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Why Didn't I Fight Back? Well, Because My Anxiety Looks Different Than Yours.

Updated: Jul 20, 2023


Cartoon of a guy with his hands to his face who appears to be in distress

Anxiety. It can look very different for many people. Most people associate anxiety with a Fight or Flight response that they learned during most high school health and science classes. For some people it looks this way in adulthood, but for many it comes out as general worrying or fear around day to day life stressors such as work life balance and financial stressors.


Generalized Anxiety Disorder usually involves feelings of nervousness, difficulty relaxing, feeling restless, irritability, and a fear that something awful might happen. This side of anxiety is very different from Panic or Anxiety attacks which usually consists of more physical symptoms such as sweating, racing heart, difficulty breathing, nausea, and a fear of dying. Both can be very difficult to deal with; however, panic attacks are usually scarier because they come out of nowhere and can often last for anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes. Many people report feeling like they are having a heart attack when they experience panic attacks.


Another form of anxiety that many people do not consider is Stress. Like generalized worrying and panic attacks, stress can cause some of the same symptoms, but stress may also impact sleep, cause headaches/migraines, and other physical symptoms. Learning coping skills to reduce symptoms and engaging in self-care activities typically helps to reduce stress, but the best way to deal with anxiety is to face it head on. Often people try to avoid thinking about or addressing events that trigger their anxiety and this typically prolongs their symptoms. While avoiding the situation that causes feelings of anxiety may provide short-term relief, when the anxiety returns it usually worsens.


If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms that keep you from being able to function in your day to day life, consider seeking help from a professional counselor to help you learn coping skills to manage your anxiety. Now it's your turn. What does anxiety feel like for you?

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