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Do you feel more anxious as you get older?

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I am in my mid-thirties, so not old yet, but I feel like I am more anxious in general than I used to be.

 

When the sandy hook shooting happened, my oldest was in first grade at a public school. I cried and cried and was so sad for the families, but I never worried about sending my own first grader to school. Today one of my first thoughts was that none of my kids are going to public school (I know that isn’t rational).

 

I used to love flying. I still fly, but it makes me more nervous than it used to. There are lots of things like that. My Dh deployed several times in a war zone and I really never worried about him. I think I’d he deployed again I would be nervous.

 

Is this a normal part of getting older? Having more knowledge of bad things that can happen and feeling less invincible? Or is it just a mom thing to worry?

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I vote that it's a mom thing. Thirties were very anxious for me - I was in charge of four children! Now that I've graduated two and launched one, and stared down all of that - plus lots of other long term stuff which was impossible to control - I'm myself again. I couldn't stay high anxiety full time, after all of that.

 

I'm still raising kids so I still have my moments, but overall I have relearned how to let some stuff go. If I ever return to a state wherein I can't make a choice to dial down the anxiety, I will get some help.

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After 7 years of taking the smallest dose possible of an ssri, I've recently began increasing it due to my anxiety levels climbing. Diligent self-care has allowed me to get by with that minimum dose, but no longer. My doctor attributed it to aging and hormones (I'm a decade older than you though).

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I'll be 35 in a couple months, and it seems like I can more easily name the things that are driving my anxiety.

 

I almost passed out reading A Wrinkle in Time to the kids this afternoon and then was crabby and snippy and my heart was racing all evening. All because I cannot handle anyone riding on the back of flying horse creatures. Every time I close my eyes I see one of my precious kids (or me) sliding off and the dumb Pegasus or whatever doesn't notice. I won't be sleeping well tonight.

 

A few years ago I wouldn't have been able to make the connection and see this whole day as anxiety overload to a specific trigger. I would have chalked it up to PMS or too much junk food. Or maybe I didn't hate flying ponies back then, who knows.

 

ETA: The school shooting doesn't help. Teenage psychopaths are another major anxiety trigger for me, but the flying horse thing happened first today.

Edited by BarbecueMom

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I was never afraid of anything until I had kids. Then I was afraid of everything. I would say my anxiety peaked in my 30s and has leveled off a bit in my 40s. Maybe it's just as high but I handle it better?

 

Sent from my Z988 using Tapatalk

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I've actually found that my anxiety has decreased these last few years (I'm in my 40s).  But I battled anxiety for a long time.  I have been a major worrier since I was a child and was treated for anxiety at different points in my 20s and 30s. So, I completely understand how debilitating it can be. I am so grateful that I don't struggle with it anymore.

 

I am sorry that you are dealing with this!

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I vote that it's a mom thing. Thirties were very anxious for me - I was in charge of four children! Now that I've graduated two and launched one, and stared down all of that - plus lots of other long term stuff which was impossible to control - I'm myself again. I couldn't stay high anxiety full time, after all of that.

 

I'm still raising kids so I still have my moments, but overall I have relearned how to let some stuff go. If I ever return to a state wherein I can't make a choice to dial down the anxiety, I will get some help.

Tibbie, as always, has wise words.

 

I am a “two-seasons†mother. I had two children, spent seven years without new babies, then had two more children. I tend to be more anxious with my older two, but more relaxed with my littles. Life has brought me many high-anxiety times, and I’ve learned that somehow, things seem to sort themselves out. Often in ways I couldn’t imagine, always in ways I couldn’t anticipate, but we manage. I ask myself, what’s important? Then I let all the extra stuff go.

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In the examples you gave I think it could be that it has to do with the state of the world combined with being a mom. Like, hearing about more shootings since then. With flying, there's more to be anxious about in a way... for me, it's like oh great can I get my shoes off fast enough in the security line and will I need to make a request to be pat down so I don't have to enter the cone of cancer (I just think it looks scary as heck).

