Am I Going Crazy?

January 23rd, 2013

By: Dr. Anoosha Avni
Registered Psychologist

“Am I going crazy?”

This is a question I’m asked every week by some of my patients. When people come to see me, they’re experiencing symptoms that are out of the ordinary for them: rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, stomach upset (peeing a lot or diarrhea), muscle tension, dizziness, headaches, irritability, insomnia, or lack of concentration. Some of my clients have experienced these symptoms for a few months while others have experienced them for many years. My answer is always the same:

No, you’re not going crazy.

The symptoms I’ve just described are typical of anxiety. Anxiety is the body’s natural response to danger. Think of anxiety as an automatic alarm that goes off when you feel threatened. For example, it’s normal to feel anxious or scared when you’re facing a challenging or stressful situation like an exam, a job interview, a presentation, a first date, or a confrontation with a friend, romantic partner, or co-worker.

Anxiety isn’t a bad thing in moderation. In fact, anxiety can help you stay alert and focused, get you going, and motivate you to solve problems. However, if your worries and fears are starting to feel overwhelming and are interfering with your daily life, you may have a problem with anxiety.

If you’re one of millions of Canadians who is experiencing the debilitating effects of anxiety, you’re not alone (though you may feel alone some days). You may think that nobody understands what you’re going through. You may have hidden the anxiety for so long that your family, friends, and co-workers would be shocked to learn that you’ve been struggling emotionally.

It’s important to remember that anxiety problems respond very well to treatment – and often in shorter amounts of time than you may think. While you may feel like you’re going crazy, it’s important to remember that you’re not. Help is out there if you’re ready.

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