The word “weird” is one I hear a lot when talking to people about their anxiety symptoms.
In fact, the chances of this blog post ever getting a decent search engine ranking are probably slim to none because there are SO many posts and articles related to “anxiety and weird sensations.” Google it and you will get an idea of just how many people have this issue on their minds.
People say their arms feel weird or their head feels weird or they just have an overall feeling of weirdness that they can’t quite put into words. One little sensation somewhere on their body – their lip, their thigh, their pinky – anywhere really, has caught their attention and they find themselves zeroing in on it and feeling a constant “tug” to analyze it and worry about it.
It’s hard for me to even write this post explaining the types of feelings that I am talking about, because they are so vague that it’s hard to find words to describe them.
But if you have anxiety issues, I know that you know the types of sensations I am talking about and probably experience similar feelings yourself.
A lot of the time, these odd and strange symptoms are a direct result of that excess adrenaline we have flowing through us throughout the day. Adrenaline is there to prepare us to act quickly and strongly and that can definitely cause some strange feelings throughout our body.
But sometimes, these weird sensations occur at a time when our anxiety levels don’t feel particularly high or we don’t have any other obvious associated adrenaline side effects to go along with them….no pounding heart, no racing thoughts, etc., and there are no associated stressful triggers to go along with these sensations. The weird sensations just occur, then we begin to analyze them, and THEN the adrenaline often kicks in and things start spiraling south.
Where do THOSE weird feelings come from? The truth is that those feelings of weirdness are the same bodily sensations that have always been with you your entire life. The only difference now is that you are so hyper-aware of your body due to that adrenaline, that they are now catching your attention.
Your body is a living thing that never stops feeling.
When you were a baby, all of these feelings and sensations were new and you probably spent a great deal of time focusing on them and experiencing them. Have you ever seen a baby just stare at his feet or his hands with that look of “awe”? As we grow older, we become desensitized to these sensations and don’t even notice them anymore. Much like everything else, the new wears off and it becomes old hat.
Take a moment and pick any body part, like your hand or your big toe, and put all of your focus into it. Really zero in on it. I bet you can “feel” it now, can’t you? I bet that you can feel the life in it and the sensations that it is giving off. I am staring at my thumb right now and I can absolutely feel how it is alive and a separate part from the rest of my body. I can feel the sensations from it, that I never usually think about because I am so used to them.
Every part of your body has feeling all day long, every day of your life……sensations that you don’t even notice.
But when you develop an anxiety disorder, and you have so much adrenaline flowing through you all the time, you become hyper-aware of these sensations.
Your now very sensitive radar, which never used to pick up on these sensations, now starts pinging. And on a slow day, when you don’t have something “major” popping up on your radar screen to distract you , all of the smaller little “blips and pings” suddenly become noticeable to you. A little twitch, or a slight little crampy sensation, or a little zap or zing……something that you have probably felt a million times throughout your life has now caught your attention and you become intrigued. And I don’t mean good intrigued, I mean concerned intrigued.
These sensations feel odd and foreign. Your mind isn’t quite sure what those sensations are or how to handle them. They don’t really hurt, but they don’t feel good either. They just feel weird. And of course being the dramatic, negative thinker that you are…..it doesn’t take long for you to go from weird to bad and that is when the worry and concern kick in.
“What is that all about?”, you ask yourself. “I never noticed that before. Why am I feeling that sensation? What is going on there? It must mean something. I want to know what it means. This can’t be good.”
You want to analyze these “weird” sensations and pick them apart and dissect them until you get to the bottom of whatever it is that is causing them. You are drawn in as a moth is drawn in to a flame.
But it’s all okay.
Remember that adrenaline’s job is to make you alert and to help you find danger and flee from that danger when it thinks you are in trouble. This ultra sensitive new “radar” you have going on is a perfectly normal response to the amount of stress you are under.
It’s also perfectly normal that your radar wouldn’t just be scanning your external world, but also your internal world … your mind and your body. Your subconscious is very smart. It knows that it is not just external factors, like a lion, that can cause you harm or death. It knows that internal factors can be harmful as well. If you are very sick, you might not survive. So you subconsciously turn that radar on your environment AND your body, looking for signs in both places that “something is wrong”.
Your subconscious wants to make sure ALL the bases are covered. Our brains are truly amazing in so many ways, and the way that it is so brilliantly designed to keep us alive and protected is one of the ways most fascinating to me.
So there you have it. The truth is that these weird feelings you are having are the same “new sensations” that as a small baby, probably fascinated you and made you giggle or smile.
But then again, as a small baby, you didn’t have the brain power to “over think”. You didn’t have the knowledge that bad things happen in life so you just stayed in the moment, happy and content, playing with your feet, not feeling the need to question and analyze it and “make sense” of it all. I guess ignorance really can be bliss.
Photo Credit: Shoe/Feet Photo and Baby Feet Pixabay Public Domain