 

I'm on the highest does of my ssri now. I think for the most part it has made a difference. I don't know if that should be comforting or not! lol. I don't want to feel dependent on it long-term. I raise my voice less and brush things off easier lately.

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Yes, definitely. I feel that I have reasons to be anxious but I wish I wasn't. At least I don't often get panic attacks like I did in my twenties.

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Definitely. I was pretty fearless in my 20’s. I loved to travel, I taught overseas for a couple of years, I did all sorts of things, now, i’m Afraid to do anything!

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I was quite anxious for a long time--travel freaked me out. And then I mellowed. Only this evening I am absolutely freaking out about an eye surgery consult tomorrow! I've had a zillion surgeries, so I don't know why this one is being so tough. And tomorrow's appointment is just a consultation! The video they sent said I could ask for something to lessen the freak out, and I'm going to ask for it.

 

I do okay not freaking out about the kids so much any more, until dd is deployed. It's going to be tough again. And then the next one will deploy, and then the next. I think I'll have to lock myself into a padded cell if they all deploy at the same time!

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Not really. I am not prone to anxiety though so that may explain it. I am more worried about end-of-the-world scenarios than I used to be. I think it is due to recent political developments but it may be that I am just paying more attention than I used to. Still, it is more an intellectual worry than anxiety so not sure that counts.

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Yes. Some things make me very aware. I used to love roller coasters and my whole family enjoys amusement parks. In my thirties I started getting to skittish to ride the thrill rides. In my forties I have a hard time enjoying watching my kids ride. Just so many things that could go wrong. I deal with it because I don't t want to ruin the fun but it isn't fun for me.

 

A couple family members are flying today and that will have me anxious. I worry about car accidents a lot.

 

Other things, such as health related issues, don't worry me much at all. Nor do I worry about being a crime victim though I have others in my life with that worry.

Edited by teachermom2834

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No.

 

I'm more able to see our immediate times in the context of history. It's powerfully calming for me to realize there truly is nothing new, and still progress marches forward.

 

I'm in my mid 40's and I have to say I'm far more self assured than when I was younger. I didn't find anxiety to be a part of raising a young child, nor do I as he is becoming a young adult. Sure there are the ever evolving normal parenting concerns, but true anxiety hasn't been part of that.

 

I do think we go through phases in our lives where we experience emotions differently or more intently than other times. It's all part of the normal evolution of our individual selves (unless it becomes incapacitating, of course--that's a different thing altogether and requires attention).

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I'm 55 and much less anxious than I used to be. If my child-self were a child now there's no doubt I would be diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. I was diagnosed with it as an adult and I've been on medication a couple of times during high stress life situations. But in the last few years I've gotten significantly better, despite being in an incredibly stressful situation currently (DH was diagnosed with cancer last summer). I credit the improvement to gaining life experience/perspective over time and to secular Buddhist philosophy. Mindfulness really works.

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I was never afraid of anything until I had kids. Then I was afraid of everything. I would say my anxiety peaked in my 30s and has leveled off a bit in my 40s. Maybe it's just as high but I handle it better?

 

Sent from my Z988 using Tapatalk

 

This describes me.

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I've never been one to be anxious or worried, and I think I'm just the same -maybe slightly less anxious now vs younger years. I find I 'shelve' stuff better because we've been through a lot and it has always worked out okay before, so it will again. 

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It is a life experience thing, and a changes-to-one's-own-body-and-body-chemistry thing.

 

I have found that I am much more aware of certain dangers than I used to be, especially dangers to kids, but my awareness of the dangers to kids started before I ever had kids of my own; it started when I started babysitting.

 

I have also learned from working with other people (kids and adults) to let go of MY idea of how things should be and accept that there are other ways that are just different.  Not necessarily better, worse, quicker, slower -- just different.  We can accommodate differences and even enjoy discovering them.  Difference is not a reason to get fussed.

