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Right now, many of us feel more anxious than usual. Some of us are feeling a lot more anxious than usual. We’re thinking about how one bad thing could lead to another and yet another after that. It can feel paralyzing.

This level of anxiety is some people’s baseline.

Our current heightened experience of anxiety is similar to the consistent amount of anxiety that some people live with all the time. People with generalized anxiety disorder often feel this way for months on end, when there isn’t a global crisis taking place.

From the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health):

Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms include:
– Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
– Being easily fatigued
– Having difficulty concentrating; mind going blank
– Being irritable
– Having muscle tension
– Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
– Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep

Sound familiar?

This is a chance for us to build empathy towards people who regularly experience anxiety. We are becoming more familiar with how difficult it can be to carry on when you’re feeling anxious. We’re learning just how much effort it takes to work, study, and even just relax when you’re feeling anxious.

When life has gone back to normal — or at least, once the peak of the crisis has passed, our anxiety will hopefully begin to subside. But it won’t subside for everybody in the same way or at the same time.

We should remember how this feels so that in the future we can better extend our empathy and compassion to others who are grappling with anxiety, even once our own anxiety has passed.