When most people think about anxiety symptoms, they typically think about sweating, heart palpitations and panic attacks. However, some people experience more unusual symptoms that can be difficult to pin down. They might find themselves going from doctor to doctor, complaining about bizarre symptoms that seemingly have no cause. Here are some of the more uncommon ways that anxiety can manifest itself in your everyday life.
1. Feelings of Unreality
Have you ever looked around a room and thought that everything seemed fake, like you were a player in a video game? Feelings of unreality can be a symptom of anxiety. The mechanism behind dissociation is not quite understood, but it’s believed that your brain tries to protect you from stress by making you “detach” from reality. As a result, you feel disconnected from reality when you’re stressed or anxious.
This symptom can be disturbing, but when it’s caused by anxiety, it’s a passing feeling that causes no permanent harm. The feeling typically goes away when you reduce your anxiety or focus on something else.
You feel like you have to get everything right the first time. Sometimes you will not even start a project if you’re not confident that you can knock it out on the first try. If you make a simple mistake, you beat yourself up endlessly. You scrutinize every tiny detail and minimize the strengths while obsessing over the flaws. To your anxious mind, nothing is ever good enough.
Anxiety can manifest itself as a constant need for control, which leads to unhealthy levels of perfectionism and self-criticism. Once you lower your anxiety levels, you might start to realize that perfection isn’t as important as you thought it was.
Normally, a slamming door would be a minor annoyance. But if you are feeling anxious, the sound of a door slamming can make you feel enraged. You find yourself getting angry over small things, jumping at loud noises, and snapping at your friends and family members. Everything seems to set you off, and you cannot figure out why.
Anxiety raises your stress levels, which in turn makes you feel irritable. Anxiety also triggers your fight-or-flight response, which makes you feel on edge and see everything around you as a potential threat. You are not a bad person for feeling irritable: you’re just under a great deal of stress.
4. Irrational Fears
Your friends tease you for being afraid to drive by yourself at night. Logically, you know that the chances of anything bad happening are slim. But you start to panic every time you’re on the highway and the sun starts to set below the horizon. Your hands shake, your heart races and you hit the gas pedal so you can get home as soon as possible.
If you have fears that you know are irrational, you might dismiss them as personality quirks. But these “quirks” might actually be a manifestation of severe anxiety. Anxiety is never rational, and if you can’t shut off fears that you know have no basis in reality, you might be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
Let’s face it: anxiety is exhausting. Your fight-or-flight system is constantly on high alert, wondering what catastrophe will happen next. As a result, you feel fatigued throughout the day. You have trouble getting up in the morning and collapse into bed at night. On the weekends, you want to stay in bed all day. Completing normal tasks has suddenly become a massive undertaking.
At first, you might think you are suffering from a chronic condition. This might be true, but you might also be exhausted because your anxiety has been draining your energy reserves. It takes a lot of energy to be stressed and worried all day long. And the longer it goes on, the harder it is to build up your energy again.
6. Low Concentration
Every five minutes, you stop what you are doing and check your phone. You try to focus on the task at hand, but your brain will not cooperate. You feel like your mind is going a million miles an hour and it is impossible to concentrate on one thing for long. Once you could binge-watch an entire season of your favorite TV show; now you can only watch one or two episodes before jumping to something else.
While concentration issues are frequently associated with ADHD, people with anxiety can also find it difficult to concentrate. Your brain is constantly bubbling with nervous energy and jumps from one thing to another as you desperately try to distract yourself. It is stressful, it’s frustrating and it’s just another way that anxiety has taken over your life.
If you’ve been suffering from any of these symptoms, talk to a doctor or a psychiatrist. It is possible that you might have an undiagnosed anxiety disorder. Anxiety can be debilitating, but you do not have to face it alone. With the right treatment program, you can get your mental health back on track and start enjoying your life again.