 

I have gone through some pretty serious stress, angst, and fear in my life due to certain events.  Living through these events has helped me become more grounded in the face of other sudden surprises, so I am less likely to panic and more likely to see SOMETHING to do.

 

Over all I am more settled, more confident, less worried about things, and I see this trend continuing.

 

However, there are certain anxieties that have arisen that I did not used to have.  I live in an area with lots of spaghetti roads (high, curving overpasses and ramps between major highways), and many of them I will avoid like the plague, adding 20 minutes to my drive just to avoid those interchanges.  I used to live in the mountains, but now the old familiar mountain roads are scary to me in places, due to the drop offs I used to think nothing about.  It is not experience that has taught me this fear -- something in my body chemistry has changed, and I now get something like vertigo when presented with a perceived falling threat.  Even a stairway with one side walled and one side railed but otherwise open to the air can set this off and I find myself hugging the wall if I don't have an alternative and must take the stairs (it gets really bad if both sides of the stairs are open-railed).  I can no longer ride even a small Ferris Wheel, which used to be my favorite ride at any carnival.  A certain wonderful 2nd floor overlook at a certain science museum I simply cannot approach.  I would like to visit the Grand Canyon someday, but I do wonder how I will handle the experience.

 

 

If you are experiencing changes in your anxiety levels over anything it can be worth talking about it with people.  Sometimes life events trigger anxiety, and sometimes it's changes to the body and brain that come into play.  I have a formerly highly confident friend who is now battling PTSD and anxiety.  My Dad received a traumatic brain injury 25 years ago -- watching his progress over the years has been interesting, but his aging body and further developments in his brain makes him a much different, less certain person now than he has ever been.

 

 

The best way to handle worries, both short-lived and longer-term, is to talk about them with people you trust.  Get others' perspectives.  Feeling like you are all alone in the worry makes it far worse, and much tougher to deal with.  Don't let age (young, old, or any age) be an excuse to blow off concern about your concern.  There may be underlying reasons for inexplicable worrying, or it could simply be your way of working through something new.  Either way talking it out with others can help you process things, and could help identify when further investigation might be warranted.

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In my forties and I feel less anxious about most things. I've never been a very anxious person, though. 

Like AMJ--those little rocky roads with major drop-offs into rivers below and nothing between me and the edge-- :scared: . Never did like them and yes, that dislike is more intense now than it used to be.

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I became significantly less anxious after we dropped cable and I started getting my news online rather than watching TV. It's so sensationalized and watching it is IMHO bad for people's mental health.

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As you get older, you start to actually know people to whom bad things have happened.  I know personally a man who was in a motorcycle accident and hasn't walked in 9 years from it.  I know women who were raped.  I know people who had intruders in the house while they were there.  I know people who were mugged.  I know people whose children have died. I know people who have died from medical malpractice. I know people who went to trial and were given a bad verdict that was entirely undeserved and their finances are in shambles now and will probably never recover. Not "know of" these people.  I know them.

 

When I was younger, I heard about those things, but didn't personally know the victims by name and have them in my house for a visit.

 

I don't think I feel anxiety, but I am not like I was in my 20s where I figured, "Oh, everything will turn out ok!"  I know now that everything doesn't always turn out ok.  So I'm more cautious and thoughtful and likely to avoid things I wouldn't have avoided in the past. 

 

For example, I met my husband because I liked motorcycles and he took me for a ride on his and we used to ride a lot in our twenties.  But now I will never, ever ride a motorcycle again.  Ever.  

 

So...not anxious, but very, very cautious.

Edited by Garga
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I am in my 50s now, and am less anxious than when I was in my 30s.

 

In my teens, I was fearless to a fault.

 

In my 20s, I was wrapped a bit too tight.

 

In my 30s, I had some anxiety. I think it was the "normal" kind that comes with raising a family.

 

In my 40s, two very, very bad things happened to our little family. And once those things were behind me, I have not had much anxiety. Because I realized that I even though I had been worried about the possibility of A and B (ok, and C and D...), the bad things that actually happened were Y and Z. Neither Y nor Z were things that I had been particularly worried about. And yet there they were in my lap. The unpredictablity of it all reframed my perspective. And I now have less generalized anxiety than before.

