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How To Explain What Anxiety Feels Like

Encouraging Your Partner To Work With A Therapist Or Try Couples Therapy

Women Explain What Anxiety Feels Like | Babble

When you care for someone, its tempting to support them by trying to act as a surrogate therapist. The problem is youre not a therapist. Trying to play that role will be emotionally draining. It could make you resent your partner.

You are not responsible for providing therapy to your partner. This is why you should gently guide your partner toward working with a therapist. A therapist can help them improve how they deal with anxiety, in and outside a relationship.

If youre in a serious, long-term relationship, consider couples counseling. Some of the anxiety issues might be based in your relationship.

Working with a couples counselor can take the pressure off your partner. Rather than encouraging them to do something on their own, you are inviting them to join you in therapy.

What happens in couples counseling?

In couples counseling, you and your partner will gain insight into your relationship, learn how to effectively resolve conflicts, and improve your overall relationship satisfaction through various therapeutic techniques. Therapists will often assign tasks to the couple so that they can apply the skills learnt in therapy in their daily interactions. Most couples conclude therapy with a better understanding of their relational patterns and heightened communication skills, allowing them to continue their relationship in a much healthier, more fulfilling way.

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What Anxiety Feels Like & Why It Happens

Generally speaking, we all have a lot going on in our lives: School, work, family, finances, health, relationships, friendships. And while your specific priorities may differ from someone else’s as well as shift over time the one prevailing constant we all seem to be bound to is that there’s almost always something to stress about or worry over.

“The various situations and events happening in your life greatly affect your overall mood. So when something is causing you to feel stressed or worried, it can impact your entire life from personal to interpersonal to professional,” says Dr. Ali Sawal, primary care practitioner at Houston Methodist.

And while anxiety may seem like some amorphous state-of-mind that you’re either prone to experiencing or you’re not, you may be surprised to find that anxiety is much more common than you think.

What Are Anxiety Disorders

We all have feelings of anxiety, worry and fear sometimes. These can be normal responses to certain situations. For example, you might worry about a job interview, or about paying a bill on time. These feelings can give you an awareness of risks and what you need to do in a difficult or dangerous situation. This reaction is known as fight or flight.

Your brain responds to a threat or danger by releasing stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Even if the danger is not real, these hormones cause the physical symptoms of anxiety. Once the threatening situation has stopped, your body will usually return to normal.

But if you have an anxiety disorder these feelings of fear and danger can be ongoing and interrupt your daily routine long after the threat has gone. They can make you feel as though things are worse than they actually are.

Everyones experience of anxiety disorders is different. Not everyone who has an anxiety disorder will experience the same symptoms.

Mental symptoms of anxiety can include:

  • racing thoughts,

Anxiety can lead to depression if left untreated.

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Your Panic Is Persistent

An anxious brain, like a non-anxious brain, is always learning. But the anxious brain sometimes learns the wrong things and has an awfully hard time unlearning them. Once youve decided that people at parties are probably judging you, your brain may lock that lesson in and pretty soon generalize it to any social encounter. Ditto an obsessive-compulsive fear of disease or a panic over separation or loss. Sometimes, especially in the case of OCD, it takes just a single traumatic event a genuinely embarrassing social moment, say, or a legitimate medical scare for the brain to establish a fixed fear. Left untreated, those anxieties can go on for months and years.

It Is Possible To Learn How To Explain Anxiety To Someone You Love Without The Fear Of Judgment Misunderstandings Or Shame And This Should Help

What anxiety feels and looks like Vs. how to manage ...

One of the worst parts about anxiety is your fear of its impact on the people you love. Whether your boyfriend or girlfriend, parents, or friends, it can cause you even more anxiety. But you can learn how to explain anxiety to someone you love without fear.

Anxiety is a mental illness still widely misunderstood by society. It is something you do not choose and would not wish on anyone. It is a draining struggle to function daily.

Why you should explain anxiety to someone you love

Until recently, many people hid their anxieties. Having anxiety can make people feel ashamed and weak. No one wants to admit they are struggling, but talking about it with a professional and especially to the people in your life is not only beneficial but freeing.

It has been proven that sharing your insecurities with those you love and trust helps you to release and face those struggles. Hiding your anxiety only burrows those awful and fearful feelings deeper into your psyche, causing more problems.

Explaining anxiety to someone you love gives them the chance to understand you better. It can help them learn how you feel and what they can do to help. Not to mention you and the people in your life may relate more than you ever thought possible.

Although anxiety is brutal, explaining it to your loved ones is always the way to go.

How to explain anxiety to someone you love

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Even Though Anxiety And Depression Are Used To Describe Emotions That Everyone Has It Is Not An Emotion But A Disorder For Some

Anxiety and depression are emotions that everyone feels at time in response to stressors. At this occasional frequency, they are a normal, healthy part of life where you can expect the emotions to subside once the stressor has passed. However, for those with anxiety and depression, these emotions dont subside. They dont just disappear once the stressor has passed. Instead, they are persistent and build upon each other as more stressors are encountered throughout the day.

The Shame Often Feels Worse Than The Anxiety Itself

At times, your anxiety may feel incredibly mortifying. Because it can be so consuming, it may impact how you connect with others. The worry may prevent you from engaging in certain activities. Likewise, anxiety has a way of cutting into self-esteem and making you feel ashamed.

This shame can quickly become toxic and consuming. Your anxiety perpetuates negative, internal thoughts like Im worthless, or Im a failure. Over time, these thoughts almost feel like facts. They dictate much of how you think, act, and feel. And, of course, these harsh thoughts tend to make the anxiety worse.

