Mental Health Disorders: What Anxiety Feels Like To Those Who Live With It Daily

AD| In today’s society, it seems that mental health disorders are massively on the rise – it could be that the world we’re living in full of high pressure, social media and other things are contributing to this, or it could simply be that these things have always been there and now we just have more awareness around them and are more willing to talk.

Whatever the reason for this rapid increase is, there’s one thing for sure, and that’s that we’re still not anywhere near where we need to be, but we are making progress.

However, whether you know someone who’s living with a mental health disorder such as anxiety, depression, or Coping with Bipolar Disorder, or you’re the person who’s dealing with something like this, there needs to be a lot more education around these disorders and understanding as to how they truly affect people on a daily basis.

Perhaps if you’re the one who’s suffering from something like anxiety, you couldn’t have imagined what it felt or looked like before you had it – or perhaps if you know someone who’s dealing with it, you can’t really relate to what they’re feeling because on the outside they seem fine, they put on a convincing smile, and they also look healthy, so it’s difficult for people to understand mental health disorders like anxiety and depression because illness is typically accepted as a purely physical thing.

With this post, we want to share some of the things that those suffering with anxiety will be feeling on a daily basis, so if you know someone in your life who’s dealing with, then you can offer some support to them and try to get them the help they need.

If you’re the one who’s suffering from anxiety, then whilst there’s certainly no right way or just one way to get help, there are options available to you, and it’s important to know that you’re certainly not alone, so even if this post can bring you some validation and comfort then that will be something, since one of the thing that people dealing with anxiety and depression often feel is that they’re going crazy.

For the purpose of this post and to help you understand more about anxiety from both a rational perspective and the perspective of someone who’s suffering with it in the moment, then we’re going to split this into two sections, the physical symptoms of anxiety and the emotional symptoms.

The reason we’re breaking it down this way is because, although anxiety – whether it’s an anxiety attack or a full-blown panic attack, which are different things can trigger a whole range of physically terrifying symptoms, they don’t actually pose any real danger to physical health, despite how they feel in that moment.

However, the emotional symptoms of anxiety can be just as terrifying, and sometimes these are actually worse because they last a lot longer and can result in sucidial thoughts and things that can put the person dealing with them in a lot of danger. Not only this, they can limit the person’s ability to function in normal life, which can then affect things like relationships and jobs, so it’s important to understand that, both the physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety are equally frightening and difficult to deal with in their own way, and will always show up differently for each person and even vary from anxiety episode to anxiety episode.

Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety:

Upset tummy:

Anxiety is something that causes a high level of stress throughout the body, so if you ever think about something that causes you stress or makes you nervous, then you know that typically one of the feelings that this causes is an upset tummy. Of course, this can be dealt with pretty easily through tablets and diet, but anything taken for the symptoms without addressing the root cause isn’t going to be too helpful in the long run. When dealing with an upset stomach due to anxiety, then it’s important to make sure you’re eating the right kinds of foods and avoiding things like too much sugar, caffeine and greasy foods that could irritate it more.


Sometimes anxiety can cause hot and even cold sweats, and although this can be an embarrassing and frightening feeling, it’s typically not going to cause any physical harm and isn’t anything to worry about, but this can be especially frightening to someone who suffers from something like OCD or health-related anxiety.


Headaches due to anxiety are extremely common because anxiety puts stress hormones into overdrive and really causes a lot of tension and worry that can result in all manner of headaches and even trigger highly painful migraines. Again, this is one of the symptoms that can be eased through things like tablets and lifestyle, but in reality, as long as someone is suffering with anxiety, then headaches will usually always make an appearance.

Heart palpitations:

Although heart palpatations are a solid indicator of a panic attack, they can also occur just about anytime for someone who’s dealing with anxiety, and the worst thing about these is that they’ll show up when you’re in a state where you’re supposed to be relaxed, such as when asleep. Although these palpatations are definitely frightening and one of the most horrible physical symptoms of anxiety, they’re not dangerous, but of course if you’re concerned about these at all, then it’s always a good idea to see your doctor.

