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My 5 Most Frightening Anxiety Symptoms

I struggle with an anxiety disorder. It is such an awful thing to cope with daily and for people who don’t have an idea what it is like, it is hard for them to understand. Maybe they think you can just pull yourself out of it. For any of you who struggle with anxiety, you are not alone. I hope you will somehow learn to overcome it.

People living with anxiety experience symptoms in many different ways, and levels of anxiety may be more intense or mild than some others experience. Below are the five worst anxiety symptoms I experience and what each symptom is like through my eyes.

I hope this article helps you support yourself and helps you to feel less alone — because you’re not alone! — and for a better understanding of how anxiety symptoms differ between different people.

1. Vomiting.

When my anxiety is building, symptoms and fear worsen to the point I violently vomit. Even when there is nothing to fear, my body tells me there is danger and to “fight or flight” the situation when it’s unnecessary to do so. This symptom is occurring less often during stressful times, but anxiety tries to tell me otherwise. During stressful events or going places I fear, there is a rather high chance of my anxiety becoming uncontrollable to the point I throw up.

2. Depersonalization and Derealization.

During depersonalization, I experience changes in self-awareness, which might include feeling my thoughts and actions aren’t mine and sometimes as far as experiencing the sensation of watching myself from the outside. Derealization also occurs when you feel dissociated from the environment. The experience might include perceiving objects as non-solid, diminished in size or two-dimensional, and the self as perhaps being inside some glass-like container or peering at the world through a fog, with the world unreachable and meaningless. Derealization is a terrifying symptom to experience but is rather common and is perfectly harmless to individuals.

3. Dizziness.

I feel dizzy, lightheaded, faint and unsteady every day like I might faint, pass out or fall over. It also feel as though I’m walking on a boat on water; the floor beneath me feels like it is moving up and down or side to side, like my legs may not support me and it’s hard to keep balance. While I’ve haven’t passed out yet, I feel like I might. The thought is frightening. I also think, “What if I pass out, what will everyone think of me?” The thought of passing out frightens me, which can cause even more symptoms and fear.

4. Irritability.

Anxiety attacks always make me extremely irritable in ways that are hard to hide. The irritability is not me personally, it’s what comes from trying too hard to manage my anxiety on my own. Anxiety often causes negative emotions. It also gives less tolerance for additional stress and mental energy. The more severe my anxiety, the more likely irritability will occur at any time.

There are two types of irritability I experience:

Physically Close — I become more irritable when someone is standing too close to me, causing more pressure, and makes my anxiety worsen to the point I have to leave the area to be alone.

Emotionally Close — I’m more irritable around those I truly care about. In a way, this type of irritability can cause me added stress, because I regret the things I say to them (due to irritability) and it can drive a wedge between me and the person I care for.

I’m far more prone to stress over the smallest criticism in a way that is unfair to me and unfair to them. When struggling with daily anxiety, it’s not uncommon for to be barely hanging on and depend on emotional partners to help me through it. So when they make even a slight criticism, it makes me feel much worse than it would if I weren’t experiencing intense anxiety.

5. Sudden intrusive thoughts.

While anxiety has a lot of physical symptoms, it’s often the mental ones that are the most disturbing. That’s because your mind can only focus on so many things at once. You can still go about your day with weaker legs and a slightly sped up heartbeat, but you can’t go about your day while your mind is flooded with thoughts, because you can’t fit in any other thoughts, happiness or enjoyment.

When these thoughts are disturbing, it can be even worse because it causes you to think worse of yourself. Here are a few examples of some intense thoughts I’ve may experience and may be similar to yours.

1. Wishing to do law-breaking things that would get me into trouble.

2. Frightening daydreams about fears and phobias.

3. Thoughts about death, injury and thoughts of taking my own life.

4. Frightening events in the past. E.g., experiencing intense panic attacks.

So when you have a disturbing thought, it tends to be extremely consuming. You feel terrible about yourself, you struggle to prevent the thought, and you feel it keep coming back.

Those with anxiety have a tendency to internalize the thought, rather than simply ignore it and forget about it. Anxiety actually causes this in several ways:

1. Anxiety is known to make negative thoughts easier for the brain to remember.

2. Anxiety makes people worry about what it means about them, thus becoming more negative.

3. Anxiety causes changes in brain chemicals that start to give information in more frightening ways.

I hope some of the information I’ve written here will support you or someone you know. but remember: The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. The core causes of anxiety should be addressed so you can learn to cope better and reduce anxiety symptoms.

Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash