Living with anxiety can often feel, for those who are affected, like tasks and situations that come so easily to others – things that are non- eventful – are such a struggle for them. “I feel like my brain is broken,” is something you might hear a lot from those who struggle with anxiety. They don’t understand why they notice what they notice, and fixate what they fixate on, while it feels like everyone around them just sort of skates through life. The smallest comment from a neighbor or feedback from a boss can leave their mind and body riddled with anxiety for days, interrupting their sleep, and even manifesting in physical ways such as stomach aches and teeth grinding.
The truth is that anxiety disorders rarely come from nowhere. Like many mental disorders dealt with as adults, anxiety comes from – you guessed it – childhood. At least that’s true in many cases. Traumatic experiences in adulthood can certainly lead to anxiety disorders, but for a lot of individuals, persistent and prevalent dynamics from their childhood are to blame. While it can feel futile saying, “This is my parents’ fault,” there can be some peace found in knowing that some situations would give anyone adult anxiety. It’s not just you. Here are childhood dynamics that have been proven to increase the risk of adult anxiety,
Growing up in financial stress
Those who only face financial stress for the first time as adults might have the mental tools to combat that. Growing up in a stable and financially fruitful home gave them a solid foundation from which they could assess adulthood financial stress. But children who grow up in poverty don’t yet have the mental tools to distance themselves from the associated stress. The bills fall on their parents, sure, but the children internalize the constant stress their parents feel and express surrounding money. According to ScienceDaily, research shows that growing up in poverty increases both stress and feelings of helplessness in adults. A study even found that sons have a 40 percent likelihood of making the same type of income their fathers did, which doesn’t bode well for kids who grew up in poverty, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported. Participants in one study were asked to remember sequences of information. Those who grew up in poverty remembered much less information than the others in the group, showing that growing up in poverty can even impact one’s ability to absorb information.