I have talked before about the physical manifestation of anxiety, and how it affects your body and the physical symptoms you get when you start feeling anxious. It is absolutely necessary to understand how our bodies react to anxiety, it brings us a little peace of mind to know that what’s happening is supposed to be happening, and not something out of the ordinary. That being said, I would like to explore how I actually feel when I have an anxiety attack or a full on panic attack, why cannot I just shrug these symptoms off and carry on with my day? and what does it actually mean when your friend tells you their anxious?
It is necessary to say that it is really hard to speak for everyone, anxiety hits differently on different people. What I can do is to explore my feelings when I get it, I am sure many of you will relate, but it won’t be 100%. Another thing is, I am writing this while I am having an anxiety attack, I will be trying to explain what I am feeling, but it might not be very coherent.
My anxiety starts at the top of my stomach, it feels as if it’s been intensely grasped by someone and they just won’t let go. This feeling makes me nauseous to the degree where I cannot eat, drink, or even speak. You would hear me sigh loudly whenever I am trying to speak. This feeling reminds me of when I am really bored, some of you might get that as well, you are so bored to even talk, that it takes a lot of energy to speak, and you keep your words to bare minimum just because you do not want to waste all of your energy.
My body feels weak and I have this tingling sensation all over. It feels like when you are really tired but you’ve had a lot of coffee, you can feel a lot of energy inside of you, but you do not have the strength to act it out. It is certainly a weird persistent feeling, that causes you to turn your attention inwards and makes it harder for you to focus on anything else. Imagine after a very wrong rough day, where you did you had a long day at work, worked out, maybe ran for an hour, partied with some friends, and then had a big Red Bull can and put yourself on bed to sleep, that’s how it feels.
Another thing that stays in my mind is that… you see I have lost my train of thoughts, I had something to say but that tingling sensation made me forgot about it. I will try to remember and get back to you.
(couple of minutes later…)
Ah yes! another thing that stays in my mind is that I do not want to move a lot in fear that if I moved I would make myself even more anxious. It feels as if I chose the best of the worst options. Imagine yourself sitting on a very uncomfortable chair, and then you found a spot where it’s not good, but it’s bearable, so you stay on it in fear that if you moved it will get even worse.
It certainly hard to focus when all of this goes in your mind, you seem to be looking but not actually seeing, hearing but not actually listening. You can just forget everything you had to say in a matter of seconds, just because your mind is thinking about how bad it can get, and if it will ever stop. Imagine having a public speaking event (since almost everyone gets anxious in those events), and a couple of hours before you had to submit a certain task for work, your mind will keep going to the event, imagining how bad it can get, will you stutter and make a fool out of yourself, will you just full on faint on stage, so many possibilities. That’s how it feels except you cannot really pinpoint what you are actually afraid of, and all your fears come from your body.
I have to say, writing about it right not might not have been the best idea, but it sure has helped me. My stomach knot feels a bit loosened, the tingling sensation is fading away, and I am feeling hungry again! Which gets me to my final point, as much as these sensations hit you, remember they are just sensations, let them be. “The thought of a tiger, is not a tiger”.
The lack of energy, the heavy breath, that tingling sensation might start making you think that you’re losing it, and turn into a panic attack, where sirens go in your mind, “I am losing it”, “I am going to faint”, “I am going crazy”, “I am dying” in a matter of seconds. But what you need to remember, you have been here before, I know it feels as if it’s nothing that you have felt before, but you feel that every time you have it, because it’s a terrible feeling, and you just cannot believe that you have been through it before, but you have, and you will.