The Worry Games
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anxiety fear adrenaline

anxiety fear adrenaline

If you have read Part 1  and Part 2  of my anxiety information pages, you know that you and anxiety need to team up to help you get control of your life and eliminate the problems caused by stress, fear,  and too much worry.

But before I can tell you how to do that,  I need to explain to you what anxiety is and why it is a part of your  life.

Let me start off by telling you about your brain…..your VERY healthy, normal brain.

anxiety fear adrenaline brain

Your brain has many jobs,  but the most important job it has is to keep you alive.

It wants to keep your heart going.   It wants to keep your lungs and other organs functioning properly.   It wants to make sure you stay hydrated and well nourished.  And it wants to keep you out of danger’s way.

Your brain is SO amazing!

It has a unique method of doing all the things I mentioned and a method for probably a thousand things aside from that.   But it is the brain’s method for keeping you safe from danger that I am going to talk to you about.  The brain’s method for keeping you out of harm’s way is called “Fight or Flight”,  and you may know a little or a lot about this already,  but just in case you aren’t familiar with it,  I’m going to talk briefly about it and try not to put you to sleep.

Try to stick with me here,  I know I am going to get repetitive,  but you really need all this information to “stick”.     This part is really important for you to understand,  and more importantly,  it’s important for you to  believe,   if you are ever going to fully be able to control your anxiety.



“Fight or Flight” is what happens when you are in danger and your brain “hears” that you need help.

It hears that by “listening” to your emotions.   When you feel scared or really stressed,  and your brain “hears” that you need help,  it releases a hormone called adrenaline,  as well as other stress hormones such as cortisol,  to help you handle whatever is “threatening”  you.   This release of hormones is a direct result of your fear.   It’s what the brain does and you couldn’t stop it if you tried.   If you feel fear,  those hormones are coming.

Let me give you an example of “Fight or Flight”:

Imagine you are walking down the street at night,  and you sense that somebody is coming up behind you and you start to feel a little scared.   Well,  your brain immediately senses that fear.   And I mean instantly.

 (Brains are very efficient that way.)

But …and this is important.  Your brain doesn’t know WHAT it is that is making you feel fear.  It doesn’t work that way.  Your brain doesn’t have eyes or ears.   It is not going to stop and analyze the situation you are in to decide if you are over-reacting or not.  That is YOUR job to figure out.    Your brain is trusting that you know what is going on out in your world and that you can determine what is a threat and what isn’t.  Your brain trusts that if you are feeling fear, there is a reason for it,  and it responds accordingly.   It works exactly as a computer would, except that instead of responding to typed commands,  it responds to your emotions.

When it comes to “Fight or Flight”,   your emotional response to whatever is going on around you is what is running the show. 

And when that person comes up behind you on the street,  your brain “hears” your fear,  and immediately calls in for back-up.   Your brain has its own 911 system,   and it is adrenaline that responds to the call.

anxiety, fear, adrenaline

So let’s break it down…..

You call for help with your fear.

Your brain is the dispatcher who receives that call for help,  and decides how much help you need at that moment.

And the adrenaline is the body’s version of the police and fire department…..there to save you anxiety fear adrenalinefrom whatever predicament is causing you fear.   And with a response time that any fire department would love to have,  adrenaline and other stress hormones SHOOT through your body.

The adrenaline acts as a super-charger that gives you extra strength for fighting and extra fuel if you decide to skip the fighting and go straight for the “flighting”.   Adrenaline can make you hear better,  see better,  respond faster…. and it can make you hyper-aware of everything around you so that you don’t miss anything that may be a threat.

In a split second,  the brain sends that adrenaline out to help keep you safe,  and this all happens before you  even realize its happening.

It is a system that works extremely well,  which is why it has remained relatively unchanged since our caveman days.  And it has helped us human beings out a lot.   At some point in our lives,  I would venture to guess that we have all benefited from this “Fight or Flight” response and I would say we are all pretty grateful to have it.   Like our real life first responders,  the police and fire departments,  we all appreciate adrenaline and what it can do for us when we need some help.

Remember that every human being has a brain with the exact same 911 system,  and the brains of those with anxiety disorders are no different.     Our 911 system works just as well as everybody else’s….exactly the same….no differently.

anxiety fear adrenaline worry

So the logical question would be,  “If there is nothing wrong with my 911 system,  and my brain is perfectly healthy and normal,  then why do I have an anxiety disorder?

