What Anxiety Feels Like

Last week, I wrote about my 12 year struggle with anxiety. In my article, I wrote about living with anxiety, but I wanted to write a separate article about what anxiety feels like. Both issues need to be addressed; this is what it is like to live with anxiety.


1. If you have anxiety, the thinking never stops.

Your brain is constantly at work, no matter how hard you try to stop thinking. You obsess over everything and often feel exhausted from constant thinking. I can remember times that my anxiety has kept me up at night, leaving me exhausted the next day.


2. If you have anxiety, the little things cause you to worry.

These things appear to be little things to people who do not have anxiety. For instance, worrying over not knowing whether or not your family is coming to visit may seem miniscule to many people. However, for someone who has anxiety, these things are huge. Little things control the lives of those with anxiety.



3. If you have anxiety, you want to pay attention, but worrying overpowers your life.

Often my worries take away from time that I could be doing school work, or hanging out with friends. It takes me longer than usual to accomplish simple tasks on days when my anxiety is high. As a result, I often find myself spending more time than my peers doing work. My worrying is not something that I can turn off. Others saying to just “let it go” or “not worry about it” does nothing. Only doing things such as exercise can alleviate some of my anxiety and allow for me to come back able to do my work efficiently.


4. If you have anxiety, it feels like there is a constant weight is on your shoulders.

I feel everywhere that I go, that an extra weight is on me. It makes me feel dragged down and sluggish. On top of that sensation, my stomach constantly feels like it is in knots due to my ever persistent anxiety.


5. If you have anxiety, you never know when a panic attack is going to come out of nowhere.

When I have a panic attack, I feel like I am in fight or flight mode. I can’t breathe, and my attempts to get air come to no avail. My body feels as if it’s suffocating and cannot differentiate the difference between my panic attack and a literal struggle to survive. It is by far one of the scariest experiences an individual can undergo, and at the top of the list of fears of an individual living with anxiety.



6. If you have anxiety, you are never not worrying.

Imagine every day of your life never being “not nervous.” Every day the only time I truly feel “normal” is in the few minutes after I wake up. When I am not yet awake enough to grasp reality just yet. Those few minutes are the most peaceful part of my day. During this time, there is no weight on my shoulders and my mind stops constantly thinking. Living with constant worry is a nightmare that I have to battle every day.


Life with anxiety is never easy. Even when I take my medication, these feelings still persist. Next time you see an individual struggling with anxiety, I hope that you can remember these things. Every person’s experience with anxiety is different, therefore we cannot make generalizations about every individual's experience. These components of anxiety, are that of my own struggle and do not apply to everyone struggling with their anxiety. Every struggle is different, but remember to be patient with those who have anxiety. They live every day in a constant battle with themselves.


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