Counseling Works, PLLC
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Authored by Counseling Works, PLLC Staff

 

Type A or Type Anxiety?

"I gotta hustle harder, stay on my grind, push this out, and get this done!"

How many women today have actually felt this way about career and/or life success? Just one more degree program or one more promotion and things will be right! Many women today are faced with unexplainable internal pressures and urges to reach ultimate success and to get things RIGHT and in order. Those urges can translate into demanding responsibilities, constant tasks and assignments and even physical exhaustion; and for some reason you find yourself continuing to pile on more despite how overwhelming it has become.

"I just have to stay on top of things... I prefer things to be organized and need to keep things in order... Sometimes I overwork myself in order to ensure I accomplish all of the things on my full list of to-do's in life... But, I'm just a TYPE A personality, it's ok."

Ladies, to some degree this is true. Many women are Type A personalities. According to Simply Psychology this personality type can be described as competitive, self-critical, racing against the clock, and even hostile. But, at what point can these Type A personality descriptors actually be describing Generalized Anxiety symptoms?

Women who experience Generalized Anxiety are usually dealing with excessive worry/fear, restlessness, fatigue, concentration difficulties, irritability, trouble sleeping and even muscle tension. More importantly, these symptoms interrupt our ability to function within our normal scope of being. One way these anxiety symptoms can manifest themselves is in the form of compulsions: working extremely hard on tasks or projects, pushing yourself to the limit, taking on excessive responsibilities; but for the sake of staying in control of things that you perceive to be within your control. "But, why am I still not happy with all of my accomplishments?"

Sometimes what happens is, despite the fact that you may experience career and life success, you still may feel a looming sense of unhappiness. In this case, working hard was just been a maladaptive coping strategy for your anxiety and does not actually bring about internal satisfaction. So, the purpose of your hard work is NOT actually being fulfilled; the purpose was to mask your unconscious/internal fears and worries.

So, let's say the unconscious fear or worry is actually of inadequacy, lack of resource, loss of loved ones, or loneliness. When this doesn't get addressed, gets avoided, or gets mentally labeled as out of your control, here come the extra tasks!... The things you CAN control externally.

After a while you might see that your Type A personality may actually be due to "Type Anxiety"; Generalized Anxiety. These anxiety symptoms and maladaptive coping strategies can absolutely spill over into several aspects of your life if left untreated. So what do you do about it? 

  1. Pay Attention: Take time to check-in with yourself about how you're feeling. It's ok to recognize when you're not feeling yourself or that you've found yourself drowning in too many to-do's. When you see this happening, ask yourself why? 
  2. Seek Professional Help: Talk to a trusted therapist about these feelings and behaviors you're experiencing to determine if they are in fact symptoms of Generalized Anxiety. Your therapist can also help you assess the possible sources of your anxiety to begin experiencing relief. 
  3. Practice Self Care: Consider reducing the number of to-do's on your list in order to reduce the additional stress that you can create. This increased stress can become overwhelming exacerbate the anxiety symptoms and even create more unpleasant physical symptoms of anxiety. 

~ Authored by V. Works

Disclaimer: If the Anxiety symptoms you are experiencing are more overwhelming and paired with depression, suicidal thoughts, isolation, and other harmful maladaptive coping strategies, please seek out a licensed mental health professional immediately.