Because the brains of people with an anxiety disorder have 911 on a perpetual state of re-dial.  

“Why? What is wrong with me?”


You have an anxiety disorder because you are constantly telling your brain you are in danger.   The problem is not with your brain.   The problem is that you have been ordering adrenaline  like its going out of style and you haven’t even realized it.  

“How?  Why?”

The short(ish) answer is because you are a chronic negative thinker and a strong emotional reactor.   You worry and react to more than the average person does,  often about stuff that the average person wouldn’t think was quite so bad.

Your emotions keep your 911 system very busy.

Always, always remember that worry is perceived as fear by your brain.  It’s a lower stage of fear,  I suppose….but still a type of fear,  and it causes your brain to work a lot of overtime and send out a lot of adrenaline.  (The amount of adrenaline that you receive is in direct proportion to the level of worry or fear that you are emotionally experiencing.)  And that mental exhaustion you are living with from being in a constant state of worry and negative thinking,  combined with the adrenaline that you keep receiving, is what is giving you your anxiety symptoms.



So now you may be thinking:    

“Well of course I worry and think negatively.   I have an anxiety disorder.   It’s not my fault.  It’s my brain making me  worry because of all that adrenaline or some other chemical problem in my brain.

But that isn’t true. 

In the absence of any other diagnosis accompanying your GAD or Panic Disorder,   your brain is not sick or diseased.

It cannot “control” your thoughts or alter them.    YOU have to think every single conscious thought you have,  whether it is negative or positive.    It is true that your subconscious can lob some random thoughts out there that,  especially in those of us with anxiety disorders,  are often odd or worrisome or “trouble making”,   but even in those cases,  those thoughts are still coming from a very healthy part of YOU and you are fully in charge of how you respond and react to them.

It is all YOUR thoughts,  and your feelings and beliefs that precede or accompany them,  that cause your anxiety/adrenaline symptoms….not the other way around.     Your negative thoughts are what pushes that gas pedal to keep the anxiety engine running.  Take your foot off the gas by changing your negative thoughts and beliefs.  Then the adrenaline output will decrease and over time your anxiety symptoms will lessen.

anxiety fear adrenaline

I will try to explain further….this gets kind of long, and yes, repetitive,  but again hang with me because I’m hoping to bring this around home in the end and have it make sense. 

Every time you worry,  every time you stress,  every time you feel fear …..your brain is listening and releasing a little bit more of that adrenaline and cortisol.

Remember that your brain doesn’t know whether you are worrying about a deadline at work or whether you are worrying about a possible intruder in your house.   It only knows how strongly you react to whatever it is that is upsetting you,  and it will always respond accordingly with what it thinks is the appropriate amount of adrenaline.

Sometimes its a little adrenaline that your brain sends out….sometimes its a lot, depending on your level of emotional stress.   Your brain is VERY responsible and efficient that way.

This is what happens EVERY time you worry and EVERY time you stress or fear something,  and it has worked this way your entire life.

Eventually,  after months or years of you ordering up this adrenaline practically every day of your life being the chronic worrier that you are,  your brain eventually just starts to keep the adrenaline and other stress hormones and never really shuts it off.

Its kind of like assigning you a 24 hour bodyguard.

And, again,  here is why the brain does this….its really important that you “get” this part:

panic adrenalineAfter so many months and years of listening to you tell it how crazy and unsafe your world is (at least that is how your brain perceives your thoughts),  OR after one big event or change in your life that you REALLY reacted strongly too and are having a hard time coping with over an extended period of time,  OR a combination of both of those things,   your brain decides that you pretty much need its help around the clock.    It perceives your world as so threatening,  that you must never be without your adrenaline.    You are on a “round the clock”  adrenaline pump which means that you are feeling the adrenaline side effects ALL THE TIME not just when you are agitated or stressed or worried.  And it is those adrenaline side effects, combined with the hair-trigger of your now exhausted nervous system,  that people confuse with symptoms of some mysterious disorder or mental illness.

It’s very easy to see why it would be confusing and a little scary to have adrenaline side effects when you aren’t consciously afraid or scared of anything,  isn’t it?     If you are sitting on your couch and your heart starts racing while no obvious threat is around you, you are probably going to assume there is some unknown ailment or issue going on, right?   That’s what most of us with anxiety disorders end up thinking, and that misunderstanding is what keeps our anxiety disorders sticking around.   We begin to unknowingly fear our response to fear.  And that is what keeps us in a state of fear.   Seems deep, right?    But it’s not.  It’s really quite basic and easy and logical.   And most importantly….its NORMAL for negative leaning,  overthinking analyzers like those of us who live with anxiety are.

