1. I’m going to be sick.
Every single time I feel anxious, I’m 90% sure that I’m going to throw up. This then makes me feel even more anxious.
2. I am completely and utterly on my own.
Even when people are with me. I could be in a room full of my family or friends and still feel totally alone. It’s like your vision narrows.
3. I can’t breathe. Where has the oxygen gone?
Shortness of breath is one of the main symptoms I experience. It feels like someone’s got some kind of hoover and is just sucking up all the oxygen.
4. Oh my god I’m so dizzy, I’m going to faint
Due to the shortness of breath and increase in heart rate, dizziness is pretty much unavoidable in the depths of anxiety. Of course, this then contributes to further nausea. It’s a vicious cycle.
5. Why is everyone looking at me?
It feels like everyone around you is aware that you’re feeling anxious and is staring at you. Most of the time, people haven’t got a clue. The only person who can recognise when I’ve got anxiety is my boyfriend because he notices the change in my behaviour. I tend to go very quiet and isolate myself from social situations to avoid having to converse with people – I try to concentrate on myself and not feeling anxious.
6. What if I have a panic attack? I’m going to have a panic attack
Enter panic attack.
7. Why am I shaking?
This is usually the first stage of a panic attack for me. Again, most of the time it isn’t noticeable for other people, but I become very aware of it and it soon becomes uncontrollable.
8. My throat is closing up!
For me this is the worst part of the cycle. It’s awful. That’s the only way I can really describe it. It feels like there’s a huge lump or ball which is blocking your throat. This then means that breathing becomes more difficult, then more nausea, then more dizziness.
9. Please don’t cry, please don’t cry
Inevitable. Crying is inevitable for me when I’m having a panic attack. In fact, it’s more like hyperventilating. But I always feel so much better once I’ve got all the tears out.
10. What if this never goes away?
This usually happens afterwards for me. What if I keep on having panic attacks? What if it never stops?
Do you suffer with anxiety? If so, how does it affect you? If not, hopefully these little thoughts will help you to understand what a friend may be going through.