time


    Precious time. There is only so much of it. Guess what can waste time faster than watching a marathon of Keeping Up with the Kardashians? That’s right. Anxiety, worry, and ruminating. At the end of a worryfest I feel like Sally in the Halloween Charlie Brown special about the Great Pumpkin. You worry and wait for some magical revelation to come from your thoughts. In the end you feel cheated. You could have been doing other things but instead you sat in the worry patch and let the anxiety fester and grow. How many hours, days, and weeks do we waste in anxiety and worry? This is time we can never get back.


    How to prevent this from happening to you: We have written many posts on this topic and here are a few selections to get you started.


    How to Stop Ruminating


    Chronic Worry: Can We Choose Our Worries?


    When You Can’t Stop Worrying: Create a Worry Chest 



    2. Opportunities for Friendship and Connection


    If you suffer from anxiety and particularly social anxiety you may dread social events like parties, dinners, and get-togethers involving groups of people. It is a negative cycle in that the more afraid you are of these things, the less likely you will be invited and get that chance to connect. People with social anxiety are not “anti-social.” It is more a matter of feeling discomfort and fear in certain social situations. You may also lack the skills to feel at ease when socializing. In my life experience I have felt alienated for my reluctance to participate in things like social work functions or group activities. I have undoubtedly lost opportunities to connect and develop friendships due to my fears. I would never advocate for the socially anxious introvert to transform into a party animal. But I would suggest finding a way to ease your social anxiety so that you have more choices of how to connect with others.


    Here are some articles to help:


    Dealing With Social Anxiety at Work


    Social Anxiety and Dating


    How to Win Friends and Influence People When You are a Depressed Introvert



    3. Fun


    There is a French term, joie de vivre, which may be translated as the joy of living or a zest for life. When suffering from anxiety that feeling can seem mighty elusive. I have lost a lot of joy and fun due to my phobias. A common phobia I have is the fear of heights.  Amusement parks are the worst. I see friends waving and smiling from Ferris wheels and at the top of roller coasters. But there I am on the ground holding people’s purses or belongings because I refuse to go on such rides. I have turned down invitations for skiing (won’t get on the chair lift) or to see the view from a mountain. I am the designated stick in the mud that won’t do the “fun” things others want to do because I am scared.


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    I have had my share of successes, however, in confronting and overcoming my phobias.  I did force myself to climb high stairs to be able to go on water slides. For the first few attempts I wimped out and made it half way up and then went against the crowds to go back down. But then once I made it up and went for the ride on the slide I actually had fun. This was a huge step for me in overcoming my phobia even in that one specific situation.


    Don’t let your phobias ruin your chance to have fun. Here are some articles to help you in your quest:


    Treating Fear of Heights


    Facing Fears but Still Afraid


    Exposure Therapy for Simple Phobias


    Does anxiety hinder your enjoyment of life? What have you given up or lost due to your anxiety? How have you overcome some of these issues? Share your story here. We would love to hear from you!

Published On: December 11, 2011