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20 Common Symptoms of Anxiety — as Told By Memes

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While there’s nothing funny about living with anxiety, sometimes people use humor to share how they’re feeling in a funny and relatable way.

Sometimes humor can be used to explain a symptom your friends just don’t understand. Or, sending a relatable meme to a fellow anxious human can bring a smile to their face on days when it’s hard to get out of bed. Other times, seeing a funny meme can let you know you aren’t the only one feeling this way. Whatever your situation may be, humor can definitely be a powerful coping tool. 

If anxiety is your middle name, here are anxiety symptoms you might relate to, as told by memes: 

1. Racing Thoughts

Anxiety is often characterized by racing thoughts that just don’t seem to let up. As Mighty community member Tristen W. shared, “I think the absolute worst though is being afraid of my own thoughts. I just want to escape my head.”

30 seconds before anxiety kicks in meme

2. Trouble Sleeping

When you can’t shut off the anxious thoughts that constantly swirl around in your head, sometimes the ability to sleep goes out the window.

my last decent night's sleep
via @pubity Instagram

3. Panic Attacks

Panic attacks can be one of the most common symptoms people with anxiety experience. Mighty contributor Anna Lente wrote that her own panic attacks feel like her “body is frozen in place, but ready to flee.”

panic attack or die meme
via QuickMeme

4. Excessive Worry

When you live with anxiety, worrying can sometimes look like over-planning, over-preparing and accounting for far-fetched scenarios that will probably never happen.

what if this happens meme
via @mytherapistsays Instagram

5. Dissociation

Dissociation is usually characterized by feeling disconnected from reality or your body — something that can often happen to people when they are having a panic attack. In her piece about her experience with dissociation, Mighty contributor Brooke Bond explained the thoughts she has while dissociating — “Am I dreaming? Why does everything look so fuzzy and dark? Why are the voices of the people around me suddenly muffled?”

dissociation meme
via bpdwhite Tumblr

6. Excessive Sweating

Anxiety often presents physically, and when in situations of high stress, sweating can be common.

sweating anxiety meme

7. Chills

When your anxiety makes you sweat, chills will often follow.

8. Feelings of Depression

Many people with anxiety also live with depression. Mighty contributor Melissa Kersjes explains what it feels like to live with both in her piece, “When Your Depression and Anxiety Are Like Evil Twins.”

They are a pairing that are not separate to me. Conjoined twins, operating as one. They are like a tag-team on my brain. One often overpowers the other, but both are always present.

9. Sense of Impending Danger or Doom

It can be a good thing to prepare in advance, but sometimes anxiety prepares you for the absolute worst case scenario — a.k.a. a doom that just isn’t realistic. Mighty contributor Tim Kirchner wrote of this feeling, “There are times that it consumes my entire thought process — the dreadful feelings of impending doom and the relentless ‘what if’s.’”

10. Head and Body Aches

Though anxiety is most commonly association with internal thought processes, it can manifest physically. Mighty community member Melodie E. shared the worst symptom of her anxiety is, “the migraine headache it triggers because I am stressed and embarrassed by all the emotions, especially the relentless hysterical crying that accompanies my anxiety attacks.”

my neck, my back, my anxiety attack
via @mytherapistsays Instagram

11. Preoccupation With Past, Present and Future

It’s easy to focus on mistakes you’ve made and worry about the future, but for many with anxiety, it can be debilitating to have these thoughts on constant loop.

12. Procrastination

Procrastination is something many of us struggle with, but when you live with anxiety, it can be something that interferes too much with everyday life. This is something Mighty contributor Julie Wilson is familiar with.In her piece about procrastination and anxiety, she wrote, “The worst part of having anxiety is that natural inclination to procrastinate. To put it off. Wait until there’s a better day until I’m feeling braver.”

13. Constant Feelings of Stress

Anxiety is not just “everyday” stress. For someone who lives with anxiety, stress (irrational or otherwise) is often a constant companion.

stress relief lotion exploded meme
via @LADbible Instagram

14. Needing to Always Be “in Control”

Ever been called a “control freak”? Mighty community member Jessica L. can relate. The hardest symptom of her anxiety to live with is her need to be in control. She wrote, “Everyone thinks you’re suddenly an angry control freak. And the crying. You can’t be in control, you’re angry and then because you can’t control anything, you cry.”


15. Feelings of Guilt

Feeling guilty for the way you feel is common with many mental health struggles. Mighty community member Savvy W. wrote the worst symptom of her anxiety is guilt.

Guilt. Guilt that I feel this way, guilt that in school I’m a distraction, guilt that my family feels like they can’t help me, guilt that my anxiety attacks waste precious time with the ones I love.

one does not simply let it go meme

16. Indecision

You know those times when anxiety makes you worry so much about making the “right” decision, and you end up making no decision at all?

indecision everywhere meme

17. Avoiding Social Engagements

Sometimes talking to others can fuel anxious thoughts. Thoughts that may sound something like, I can’t believe I just said that. She’s only talking to me because she feels bad. They don’t want me to be here. Avoiding socialization is common when you don’t want to subject yourself to these kind of thoughts.

wanna hang out meme
via @mytherapistsays Instagram

18. Nervous Laughter

Anxiety can come out in a lot of unexpected ways. For example, Mighty community member Churri N. said you can tell she’s anxious by her “nervous laughter/giggles.”

god I'm nervous meme

19. Feelings of Hopelessness

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Sometimes a struggle with anxiety can lead to feelings of hopelessness or thoughts of suicide. In her piece, “It’s All a Domino Effect: How My Anxiety Leads to Other Things” Mighty contributor Anna Buckley wrote how anxiety contributed to her other mental health struggles. “Anxiety, depression, insomnia, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, attempting suicide… the list goes on and on. It was a domino effect for me.”


bubbles meme
via @pubity Instagram

20. Obsessing Over Past Mistakes

Then there are those times when no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get over something you said or a mistake you made years ago.

meme realiing should have said something in 2011
via @mytherapistsays Instagram

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

Originally published: November 15, 2017
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