Shame is a deeply rooted emotion, and it can be insidious in almost every facet of your life. Its also one of the predominant factors triggering most mental health problems.

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You Feel It Physically

Depression can feel like you are being swallowed by the ocean, with each wave dragging you deeper down. So far down that you no longer see sunlight, just suffocating darkness and weight.

Anxiety can feel like every cell on in your body is vibrating, vibrating with the need to run. Run from the room, run from the threat, run from your thoughts, run from the overwhelming energy building inside except you cant run, you cant escape it.

This emotional push and pull take a physical toll. When you have anxiety and depression, you can continuously feel tired but cant sleep due to racing thoughts or agitation in your body. The depression can make you feel so lethargic that its hard to move however, your heart may race and stomach may ache from anxiety. Its hard to make sense of it yourself when you feel in a constant tug-of-war with yourself.

What Should You Do When Anxiety Attacks

What Having Anxiety Feels Like

While some symptoms build up and persist over time, symptoms of anxiety can also “attack” often referred to as a panic attack.

“A panic attack comes with intense symptoms that can often be mistaken for symptoms of a heart attack,” says Dr. Sawal. “Symptoms of a panic attack include a racing heartbeat, trembling or shaking, shortness of breath and chest pain.”

If you know that what you’re experiencing is a panic attack, Dr. Sawal recommends the following:

  • Remove yourself from the source of your panic attack
  • Engage in deep breathing exercises and positive self-talk
  • Take steps to address why you are anxious to help prevent future panic attacks

But, if you’re not sure that what you’re experiencing is a panic attack and you’re experiencing chest pain, it’s critical that you talk to your doctor.

“Both anxiety and chest pain can be a sign of something more serious, and your doctor will need to confirm that your symptoms aren’t caused by an underlying medical condition,” adds Dr. Sawal.

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Why Should You Trust The Depression Project

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How Do You Explain Severe Anxiety

When you have severe anxiety, it can sometimes feel like youre physically suffocating. Talk about your physical symptoms, whether its shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, trembling, or sweating. And that when these symptoms escalate, it makes it hard to think clearly.

When explaining your severe anxiety to someone, tell them that your fears and worries about different things or situations are irrational that they are out of proportion to the actual threat. And when these symptoms occur, it triggers more anxiety, and a cycle of panic perpetuates.

Also Check: How To Deal With Presentation Anxiety

How To Handle Your Loved Ones’ Response

Using your “anxiety letter” will significantly reduce the chances of your loved ones saying something annoying about your anxiety like “just get over it”, for example. But, in case they still do, I’m going to show you how to respond to all of the annoying comments people most commonly make in such a way that it maximises the chance of them finally getting it.

Section 3

Compare It To An Experience Theyre Familiar With

what anxiety looks like

A lot of people whove never experienced anxiety imagine that it must be similar to what they felt before they gave a big presentation at work, or asked someone they really liked out on a date. And it might be a little like that, at times â but I feel like anxiety that you feel because you took a risk that might pay off later is different from the anxiety I experience on the regular. So I find that its helpful to explain anxiety in terms of a different kind of nerve-wracking experience that they may be familiar with.

To me, anxiety feels like being in a big, creepy house alone at night . You hear a noise that wouldnt cause any real reaction if you heard it during the day at work â but hearing it alone in this big scary house makes your heart race and your body prepare for fight-or-flight. You become extra sensitive to everything else around you â sights, smells, whatever â because your body is trying to figure out if youre threatened. Ive found that explaining it in this way helps me better convey the emotionally-charged nature of my anxiety â and its trajectory, which is less rise to a peak and then experience relief at the end and more get freaked out over and over again by the weird creaking noises until you eventually fall asleep.

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How To Explain Anxiety To Someone

Anxiety can make you overanalyze how someone spoke to you just because the interaction was slightly more off than usual. It can make you think of a million thoughts in your mind and then overthink 99% of them until you reach a point of mental exhaustion the anxiety keeps going, of course, you just end up too tired to accomplish anything else you had planned.

In other words, some days youre the hamster, and some days youre the wheel. You are propelling yourself forward with nervous energy yet going nowhere because your fears or worries keep you at a standstill.

As much as you may struggle to understand your anxiety yourself at times, you came here to find out how to explain anxiety to someone, and the hamster on a wheel analogy just wont cut it.

After all, you cant just describe a condition so complex as overthinking or nervousness. You know that terms like these only brush the surface when it comes to explaining anxiety, and you want to make sure that the person youre about to confide in understands how you feel.

Anxiety can feel different from one person to the next, and this is one reason why its so important that you are as authentic and honest as possible about what you are dealing with. After all, youre the human being here so you dont have to fit your words inside of a box.

You dont have to share every last detail unless you want to. But making a connection between your symptoms and life scenarios will help bridge the gap for that person.

The Amount Of Work It Can Take

Living with anxiety can take a whole lot of work. To manage the very basics, such as getting dressed or making breakfast, we often have to battle through a never-ending stream of unhelpful thoughts and reason with the anxiety killjoy in our head.

Many of us learn skills to help us manage our anxiety. These skills could include things like learning how to manage our breathing, how to self-soothe, what our sensory needs might be and how to meet them, methods to manage the stream of thoughts in our head, such as different reasoning tools, things we can use to cope with our low-level anxiety such as fiddle toys, and different ways to manage times of high distress.

Living with anxiety can take so much learning, experimenting, and remembering to action the things weve learned at the time we need them . We often need to organise our life around the limitations of our coping, the things we have to do each day to keep us well, and any appointments we have. It can be a huge amount of work, and much of this work might be invisible.

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