Anxiety is different from depression, but the two often go hand in hand. Depression can cause us to stop doing things, or even leaving the house for a while. When we then come to do these things again, it can cause us to feel incredibly anxious. Anxiety can sometimes lead to depression. It stops us from feeling able to do the things we love which can impact our mood.
Anxiety can come with a whole range of symptoms. We’re often embarrassed about them; feeling as though we’re alone in our experiences. This can feed into our anxiety and make things even worse. Many symptoms are a lot more common than we think.
1. Aches And Pains
Unexplained aches and pains are common in people with anxiety. Anxiety can cause us to tense up. Our muscles might remain tense for a while. We might clench and unclench our muscles repeatedly. All this muscle action can contribute to the aches and pains. The aches and pains can appear anywhere in our body, at any time.
2. Cold, Numb, Or Tingly Hands And Feet
It’s very common to experience weird sensations in our hands and feet when we’re anxious. This is usually due to the level of oxygen in our blood, and/or our blood flow. Anxiety can affect our breathing which can affect the levels of oxygen in our blood. Additionally, anxiety can cause our body to engage a ‘fight or flight’ response. As part of this, our body might direct our blood supply away from our hands and feet (towards our vital organs). This can contribute to these symptoms.
Anxiety can cause us to feel incredibly dizzy. This can make it hard for us to stand up, or even sit down – sometimes we need to lie down until it passes. It can cause us to feel unsteady on our feet. We feel like the world is spinning. Our vision does strange things. We experience ‘dizzy spells’. It can be constant and can make it feel impossible to go about our daily lives.
4. Dry Mouth
Lots of people with anxiety experience a dry mouth. It doesn’t matter how much we drink, our mouths can still be dry. Medication for anxiety can have a side effect of dry mouth. It can make it hard to speak, and be uncomfortable to live with.
5. Inability To Remain Still
When we’re anxious, it can be impossible to remain still. It’s as though all the anxiety in our body is trying to escape. We pace. We shake. We tap. We jiggle our legs. We use fiddle toys. We stand up and sit down on repeat. For some of us, this constant repetitive movement can lead to repetitive strain injury.
Struggling to sleep is a common symptom of anxiety. It doesn’t matter how exhausted we are, sometimes we still can’t sleep. Our brain’s are whizzing too fast. Our bodies are tense. We can’t relax into our bed. If we do manage to fall asleep, we’re often woken throughout the night by our bodies reminding us that we’re anxious.
7. Lack Of Concentration
Anxiety makes our brains feel busy, fast, and full. It can feel like we have many different thoughts firing in lots of different directions. We can’t latch on to any of them. It can be difficult to concentrate on anything at all because we can’t settle. We’re restless. We can’t focus on the task at hand. Every time we trying to focus on one thing, our heads distract us with ten different things. It can make it difficult to follow conversations, read, or do anything much at all.
Sometimes, anxiety causes us to feel our heartbeat. It can feel as though it is racing and/or irregular. Sometimes it feels like it will beat out of our chest. Anxiety triggers a fight/flight response in our body. Our heart beats really fast to try and pump enough blood around our body so that we’re able to run away. Even if we’re not running anywhere, we can feel this super-fast heartbeat. It can be a really uncomfortable and scary sensation.
9. Stomach Upsets
Anxiety cause us to have a lack of appetite. It can cause us to have difficulty swallowing when we do try and eat. If we do manage to eat something, we can then experience lots of stomach issues. It can trigger irritable bowel syndrome. It can give us cramps and make us feel sick. It can cause diarrhoea. It can mean that we frequently break wind. It can result in constant trips to the toilet (not always the easiest to manage when out in public!). We never talk about these issues because we see them as embarrassing. But they’re really common symptoms for people with anxiety.
10. Sweating And Hot Flushes
When we’re anxious, we sometimes sweat more. This sweating isn’t always confined to places like our armpits; we can sweat all over. Even our hands can sweat and become clammy. We might also experience hot flushes. All these things can be embarrassing to manage and cope with. The more embarrassed we get, the more anxious we feel, so the more we’re likely to sweat.
Anxiety is exhausting. Not only do we often struggle to sleep due to insomnia, anxiety itself can tire us out. Our bodies are constantly in a heightened state of activity. We can’t sit still. We struggle to rest. Our brains are going non-stop. It’s exhausting. Even if we feel like we haven’t done much in a day, living with anxiety can make us feel like we need a nap by 10am.
If any symptoms of our anxiety are interfering with our lives, we may want to talk about them with our GP or a medical professional. If we are in crisis then we need to contact a crisis support service.
Mental ill health can make us want to hide and we often feel shameful of what we’re experiencing. Quite often we’ll know other people who are going through something similar yet, because we don’t talk about how we feel, we continue to struggle alone. Please don’t be ashamed, you don’t have to cope with anxiety on your own.
Please help us to help others and share this post, you never know who might need it.