Edited by Penguin

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I'm not sure anxious is the right word, but as I get older I feel more responsible for things, and that gives me pause. Take homeschooling: when my dc were small, I had no concerns whatever about it. I was absolutely sure that I was the best person to teach them and that if I followed my instincts everything would work out for the best. I do a lot more second guessing now, and relying on experts, than I used to. Whether that means I'm more nervous or more wise, I'm not sure. 

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Yes, I have a little.  It's not bad, but I think about things going wrong that I never used to.

 

For me I think it's largely related to a more concrete sense of my, and by extension others, mortality.

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I became significantly less anxious after we dropped cable and I started getting my news online rather than watching TV. It's so sensationalized and watching it is IMHO bad for people's mental health.

 

I hear you. I can hardly handle it when I visit my parents. It's on all the time. My mom watches it a lot. I don't know how she stands it. It could be anything, from politics to crime. I don't want to seem like I live under a rock, but I also just don't want that in my face all the time. I read things online and can skim content or pause videos if it's upsetting or whatever.

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Yes. My anxiety levels go into overdrive when I'm pregnant but, overall, my baseline anxiety level has been rising as I get older. I'm going to have to consider medication soon.

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Definitely. The older I get I find myself worrying over things, sometimes with a sprinkle of absurdity. It doesn’t hinder my ability to make rational decisions, but I often have conversations with myself reassuring me that it’s going to be just fine. When my kids go to summer camp I worry about shark attacks, drownings, kidnappings. I don’t burden them when these thoughts, but they all run through my mind. I feel like my behavior resembles a great grandmother, nervous and jumpy. It makes me crazy. I used to be so relaxed (or oblivious?) and rather fun and cool. Now I’m almost 47 years old going on 130.

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I’m getting less anxious. I think I’m running out of stuff that shocks or upsets me and re-reacting to old stuff takes more emotional energy than I’m willing to muster.

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Yes. I, like a previous poster was relatively fearless in my 20s. Postpartum with my first, was my first experience with bad anxiety (I was convinced someone was going to rappel down from the roof of our condo building and break into our 3rd floor apt and kidnap dd) but it did level out mostly. But it came back hard in my early to mid 30s and I just lived with it for several years. It was very limiting. I finally talked to my doctor and she prescribed an anti-anxiety med that has made a world of difference. I'm so thankful for it. I'm in my early 40s now.

Edited by guilfordlake

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I'm 41. I've never been anxiety prone. I had a bit in different situations, but overall, not much and probably less than most people. I have far less anxiety now. Like zero. I just can;t get worked up over stuff. Life has been hard and we're still here. 

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I have generalized anxiety disorder but I don't even think I would be diagnosed with that now or in the last one and half years.  Perimenopause for me was absolutely terrible but I am past that now (55) and overall my anxiety has dropped almost to nil.  Though my fear of heights has gotten much worse.  When I was a kid, teen and up to my early 30;s, I didn't mind going to very tall buildings like the Empire State Building or the St. Louis Arch.  In my 40's, I couldn't make it up past the first level of the Eiffel Tower.  I was so scared.  About 7 years ago, I waited downstairs of the CN tower while my dh and daughters went up.  I have no issues with mountains or flying but buildings are super hard.  I have been able to walk on bridges across rivers even though they were kind of high up so I don[t really understand my fear but it doesn't affect me at all -just I won't be going up the St. Louis Arch again if we visit St. Louis.  

 

My kids still can affect me very negatively,.   I have two that are quite anxious and can infect me.  I am less infected now than I would have been but it is still more than I want.  It was really bad before the Presidential election with both of them arguing we are all going to die type scenarios with one more on one side and the other more on the other side (neither one was pleased about either of the people running as I wasn't either).     But I turned off news except local news and mostly read it and not even that much.  It helped with my anxiety.   Deciding to use more of my time to pray also helped a lot.  I now spend my time praying about situations and for people instead of worrying about how much worse things can get.

