Distinguishing between Performance Anxiety and Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety is characterized by an overreaching feeling that gets in the way of everyday life.
For instance: a feeling of panic about leaving your house that’s pretty all consuming and prevents you from paying attention to school, friends or even sports.
By contrast, performance anxiety is a healthy response to an uncomfortable or new situation, such as sports, exams or public speaking. It may be accompanied by a healthy sense of worry, such as “what if I miss this shot?“
Generalized anxiety is something that haunts you every minute of every day. Generalized anxiety is an ongoing issue and can inhibit the day-to-day function of a person.
General Anxiety is not “I’m nervous before competitions” or “I’m worried I’m gonna do bad on my finals.”
It’s “I can barely leave the house today for fear of being around too many people” or “What if I do bad on this test and then I don’t get into a good college and then I have to get a minimum wage job and I end up on the streets for the rest of my life, and then __, and then__, and then my life is over.”
If you think that you might have general anxiety, then you are going to need a lot more support than I can give you. I am not a doctor, nor a trained counsellor or psychologist. You might still find some of my resources helpful, but you will need to tap into some other resources too.
Some resources I suggest you look into are:
- Anxiety Canada – a website with great information and links to other resources
- Talk to a personal counsellor at your school
- Call 8-1-1 in Canada to talk to a trained professional and get connected to others that can help
- See your family doctor – They can rule out any other causes for your symptoms, prescribe medications, do limited counselling and refer you to a psychiatrist or other specialized doctors
- Find a psychologist, which is a professional that can assess, diagnose and treat mental & emotional disorders. If you live in BC you can go to psychologists.bc.ca to find one near you