Anxiety fear adrenaline

Here are some of the symptoms that all that adrenaline may be giving you at random times throughout your day:

Racing and/or Pounding Heart

Hyper-Awareness of your Bodily Sensations and Your Thoughts

Trouble Sleeping

The Urge to Run and Flee a Situation Without Knowing Why

Constant Sense of Dread and Doom/Feeling as Though Something Bad is About To Happen

Stomach Upset/ Bowel Upset

The Feeling That You are Going to Pass Out

The Feeling That your Legs Won’t be Able to Hold You Up

The Feeling that you Might Freak Out and Do Something Crazy

Chest Tightness

The Feeling That You Can’t Get a Full Breath

Shaky and/or Tingling Hands/Fingers

Numbness in your Extremities

Hot Flashes

Thoughts that Race or Seem Bizarre or Out of Your Control. 

I mean, is it any wonder we think we are dying half the time?!     The things we worry about may be “all in our heads”,   but these symptoms certainly aren’t!

The above list of symptoms would probably look almost exactly the same if I asked you to list the symptoms of your anxiety disorder.   Because a great deal of your anxiety disorder symptoms ARE your adrenaline side effects.   They are one and the same.   Adrenaline being released is a symptom of anxiety.    And all of those feelings I mentioned above are simply side effects of that adrenaline.   It’s all very logical and very natural.     Even your wildest feelings,  your wildest thoughts,  and your wildest reactions are all part of this very normal anxiety response system that we were born with .

Of course,  not knowing this is what is going on,  your  adrenaline symptoms  just don’t seem to make sense.   And they create fear in you which your brain “hears” and of course it keeps that adrenaline fear/cycle going.    Now you and your brain are basically running  in a circle chasing each other’s tails with neither of you knowing that you are causing the other one’s strong reaction.

One of you has to pull yourself out of the loop.   And it won’t be your brain.   It’s got to be you.   However,  this can be tough to do.

Here is why.

anxiety, fear, adrenaline, panic

After an extended period of over-reacting to adrenaline symptoms and/or living with chronic stress,   your entire nervous system becomes very stressed. 

At this point,  your anxiety disorder has “erupted”  and you are now what they call  “overly sensitized”.

Here is what can happen when you become overly sensitized.

You startle easily. 

You over-react even more to things that you normally wouldn’t over react to.

You sometimes feel as though you may be acting a little “paranoid”.

You get upset/agitated more easily than you used to.

You feel like you frequently see things moving out of the corner of your eye.

It’s not as easy to convince yourself of what is a real threat and what is not.

You find it very difficult to feel truly calm….ever.

You are feeling adrenaline rushes more and more frequently and you may begin panicking because of them.    

Chronic fatigue, stress and adrenaline can completely alter your nervous system to the point where you  cannot stop over reacting to things.   Everything feels awful.   Everything feels like a threat.  You feel nervous down to your cells.    It can be extremely difficult to calm yourself down when you are in this overly sensitized state.

Don’t get me wrong.

It can be done,  and you should NEVER tell yourself you are unable to calm yourself,    because the power is always within you,  but until you have desensitized yourself, and really “practiced”  calming down,  it can be a challenge to find that mindset that is necessary to actually do it.

This is why it is so important to put a strong emphasis on desensitizing yourself when you start noticing symptoms of anxiety creep in.   The sooner the better.     Coping with symptoms of adrenaline is a thousand times easier when you are not living with a mentally exhausted nervous system and brain that have shoved you out of the pilot’s seat and have taken over because they think you must live in the middle of a war zone and disaster could strike at any second.

On a final note,  I know this all sounds very dramatic,  but it is vitally important that you remember and always keep in mind that all that adrenaline and all these anxiety symptoms are there because your brain thinks you need its help to stay alive.

It is all there because of the emotional and mental “thought” messages that you are sending to your brain.   It is there because your brain is responding to how YOU interpret what is going on in your world.    Your brain thinks it is helping you.  Your brain thinks it’s doing a GOOD thing and it will continue to do what it is doing until you stop interpreting your world and your bodily symptoms as being threatening to you.

