For Those Who Don't Have Anxiety, These Are 13 Ways To Describe What It Feels Like
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

For Those Who Don't Have Anxiety, These Are 13 Ways To Describe What It Feels Like

Please know we're not behaving "differently" without reason.

337
For Those Who Don't Have Anxiety, These Are 13 Ways To Describe What It Feels Like

I've been living with anxiety since elementary school. (For a frame of reference, I'm a senior in college now.) I've done the therapy, the medications, the painful talks through episodes, the panic attacks - all of it.

And as anyone with anxiety will tell you, anxiety is the absolute worst.

Anxiety makes you doubt yourself, makes you doubt your confidence and self-worth. It can send you on a terrible downward spiral until every bad thing you've ever thought about yourself is rushing around in your head.

Partly for my own reassurance that I'm not alone in this and partly to educate others on what it's like to have anxiety, I turned to my friends via Instagram to help me explain what it's like to have anxiety. Just a few of these were the responses I got, but the few I received helped me find the best words to truly explain what anxiety feels like.

Anxiety is/feels like...

Being told "You don't look like you have anxiety" or "You're too pretty to have anxiety!" only making you feel worse.

Phrases like these are THE biggest load of crap. Like please tell me what you think anxiety "looks like." Anxiety is a MENTAL illness, not something external. Also, just because someone is good looking doesn't mean they're exempt from struggling.

Anxiety isn't always expressed physically - and when it is, you most likely won't notice it. For example, when I feel anxious, I can't keep still. I need to play with something, pick at my leggings, crack my fingers, bounce my leg - you get the idea. Little actions that people who aren't familiar with anxiety or someone's anxiety giveaways wouldn't notice.

A negative cycle of thoughts that's REALLY hard to stop.

One anxious trigger can lead into an ongoing flow of negative, self-deprecating thoughts that send you into a spiral that's really, really hard to get out of. Therapy does help, but getting out of that negative cyclical style of thinking is hard.

Getting irritable over little things because your mind is in sensory overload.

I can personally attest to this one...You're already in sensory overload when anxiety hits, so when someone does something small - like talk too loud or make a repetitive noise - it can make you snap at the person. Please, please don't take it personally if someone with anxiety snaps at you - chances are they're already feeling overwhelmed and whatever they're snapping at you about is their mouth reacting before their brain can stop them.

"Like your mind is constantly running/in 'fight or flight' mode."

Actually, your brain kind of is in constant "fight or flight" mode when you have anxiety. According to Anxiety.org, "anxiety and fear produce virtually identical physiologic responses" - meaning you may not actually be in danger, but your brain interprets the psychological response produced by anxiety as fear. Fun, right?

"The world crumbling piece by piece around you."

And there isn't anything you can do to stop it, because life is just happening to you, not with you.

"A million bees swarming inside you."

Trying to calm the swarm is so hard.

"Like nothing you do will ever amount to anything, and you don't have anything or anyone in your life."

Yes, this is untrue 99% of the time. But if you don't have anxiety, you need to understand that anxiety is so. Isolating. Anxiety can convince you that you're a burden to everyone if you try to share what you're going through, that no one is in your corner and no one cares whether you're okay. You could have a ton of friends and still feel this way. My friend who sent this in is a super talented, smart, and wonderful human being with a lot of friends, and seeing this response from her broke my heart a little because it's so untrue. (Love you girl <3)

"A million racing scenarios in my head where anything I could possibly say or do isn't right."

You miss out on so much when anxiety is a part of your life. You're scared to do things, to speak up when you know you should, because you're afraid to be judged. Afraid that what you might do is the wrong thing and that's all you'll be remembered for.

"Nauseous, extremely ill, like the whole world is spinning."

For some people, anxiety doesn't just affect them mentally - it messes with their physical health as well.

"Drowning in a pool [that's surrounded by] a crowd of people and nobody noticing you, trying to swim to the surface but being stuck at the bottom." 

 Constantly feeling inadequate compared to others

You never feel like you'll measure up to those who "have it together." There's this constant feeling that you're never "good enough" - good enough by your own believed standards of where you should be in life, good enough for anyone else, good enough at your job, etc.

 Not being able to enter new social situations unless you have someone with you.

Socializing is harder when you have anxiety. Unless you're with people you feel 100% comfortable around, you find yourself constantly second-guessing everything you say and do, wondering if you're coming off as "normal." Entering any new social situation where you don't know anyone is really hard to go into alone, so if your anxious friend asks you to come with them to a social event, GO WITH THEM. Don't let them miss out on what could be a really good time because they're afraid to go alone, and plus, bonding time.

 Hating social media, but feeling a need to have it anyways or you'll miss something/be out of the loop

Social media can be a regular trigger for people with anxiety. Seeing others' lives on our screens will often leave us wishing to be more "normal," more like them, for life to be easier. And yet...the FOMO we experience from having social media can be even worse if we don't know what's happening and miss something potentially important.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

Pride Doesn't End With June

Here's seven ways you can be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community after pride month ends.

1455
Pride Doesn't End With June
Photo by Sara Rampazzo on Unsplash

As July begins, the month we call 'Pride Month' is technically over. However, just because pride month is over doesn't mean we can't still show pride and support for our LGBT brothers and sisters. This article here will tell you seven ways to be a supportive ally to the LGBTQ+ all year round.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

My 4th Of July Look

MISS SWISS - Glamour On The Go

2009
My 4th Of July Look

Whether I can get to the beach this weekend or I'm just at a friend's pool, I know I'll be picture ready. Fourth of July weekend following so close behind Pennsylvania lifting the state mask mandate has me anticipating many smiling faces, eager to capture the moment.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Eat and Drink Your Way Through Los Angeles With Me

When i die spread my ashes at the Bubba Gump at Citywalk

2085
Eat and Drink Your Way Through Los Angeles With Me
Hailey Hastings via Canva

First and foremost, I am a foodie. In any city that I am in, the first thing I want to know is where the best places to eat and drink are, and I imagine a lot of you are the same. Los Angeles happens to be one of the greatest food cities in the United States, so it's only right that I present you guys with this list. These are the best places (that I have tried) in Los Angeles to eat or drink.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Your Guide to Dryness-Preventing Nutrition

You might be surprised to learn that nearly half of women over the age of 50 struggle with uncomfortable symptoms due to vaginal dryness. This is an extremely common issue for those entering menopause, but it can also affect those of a younger age as well.

3012
Dryness-Preventing Nutrition

You might be surprised to learn that nearly half of women over the age of 50 struggle with uncomfortable symptoms due to vaginal dryness. This is an extremely common issue for those entering menopause, but it can also affect those of a younger age as well. Common issues like UTI’s, yeast infections and medications can cause vaginal dryness but one of the big culprits for both cause and prevention is diet. Supplementing your diet with nutrients and vitamins to encourage your body to produce the hormones it needs are one of the many home remedies for dryness. There are many factors that can cause dryness and the uncomfortable symptoms that come along with it, and diet is one of the big culprits on the list. Keep reading to learn about adopting nutrition habits that both alleviate and prevent dryness!

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Artificial Intelligence: the Upward Downfall

We are walking a dangerous road with AI

4536

“Alexa, I want the truth.”

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments