Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. Everyday worries can prevent you from sleeping, affect your appetite, or hinder your ability to concentrate. For some people, anxious feelings last only a short period of time, and are caused by a concrete event, such as:
- Taking a big test
- Preparing for a public speaking event
- Going into an interview
- Starting a new job
- Going into the hospital
- Moving into a new place
- Breaking up with a significant other
Any situation that causes stress can cause you to feel anxious.
What Does Anxiety Feel Like?
Anxiety makes you feel uncomfortable. You feel apprehensive or worried – it’s a bit like being afraid. Aside from the psychological symptoms, there are also physiological symptoms that come about due to anxiety:
- Tense muscles
- Churning stomach
- Trembling or shaking
- Heart palpitations
You may sometimes mistake these physiological symptoms as a sign of an illness, such as a fainting spell or a heart attack. This will more than likely increase your anxiety!
Will My Anxiety Go Away?
Short-term anxiety can actually be useful. Being worried about a big test can make you feel more alert and actually improve your performance. Feeling nervous about a job interview can result in you being more prepared for the interview. In these cases, the anxiety is short-lived. The feelings associated with anxiety can go away soon after the stressful situation has passed.
Is My Anxiety Long-Term?
Sometimes, though, your anxiety stays at a high level for a long time after the stressful event has passed. Some people feel the psychological effects of anxiety – apprehension, nervousness, or worry – for a long period of time. They may feel both the psychological and physiological effects of anxiety even when they can’t associate them with any type of concrete event.
If you feel like your anxiety isn’t going away, this may make you feel powerless. You may feel like you have no control over your body. Feelings associated with long-term anxiety include:
- Lack of sleep
- Paranoia about what other people think
- Lack of sex drive
- Difficulty communicating with others
- Constantly feeling tired
- Being easily irritable
- Inability to relax
Can Other People Notice My Anxiety?
If you start shutting yourself off because of your anxiety, then your friends and loved ones may take notice. They may wonder why you aren’t doing the things you used to do. They may wonder why you are so irritable or paranoid. You may start avoiding people or situations because you don’t know how you are going to react. The build-up of overwhelming sensations or emotions can exaggerate your anxiety and cause a panic attack.
Do I Experience Panic Attacks?
A panic attack is an attack on your emotions. They usually come about very quickly and can last anywhere between 5 and 20 minutes. Panic attacks are the extreme culmination of anxiety and they can be terrible. Sometimes they come without warning; other times, you can sense that you are about to have one. If you are having a panic attack, then you are probably experiencing:
- Pounding heartbeat
- Feeling faint
- Sweating Inability to breathe calmly and normally, like you can’t get any air (this is called hyperventilation)
- Shaky limbs and weakness
- Thoughts that you are going to die or that you are going crazy
After the initial attack has passed, you may still feel high levels of anxiety. You may soon experience another attack, or it may be weeks or even months until you have another one. It is truly a horrible experience.
Have You Experienced Anxiety Before?
It can make you feel better knowing that there is a name for what you are going through. Have you experienced any of these symptoms before? Do you think that your anxious feelings go away quickly? Do you suffer from long-term anxiety? Do others around you question your emotional state? Have you succumbed to a panic attack before?