Your wonderful, sweet brain is looking out for you.  And until your brain thinks you no longer need that protection..its just going to keep pumping it out and patting itself on the back for the great job it thinks it’s doing keeping up with you.

And rightfully so.  It is a very good brain you have there!

Your brain probably has to work twice as hard as the average person’s brain, in order to keep up with all that you put on its plate. You with your constant worry, and catastrophizing and self-analysis.    Your mental pace is exhausting and your brain has kept up with all of it.    Seriously, those of us with anxiety have the best, most loyal brains around.

We should throw a  parade in their honor! 

There is nothing wrong with your brain. It is just doing its job. Always remember that your brain “hears” everything you say, and you telling yourself that something is wrong with your brain that you are powerless to control,  is not exactly what your brain needs to be hearing right now,  and it is definitely not going to soothe your brain into feeling safe enough to shut off that adrenaline.

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Ok,  I think that’s enough for one page.  I will do a sub page on how an anxiety disorder can turn into a panic disorder.    I was going to put them both together but I think it’s too much at once.   I already think this is too long but it’s too hard to condense into anything shorter.

Read this over and over before you move on to the next page though.  It’s a lot to take in and let’s let it float around your mind for a while on its own before we add anything else in the mix.   And then when you are ready,  move on to Part 4:  Anxiety and Mental Fatigue,   where I expand a little bit more about the effects of being overly sensitized and other issues related to chronic adrenaline exposure.





 AnnaLisa Scott

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43 thoughts on “Part 3: Anxiety and the Fear / Adrenaline Cycle

  1. Emmanuel Uganda

    Dear Lisa,
    I cannot thank you enough for this article which I only discovered last evening. I read only this section, even shed tears uncontrollably when I realized how stupid I have been thinking of the worst case scenarios for my life. I trained as nurse, I have worked in clinical and research settings with human subjects, I have suffered major depressive disorders (MDD), I have been on medication, I have been an alcoholic, I have been violent to passersby, my family, my wife and children.
    For over TEN years, my brain and body became over-sensitized and conditioned to adrenaline that I even get aroused by thinking of myself alone. I shed tears when I read the phrase that “THE BRAIN GOT OVER-SENSITISED AND SET ITS SELF ON RE-DIAL MODE TO POUR ADRENALINE”.
    By reading this together with other resources, I realize that my feeling has become my means of thinking, I always think in the past, create the same choices, end up with the same behavior, which produce the same experiences, to produce the same emotions and re-affirm more of the same thoughts.
    Recently, I had an attack of Herpes Zoster(HZ) common among immunocompromized patients. When I visited the physician, he was shocked to find me HIV negative but remained wondering.
    I am going to combine this resource to continue renewing myself, by de-sensitizing my brain (now 3/4 into it) then become a new, successful researcher, entrepreneur, parent and health promoter.

    Thank you Liza and all those who shared your experiences

  2. AnnaLisa Scott Post author

    In the absence of medical issues or PTSD, I would say no, the brain doesn’t make mistakes. The brain works amazingly well to serve its purpose to keep us alive and that is why it has remained so unchanged for so long. The brain can only produce that response if we give it the input to do so. The more sensitized you are, the easier it is for you to become afraid though. You start to fear things you wouldn’t normally fear.

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  5. Michaela

    Wow you have saved my life. I have been suffering from really powerful adrenalin surges even worst during the night preventing me from sleeping. I’m am diagnosed with stress and anxiety from situations I went through last year and am trying to practice mindfulness but my last anxiety attack really scared me I thought I was going to die. Your article reads as if you had written it for me. I will sit down later and fully read it all and embrace it. Thank you so much I am so grateful. Regards Michaela

  6. Sue

    I am so grateful I came across your blog. I’ve had constant extreme anxiety for a month now and it’s been exhausting. I will use your words as part of my emotional toolkit to get a handle on this. I feel that I have learned so much about myself even though it has been the worst thing to go through! I am determined to get through this struggle and regain my life. Your words are so,so helpful, I cannot thank you enough, you’ve lifted a weight off of my shoulders. Thank you.

  7. Dori Rieder

    Your articles are so helpful. I have one question. Is there anything my daughter can do to stop the adrenaline coursing? She’s on medication which she is deathly afraid of and is not helping. Any information would be helpful. Thank you!!

