What Anxiety Really Steals—The Personal Side

Anxiety steals your present and your future in different ways. It steals your present in that it affects your mind and body in the moment. If you are feeling anxious or thinking anxious thoughts, you are not fully engaged in the life that is unfolding around you. And you really cannot be, because you are focused on your thoughts, worries or the physical symptoms anxiety causes which can be almost debilitating in their intensity—things like heart palpitations, racing thoughts and cold sweats.

Anxiety also steals your future in that if unchecked it can send your mind reeling about all kinds of negative possibilities that may never occur. These powerful thoughts can scare you and emerge as negative physical symptoms like insomnia, heart palpitations and stomach pain. Unhealthy anxiety spinning out of control robs many of us of our present and future moments by negatively impacting our minds and bodies.

I have had my own struggle with anxiety and I have blogged a little bit about it before. There was a season of my life in graduate school where I was extremely busy going to class, working and interning…and also trying to navigate the “normal” parts of life like dating and buying my first house. At the start of my busiest season, I began waking up in a sort of panic each morning. You see, each day I had to be somewhere—school, work, internship site, etc.—and the days I went to some of these places differed each week. So, I would wake up already feeling anxious trying to remember where to go that day and that anxiety would linger at least through the morning until I got to wherever I was going.

During this same season, I would catch myself thinking of the next thing I had to do instead of being fully present in my current situation. For example, if I was spending time with my boyfriend at night, I was distracted by anxiously thinking about what I needed to work on the next morning. This went on for a few weeks until I felt like I was in some kind of fog and never fully connecting with the people right in front of me, including those I loved most.

This is how anxiety works. It steals your present and your future, if left untreated. This same anxiety even tried to mask itself in my own life as “being a good student” or “being a good worker”—always mindful of what is next. But the truth is, I was not being a good anything—friend, student, employee or partner. I was not fully engaged in any moment and I realized several weeks in life was passing me by and I was missing out on moments of life and beauty I would never get back. I talked to someone, I made some life changes and after that I slowly started regaining the ability to fully exist in each moment life has to offer with less worry.

Anxiety is real and can be powerful. Don’t let it consume your life. If you are struggling with anxiety, depression or any other mental health stressor, a trained and licensed mental health counselor can help you. Please call Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment.


Yolanda Brailey