Anger is an uncomfortable emotion. It can be very difficult to sit with and we can beat ourselves up for our angry feelings. It’s something we don’t often like to talk about because feeling angry can leave us feeling like a terrible person.
Anxiety and anger can go hand in hand. Anxiety can cause us to feel irritable, anxious, and frustrated, with anything and everything. Little noises, or tiny mistakes that people make, can feel as though it’s the last straw and we could go ‘over the edge’ at any moment. We might snap at people for no reason whatsoever. Anger might be the only way we know to express the anxiety we’re experiencing. There are ways that we can cope with our anger and we are certainly not the only ones to be living with it.
2. ANXIETY IN OUR SLEEP
It’s hard enough living with anxiety during our waking hours. But anxiety can also disrupt our sleep. Our dreams can take scary twists and turns and we panic, even in our sleep. We often wake up shaking, sweating, and struggling to breathe. It’s exhausting. There are many mornings when we wake up feeling as though we’ve barely slept at all. It can be painful, too – if we often tense up during our sleep then we can wake up with really achy muscles.
In the middle of an anxious period, breathing can be tricky. Sometimes it feels like our lungs are shallow and we can’t take a deep breath. Our breathing can be rapid and can leave us feeling light-headed. The more we panic about not being able to breathe, the tighter our chest can become, and the harder it is to breathe. It becomes a vicious cycle. The more anxious we get, the harder it is to breathe, and the harder it is to breathe, the more anxious we get. Breathing techniques, such as breathing in through our nose and out through our mouth, can help us to take control of our breathing, which in turn can help to reduce our anxiety.
4. CONSTANTLY NEEDING THE TOILET
Needing to run to the toilet at short notice can be a common symptom of anxiety. Anxiety can make us need the toilet more often and can cause diarrhoea. Anxiety is part of our ‘fight or flight’ response. As part of this response, our body empties our bowels so that we don’t have to do it in the middle of fighting or running away from something. It’s often an inconvenient symptom, and can be embarrassing. But it’s also a very common symptom for those of us who live with anxiety.
5. CRYING AT NOTHING
Sometimes we just start crying. Often we don’t even know why. We might have a not-even-a-problem-problem, like spilling a drop of water when making a cup of tea, and suddenly find ourselves in floods of tears. Sometimes we can cry at quite literally nothing. There are times when we might just be getting on with life, and all of a sudden a tsunami of tears hits us and we need half a box of tissues to mop it up. Sometimes we don’t actually cry, we just feel really tearful all the time.
Often this need to cry is a result of anxiety building up. It reaches the point where it overflows, and we can’t contain it any more.
6. DOING EVERYTHING QUICKLY
When we are particularly anxious, the level of adrenaline running through our body increases. This can cause our mind and body to run more quickly than normal. Because our minds are racing, we might find that we start walking fast, talking speedily, and doing everything super quickly. We might be difficult to understand because we’re speaking so fast. Additionally, because our brains are going so quickly, we might find that we go straight from ‘a’ to ‘f’, and miss all the steps in between. So the things we’re saying might not make sense to those around us, because they’re unable to follow our jumpy train of thought.
7. FEELING TRAPPED
Sometimes we can become so anxious that we feel physically trapped in one place. This might include, but isn’t limited to, our house. It could be something like a bus or a train. We can become so anxious about standing up in front of other passengers, that we don’t. This can lead to us missing our stop and ending up somewhere completely different from where we intended to go. Not only is this inconvenient, but it can also increase our anxiety for the next time we need to travel. This can feed into our feelings of being trapped in one place because it can reach the point where we feel unable to use any forms of transport at all.
It could also be at work, in our car, in a public toilet, or somewhere else entirely. Our anxiety reaches a level where we feel like we can’t physically get out of a place. This can increase our anxiety around going back there in future, all of which can lead to us feeling less and less able to go to places, and becoming more isolated and trapped in our house or flat.
8. HARMFUL HABITS
Anxiety can cause us to harm ourselves, sometimes without realising. This can include things like skin picking, skin rubbing, hair pulling, nail biting, or something else. Sometimes we might know that we’re doing these things, at other times, we might not realise.
It can be embarrassing, particularly if people ask us about it and we’re not quite sure how to answer. It can also be painful.
Once we are aware of it, there are ways that we can distract ourselves or other coping mechanisms that we can use. It can take work to learn to use different coping mechanisms, especially if we’ve been using something like this to cope with our anxiety for a long time. But it is possible, and there are people who can help us.
Living with persistent headaches can negatively impact our mental health, and our mental health can cause us to have persistent headaches. Our muscles often tense up when we’re anxious. When muscles are tense for a while, they become painful and ache-y. This can be a cause of headaches, particularly when we’re anxious for a while.
10. MUSCLE PROBLEMS
When we’re anxious, our muscles can seize up or spasm. Muscle tension and spasms are common when we’re anxious. They can be scary, particularly if we don’t expect them, because they’re often involuntary. They can also be painful – tensing our muscles all the time can be really sore. We don’t always realise we’re tensing up, but it can be helpful to consciously try and relax our muscles every now and again.
Anxiety can make us paranoid. There are times when we think that people hate us, despite them not having a bad word to say about us. We might think that people are constantly talking about us or bad mouthing us behind our back. Every time our manager speaks to us we might think that we’re going to get fired. We might constantly worry that someone, or a group of people, are intending to hurt us, steal from us, or alter our thoughts. This could be people we know, or organisations, such as the government. These thoughts can be constant, or could just appear when we’re particularly upset or stressed. They can be really distressing to live with.
12. SKIN PROBLEMS
Anxiety can create all sorts of skin problems including, but not limited to, rashes, eczema, and acne. When we experience these skin issues, we can become self-conscious of it. We might be embarrassed about how we look or feel the need to cover up or hide away. This can make it even harder to leave the house. It can create even more anxiety – anxiety about how to improve our skin, anxiety about what people might think about it, anxiety about our anxiety and the impact it’s having on our body. The more anxious we get, the greater an effect it can have on our skin.
13. STRUGGLING WITH SPEECH
Anxiety can cause us to struggle with our speech in all sorts of different ways; we might find ourselves in a situation where we feel unable to speak. It could happen over and over again. The more it happens, the more anxious we can become about speaking, and the harder it can be to speak. Anxiety makes our mouth become dry. We forget every word we’ve ever known and our minds go blank.
If we do manage to speak, we might find that we struggle to say what we want to say. We might struggle with stuttering. The more anxious we get, the worse our stuttering can become. It can be incredibly frustrating.
The symptoms of anxiety can feel embarrassing and shameful, but they’re nothing to be ashamed of and they’re much more common than they feel. They’re indicative of some squiffy mental health issues which can really disrupt and interfere with our lives. It’s always worth getting support and speaking to our GP, or another medical professional about them.
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