    1. AnnaLisa Scott Post author

      I am assuming the medication does not cause her to release extra adrenaline? Its just a medication that she is nervous about taking? If that is the case than the best thing she can do is just desensitize herself so her brain will quit reacting the way she does. Its vitally important that she slow down the pace of her life and really find something to put her mental focus on besides her anxiety and the feelings it causes. As long as her anxiety and fear are the most interesting things to her, she will keep reacting to it and the cycle will never stop.

  8. Mom of 2

    I’m reading this after being up all night with adrenaline surges. I’ve had this one other time and it went on for months before I was able to get over it along with meds. I’m on vacation and the night before we left couldn’t sleep due to early morning flight. I was exhausted last night and worried about sleeping again which started this whole vicious cycle again. Every single time I started to fall asleep my body would surge and wake me up…even when I thought I was relaxing. I have no control over it because it’s my subconscious waking me up. I finally took a .5 clonazepam that I had from before which made me so upset that I had to take but pure exhaustion got the better of me. Finally fell asleep but only for a few short hours. Trying to rest but still get surges once relaxed. Any advice? I feel so shaky and not sure how to break this cycle. I just can’t settle down no matter how hard I calm by brain. I just no it’s coming. I’m guess I had this happen at least 50 times last night and now have adrenaline overload. Any advice welcome. Feeling scared, tired and sad.

    1. AnnaLisa Scott Post author

      You may not have control over the short term surges but you do have control over them in the long run. This is all related to your being overly sensitized and hyper-alert and it will not go away until you convince your brain that you are okay and out of danger. Its important that you follow my anxiety recovery steps found in the menu at the top or bottom of your page, depending on your device, and make a point to not dwell on how bad you feel. It just perpetuates the cycle. Keep telling yourself you are okay. Focus on keeping stress out of your life, follow my steps and eventually this problem will get better.

  9. Sandra H

    Where oh where have you been for the last year and a 1/2?!?! I love love love this article you put together and that alone is more help than I have had with dr’s, therapists and drugs. I cannot tell you how much I learned, how you put it together so beautifully and how it made such good honest, SENSE. I just went thru a rough few days where I had about all those symptoms and was even thinking hmm, why are my hot flashes back?!” I am looking forward to devouring the rest of your blog ASAP. Thank you thank you thank you. I am showing my therapist this article, ok? Explains it so well! 🙂

    1. AnnaLisa Scott Post author

      Thank you for the comment. I am really glad I was able to help. I have been where you are and I know what its like to not understand what is going on with you. It can make you feel like you are crazy, and then all of a sudden somebody explains it in such a simple way and its like you finally have a path to follow to find your way out. Best of luck to you and let me know if I can help you in any way.

  10. GAIL

    Hello Lisa
    I am 63 and have suffered from so many of the things you described for so long. I do take prescription medicine and it has been very helpful. I recently have experienced a family loss and it has thrown me back into the arms of anxiety dragging me down after a wonderful anxiety controlled year. It’s so deflating. You were right on when you said we experience emotions unlike people who do not have an anxiety problem. I am going to strep 4 next. It’s so wonderful reading suggestions from someone who has had the same experiences. I do not want this setback to rob me of time. The intrusive thoughts are so stressful and insane at the same time. Thank you for all your wonderful advice staying tuned in.

    1. AnnaLisa Scott Post author

      I’m sorry for what you are going through Gail. I love your determination. Keep seeking help and answers and trust that this is all just a strong reaction to stress and poor thinking habits, and it WILL get better.

  11. Robyn Della Kay

    This blog is SO helpful. Right now it’s 5am and I have to be to work at 9, I am coming off yet again another really bad panic attack and it feels like it’s directly related to adrenaline because I will be laying down and all of the sudden after 40 unwanted worried thoughts I have I can physically feel the adrenaline set in, my heart will start racing and I’ll feel completely crazy in seconds. Then it feels like hours of “calming” myself down. It’s really taking control over my life, and I’m only 26. So reading this and understanding more about it and that I’m not alone and you so perfectly discribed how I feel makes me feel a little more at ease.
    Any advice on what to do Day to day? To help prevent the panic? Or most important what to do during the panic?
    Thank you so much!