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I survived today! Long eye exam (3 hours) to find out that not only do I have cataracts, but I have glaucoma! And I went to visit a friend who almost died on Sunday due to a car accident, which involved having to use a parking garage. Did I mention that parking garages give me anxiety attacks? I managed. We had to rearrange with surgeries several times, around dh's oncology hospital visits, and ended up with the first one scheduled for the Scout District Awards gig that I'm hosting. Oh, well. I won't be there. And then I drove home--hardly seeing anything because 1) I have cataracts and 2) my eyes were dilated. I didn't check the road report (stupid me) and it was a blizzard, 4WD, 20 mph, over both mountain passes. I'm very glad to be home. I have REASONS for being anxious!

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I do think it is a normal part of getting older.  I strongly suspect it is biological.  I see it a lot in my parents, and I find it so sad ... and I've started to see it in myself to some extent.  I wouldn't be surprised, though, if it could be reduced via diet or exercise or other organic means.

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No.  I've gone through anxious times, but there were fairly concrete reasons for them.  My mother is very anxious: she always has been but I think that isolating herself from other people tended to make her dwell on horrors.

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I'm in my 50s and way more anxious these past 5 years.  I think it's because for me, it seems like the world has turned upside down, and I'm not even sure how I fit in it anymore.  It's not like I'm anxious all the time or anything.  I do best when I stay away from the news and other familial triggers. :-)  But sometimes I'll read something, or have an experience with a family member (not generally my immediate family :-) ) and I'll get this super anxious feeling that can wreck the rest of the day.   I need to figure out a way to deal with it going into the future, because I don't think the world is going to right itself, and the family issues are probably only going to get worse.  

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I am just as anxious but for different reasons. I thought life would become easier once my children reached adulthood. It didn't happen that way. Now I fret and worry over my grandchild, COL, job relocation, and a host of other issues.

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one thought about increasing anxiety linked to age - it is relatively common for adrenal and thyroid function  to decrease over age.  diet, stress, etc. can reduce it, one or both of those can cause anxiety levels to increase.

 

I have my thyroid under control, and working on the adrenals. - and my anxiety levels went down.

 

 

eta: another thing I did was start yoga.  doing a full practice 3x per week, can reduce the body's response to stress, as well as lowering anxiety all around.

Edited by gardenmom5
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Yes. In my early 20s, I didn't worry about things going wrong with my pregnancies. Eleven years later, I worried constantly, and kept worrying after she was born. I've been dealing with some anxiety through 2017. And I don't just worry about Youngest, but the older two as well. I guess when I was young, I didn't think bad things would happen to me. Now, I know they most definitely can.

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I survived today! Long eye exam (3 hours) to find out that not only do I have cataracts, but I have glaucoma! And I went to visit a friend who almost died on Sunday due to a car accident, which involved having to use a parking garage. Did I mention that parking garages give me anxiety attacks? I managed. We had to rearrange with surgeries several times, around dh's oncology hospital visits, and ended up with the first one scheduled for the Scout District Awards gig that I'm hosting. Oh, well. I won't be there. And then I drove home--hardly seeing anything because 1) I have cataracts and 2) my eyes were dilated. I didn't check the road report (stupid me) and it was a blizzard, 4WD, 20 mph, over both mountain passes. I'm very glad to be home. I have REASONS for being anxious!

 

Man Margaret, what a year or two you're having. I am really sorry about the glaucoma and everything else. I'll be praying for you and your dh. 

 

:grouphug:

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Yes, as I've aged it's gotten worse.  Things that would normally not bother me are insomnia inducing stress magnets now.    I want the former laid-back Debbi to come back.  :crying:

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No way thank God!! I used to always be a wreck and althhough I am generally an anxious person my dh has calmed me down a lot as he is whatever the opposite of anxious is.

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