Delayed Anxiety Response

Calming our body from the state of alarm that our delayed anxiety response has on us is important for our health. It’s been said that we store our emotions in our body and it can lead to health problems if we aren’t working on ourselves. Of course other factors play into health problems such as being mindful of eating quality nutrient dense foods, exercise, calming techniques, therapy, and etc. Talk to your Doctor about what works for you.

There are many techniques to experiment with calming our body before, during, and after anxiety sets in. Find what works internally and externally for you. The fear and tension from anxiety is an alarm for you to examine what you need. Is it time for yourself, reassurance from others, love, and/or some physical activity?

Often times being able to name our feelings and/or emotions can make our anger, sadness, and pain less intense. It can help us take a step back and contemplate what to do with the feeling/emotion. There are a lot of people who struggle with naming their feelings/emotions.

I found this interesting and thought I would share it from Indiana University School of Medicine

“Alexithymia literally means “without words for emotions.” People with alexithymia typically have trouble processing their emotions. For instance, they may not recognize when they are having an emotional response, or if they do, they may not be able to label or describe their emotions. Differentiating emotions can also be difficult. For instance, they may not know if they are angry, sad, afraid, or feeling some combination of these emotions; they may only know they feel unpleasant.

Dawn M. Neumann, PhD, is an associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Indiana University School of Medicine and research director at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana. She studies the challenges survivors of traumatic brain injuries face identifying and regulating their emotions.”

My Delayed Anxiety Response Story

Sometimes I feel my anxiety in the moment but sometimes it’s a delayed response. I can look calm, cool, and collected during a crisis and then it hits me later. Later could be the next day, week, or even month. I’m learning to process my emotions, how to name them, and feel my own feelings. I feel tense and unable to relax my muscles unless I’m sleeping and even then I’m not so sure I’m fully relaxed because I am a teeth grinder at night. 

Then when later arrives and I feel the effects from what happened, it’s the fear, overwhelm, and crippling anxiety that I sit with and am unaware how to process. I need someone to talk through it with me at the time I’m feeling agitated by it but don’t want to bother anyone. I’m often not even aware why I’m feeling frustrated out of the blue like that. I forget that I have that delayed response. I’m slowly becoming aware of why I’m feeling agitated by looking back to see if a chaotic event happened recently that is causing it.

I’m just now learning how to explain my delayed anxiety response. I feel like I’m in a constant flight and freeze state during a crisis or when I’m in a chaotic environment. I try to leave (flight) either by physically removing myself or by disassociating (freeze). Even though I may seem calm, cool, and collected in the moment; my mind and body are trembling in fear. 

All these years of not knowing how to feel my own feelings, name my emotions, and stuffing it all down. All the hurt, comments, remarks, projections, and pain. Delaying the process of feeling it in the moment so now I’m in a constant state of flight and freeze. Unable to fully relax my body to the point of back pain, muscle aches, digestive issues, TMJ, and autoimmune disease. I’ve stuffed it all down to the point that it affects my health.

This is why the toxic positivity our culture has leaned into bothers me. To just change our mindset and think positive thoughts doesn’t get to the core. That doesn’t help us to feel our feelings and know how to name our emotions so that we can process things when they come up. The ‘suck it up buttercup, it happens to everyone’ approach doesn’t help. Just say no to sucking it up, sweeping it under the rug, and pushing it all down to the point of health issues and/or addictions.

Although things happen to everyone that doesn’t mean we’re are all on the same healing journey. Two people can experience the same thing and one could develop PTSD from it and the other not. It’s dependent on what each has been through in their lives, the tools they implement, and the coping skills they’ve acquired. Also, since bad things do happen to everyone then why aren’t we advocating for more and affordable mental health care rather than belittling others?  

Do you have a delayed anxiety response when in crisis or in a chaotic environment?

I hope that my story has helped shed some light on different ways that we can walk through life and learn from one another. Maybe my story could help you, someone you know, and/or maybe my experience is good to hear because it’s relatable. Sometimes hearing someone’s story can help us process our own.

We just have to keep trying different things to find what will work for us. Remember that what may work for one, may not work for another. Hang on and keep trying!

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