    1. AnnaLisa Scott Post author

      Hi Della, I am so sorry for what you are going through. The most important thing I like to get across to panic attack “sufferers” is that you have GOT to show your brain that your world is a safe place. Self care is VITAL. You are hyper-sensitive, over reacting….you brain has reset itself to a chronically tense and nervous state because it believes you live in something akin to a war zone. In order for it to decrease these settings and get you back to “normal”, you have to convince it you don’t live next to a den of saber tooth tigers. Every single day – hot bath, deep breathing exercises, quiet time, reading calm books, no yelling, no arguments, no being around toxic people. You MUST treat your brain as you would treat a scared foster child who came into your home after being abused. You must be patient, show yourself love, speak softly, no excess stimulation. Live a nice gentle life, as much as possible, until you and your subconscious, and your brain can ALL agree that you don’t need excess adrenaline around the clock to stay alert and safe.

      During panic…deep breathing and distraction are the way to go. NEVER try to analyze your panic. It is a waste of time. Its a panic feeder. It doesn’t matter what triggered it or what you are panicking about. Its completely irrelevant. Remember that it takes a certain depth of thinking in order to have a panic attack. You have to be in a certain mind set. When you are panicking, imagine yourself climbing onto an elevator, out of the thought basement, and up to the top floor again where its just regular thinking…casual and nice and easy. Sing, think of a riddle, do anything you can to keep yourself on the top floor and your panic WILL go away. Remember, it feels awful, but it isn’t REAL. Not really real, if that makes sense. Panic attacks are just a side effect of too much introversion, too much stress, and too much analyzing. Distract yourself, deep breathe, think of nice things and it will go away. Just ride the wave until it does.

  12. Anna

    Hi, many years ago I suffered with anxiety it took a long time to recovery. I had the whole lot. I came out of it with the help of doctor claire weeks , books may I add ,you remind me of her so much. I gained so much confidence after the depths of so much despair felt alive again. Now am back to square one after 8 months of severe stress and worry with my daughter I wont go into it ( lets just say life threatening). I have now let the worry stress get the better of me and its took over. Reading your blogs has given me hope again , I admire you and want to thank you for this wonderful site and work you do x

    1. AnnaLisa Scott Post author

      Hi Anna. I’m so sorry you are going through it again. I have had several occurrences in my life as well, including one recently. I know its hard but try your best not to overthink your symptoms. Keep your daily routine as simple and “normal” as possible if you can’t take a bit of a time out from life for a while and rest. You will be okay. You will get through this again. Don’t lose hope.

  13. Debbie

    Hi Lisa iam in such bad shape iam older 55 i have leaky heart valves and dr told me i will get afib now i live in fear .Iam losing so much weight and iam thin already thin. Ive beat anxiety before but its staying now . Iam afraid to be by myself and think 24/7 of this .
    Thanks debbie

    1. AnnaLisa Scott Post author

      Hi Debbie, have you asked your doctor if your condition contributes to anxiety symptoms and if there is anything he can offer to help? I’m so sorry you are going through this.

  14. Naomi

    Hi Lisa
    I am so happy I have e found this page, I was diagnosed with a heart condition 4 months ago that has pretty much turned my life up side down ? I found it very hard to adjust and then set in This ugly anxiety , wow it has taken me by surprise that it can take over so much of me physically and emotionally. I have been suffering too from these horrible addranaline rushs ?they are horrible and can sometimes last for a while. Reading your blog has so helped me with some understanding that unfortunately my doctor could not even explain to me . Thank you so much you have given me hope and some strength that I will eventually take back control. ?

  15. John Pilger

    Thank you for your excellent observations. I wake in the early hours with what feels like a current coursing through my body – it’s mentally disabling and frightening. I have considerable stress at the moment, and imagine I have something physical and terminal. Is the symptom I describe (I also have fatigue and unsteady legs) an indication of extreme anxiety? I wish to be anonymous.

    1. AnnaLisa Scott Post author

      Hi and yes that is very common with anxiety. I would of course recommend you see a doctor just to make sure there is no physical cause, however, I hear that described a great deal when people discuss their anxiety with me. If you are living with extreme stress right now to the point of having physical symptoms, its vitally important that you not try to overthink your symptoms and you just let your brain and subconscious figure this all out while you kind of go along for the ride. Our brains were wired to get us through the tough times…even times of very serious stress with jobs or divorce. I am not including trauma when I say this, but generally when we get into really long lasting anxiety trouble is when we start to overthink our symptoms and start forming opinions and asking questions about them. Get a doctor to rule out a physical cause and once he does, just ride this wave, really up your self care a great deal, and keep your mind focused on external things, not your inner thoughts and sensations.