Lack of concentration:

Anxiety makes it difficult to concentrate on anything but anxiety, and since anxiety is thought to be a form of OCD, this definitely makes sense, though it’s not exactly comforting to someone who’s having to live with it daily since it can make everything feel like it’s taking forever to complete and results in more stress and overwhelm on top of the already-exisiting anxiety.


When your mind is racing about a million miles a minute and replaying all the things that have gone wrong and could go wrong in your life, then sleep is typically pretty hard to come by and means that those suffering with anxiety are highly likely to suffer with chronic insomina and sleep disorders, which in turn can make anxiety worse.


Although insomnia in and of itself will cause exhaustion due to lack of sleep and so will anxiety since it’s just exhausting all the time, but there are also people who suffer from anxiety who are at the opposite end of the spectrum and feel like they just constantly sleep and can’t get enough to ever feel rested. This is a symptom very common in those suffering with depression, too, and since anxiety and depression are linked, then this could be an overlap of the two disorders.

Feeling dizzy or lightheaded:

Especially during a panic attack, it’s common for anxiety to cause feelings like this, and actually make you feel like you’re going to faint – although fainting is rare when anxiety strikes, it can and does happen for a number of reasons, so it’s important to make sure you’re in a safe place or can at least sit down if this happens until it passes. Although fainting itself isn’t dangerous, if you hit your head on something like the concrete, then it can obviously be very dangerous.


One of the most annoying physical symptoms of anxiety is simply the feeling of not being able to sit still and rest – this is usually due to the fact that anxiety heightens every part of your body so you’re constantly feeling like you have to be alert, but it can also impact your sleep and ability and to focus.

Feeling detached or unreal:

One of the most curious, terrifying and unexplainable symptoms of anxiety is the feeling that you’re somehow not real or that you’re separate from reality. Unless you’ve ever experienced this feeling, it’s very difficult to explain, but it’s terrifying when it happens and if you can imagine how you might feel if you were outside of your body looking in, that’s what it’s like. Of course, like everything, it passes, and usually happens during a panic attack, but it’s one of the strangest things you’ll ever experience.

Emotional Symptoms Of Anxiety:

Unexplainable feelings of dread or fear:

Anxiety in all its forms is rooted in fear – fear of not being able to control things, fear of the future, and fear of things that may or may not happen now or at anytime. So, for example, you could watch a news report about a terrorist attack somewhere, and that will trigger the feeling of impending doom that something is going to happen to you or your family, but the more you focus on it, the worse the feeling gets. Sometimes, you just wake up with that feeling not knowing what triggered it, and this scares a lot of people because they think it’s a sign or premonition of some kind, when it’s just their anxiety.

Avoidance behavior:

This usually goes hand in hand with the feeling of fear, and since most people don’t want to do things that are scary, then they avoid them, but when it comes to anxiety, these are small things that become blown up – things like avoiding the phone when it rings because surely it’s bad news or you’ve done something wrong and someone wants to shout at you, or opening a letter because it must be a debt letter.

If you are suffering from mental health make sure that you reach out to someone you trust and someone that you can talk to. Here are some websites that can help if you need some more information.

Mental Health Ireland

Organisations that can help you

With Love,

Anne xxx

In today’s society, it seems that mental health disorders are massively on the rise - it could be that the world we’re living in full of high pressure, social media and other things are contributing to this.

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1 thought on “Mental Health Disorders: What Anxiety Feels Like To Those Who Live With It Daily

  1. As a diagnosed anxiety sufferer, I relate to so many of these things. My most common symptom is sweating and the fear that something might happen to myself of the people that are dear to me. I also often get palpitations and as someone that was diagnosed with a heart condition too, that makes my anxiety at these moments even worse. Right now I’ve trained my mind to know that it is just my anxiety and not actually my heart, but it still worries me. I’ve been suffering from stomach issues for the past three years too and I’m convinced that it is my anxiety that is at the roots of the problem, but it is so hard to tackle it. This was such a great post!

    Chloë |

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