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  17. Rthza Abdo

    How do you deal with the days you feel down, and you feel that this world is a scary place and there’s nowhere to hide?! Sometimes, we can’t get away from the bad things that happen everyday in the world! How can you deal with that?

    1. AnnaLisa Scott Post author

      I have never been one to get down. I am full of anxiety but not depression or feelings of frustration or feelings of that nature. I am very determined, and I always believe I can somehow make things better. I am not an optimist by any stretch but I have a strong faith in myself to “figure things out” and find some way to deal with any problem. To me, bad things are inevitable. They are coming and hiding from them only means I won’t be able to handle them as well when they do come. When I was younger I used to look for people to take care of me and comfort me…reassure me and “handle things” for me. But I was just handicapping myself. I had to toughen up so I could handle my life better and not react so strongly to the negative things.

      Imagine if you knew that someday somebody was going to throw a fifty pound dumbbell at you. You don’t know when its coming, but you know someday it is. The way I see it, I want to be prepared when that happens. I will never catch it well enough that it doesn’t hurt me or possibly do some physical damage to me, but if I work on toughening myself up and strengthening my muscles and taking good care of myself, then maybe I can lessen how much it hurts when that thing does get tossed my way. Does that make sense? I know someday something bad and terrible is going to happen to me. MY life has been full of those times. In my early years, those times sent me straight into panic attacks and anxiety. Since I have become a stronger person, I don’t have those long term effects from the terrible things anymore. They still hurt like hell, but I am stronger. I catch the fifty pound dumbbell bette now. Maybe the time will come when something really terrible happens that I CAN’T handle. Maybe a HUNDRED pound dumbbell will be hurled at me. But I will do the best I can. That is all I can do.

      I finally learned that I will never get through this anxiety disorder…or this life….if I don’t learnt to stand on my own two feet. I quit relying on people and I turned inward to find my strength. I do affirmations, I read, I work out, I take martial arts. I do things all day long that make me feel good about myself and that make me feel powerful. If you aren’t doing things that make you feel powerful, find some. The key to solving my anxiety puzzle was inside me the whole time. I believe its in all of us. Build yourself up, mentally, physically, and you will be amazed at the changes you see in yourself and in your reactions to the world.

  18. James

    Without any doubt this is the most informative blog I have ever read in my life. Knowing what I know now is truly transformative and is making me smile as I type.. Why cant healthcare professionals explain these simple principles and set people free to live their lives… Adrenaline !!! My new best friend – now I know what its all about.. Thank you

    1. Lisa Scott Post author

      I remember those moments of smiling after I read something that helped my anxiety make sense. Its the best feeling and I am so glad I could help bring that feeling to you! Makes my day.

    2. Sandra H

      Exactly how I feel! No dr or therapist has explained what you write so eloquently and make it so easy to “get”. Thank you again!

  19. w l

    Thanks you so much for this, I have been suffering from what I THOUGHT was anxiety disorder for 3 years now (and I’m only 22) and have felt pretty helpless the whole time. I was given advice on looking into the adrenaline aspect of things and then I stumbled across this great article.

    I love the conversational format of your article and how well it flows. It may be long but was really effective in keeping me engaged whilst also conveying a lot of information at the same time.

    I can’t thank you enough, time to get my life back 🙂

  20. Adam

    Your thoughts and words are so incredible helpful! I have never looked at it this way and yet it makes tremendous sense. You are describing word for word a part of me that I have struggled with for many many years (maybe since I was a kid). Only recently, after a very bad health scare, did it manifest itself into actual panic attacks. Thank you so much for deciding to share your story!

  21. Joel Dames

    Hi Lisa,

    Been following you and thinking of you and so meaning to keep in touch. Love your writing and your use of illustrations.

    Hope I might comment on this three-part series. For me it was not too long. But for especially younger digital-generation people with a sated attention span, each part might be broken down into a couple of parts. Maybe with stuff from your life or those you relate with. If possible I would think 500 to 700 words a segment. And that is what my Word Press SEO app keeps telling me.


    1. Fleurdelisa Post author

      HI Joel, its good to hear from you! Thanks for the comment, I appreciate the feedback and I agree that I might be able to segment this a little better so that I don’t lose people’s attention. Especially on a mobile device, it could seem to go on forever. I will have to look into it and figure out if I can find a way to do that and keep the flow going. I will have to try that app you are talking about. I am always looking for help.

I'd love to hear from you.......

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