The Worry Games
Share Button

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.

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

Your brain 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 of keeping you safe from danger that I am going to talk to you about.  The brain’s method of keeping you out of harm’s way is called “Fight or Flight”,  and I am going to break it down for you in a way that will help you finally make sense of all the uncomfortable feelings you are experiencing. 

You cannot survive without the fight or flight response.    But more importantly, your anxiety cannot survive without it and the key to your recovery lies in understanding exactly how it works. 


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

Your brain is always listening to your emotions.   When you feel scared or stressed,  and your brain “hears” that you need help,  it releases stress hormones as a response, in order to help you manage the threat.   The stress hormone adrenaline is what I am going to focus on in this article,  as it responsible for most of the physical symptoms you feel during the fight or flight response.    

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.   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, by releasing as much adrenaline as it thinks your level of fear requires to handle whatever threat you are facing.   Your brain 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. 

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.      Adrenaline is the amazing hormone that gives you fuel to fight your threat,  or fuel to run swiftly away.    Your brain has no way of knowing which you will decide to do,  so it is very handy that adrenaline will help you with both. 

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 from 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.   In fact, in some of us it works a little TOO well.   Anxiety disorders are not a sign of mental illness, my friends.   They are a sign of somebody with an amazing survival instinct.  We would have made fantastic cavemen.    Perhaps a little too neurotic about which berries to eat,  but no saber-tooth tiger will be sneaking up on us, that’s for sure.    This probably explains why in modern times, so many of us with anxiety are night owls who like to sleep during the day.    In our caveman days, we were the ones who were awake all night worrying about an attack in the dark, while the rest of the tribe slept comfortably.    



The point is that “fight or flight” 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.  That is,  unless this response happens without us knowing why.

Imagine our confusion and stress if the police and fire departments just showed up outside our door multiple times a day,  and none of the officers spoke our language and couldn’t communicate to us why they were there.    If we know why this emergency response has shown up to our door,  it would feel understandable, expected and even reassuring to see and feel the presence of the squad cars and engines.     Without this knowledge, we are only left questioning and fearing the unknown threat that lurks so closely.   “Why is this emergency response coming to my home every day?  I can’t see anything wrong.   I don’t hear anything wrong.   WHY?”    The confused response this would bring is what it feels like to live with an anxiety disorder.    However, as  chaotic as it feels to not understand what is happening with your emotional responses, trust that your entire response system is working just fine.   It is simply disordered.


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 this anxiety disorder?

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

“Why?   You said there was nothing wrong with me?”

That is correct.   There is nothing wrong with you.    Your brain is responding exactly as it should with the communications that you are giving it.   If  you want to change the response,  all you need to do is change the messages you are sending.  

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  answer is because stress, whether chronic or acute,  has exhausted your nervous system to the point that it is no longer as resilient as it once was.    It is not your fault.   You were probably a sensitive person, chronic negative thinker and a strong emotional reactor to start with,  which can be tiring to your brain and your nervous system.   You have probably managed to do okay in life despite that, though.     But now, on top of those personality traits,  some external experiences in your life are causing you even more stress,  and the combination of  all of these things has weakened your nervous system.   




Think of your nervous system as your bodyguard.    It is there to protect you and help you fend off the blows and hits from the stress in your life.  When your nervous system is rested and healthy,  it can withstand quite a lot without getting too worn down.  It pushes away most of your stress pretty easily.   However even the best bodyguards have a limit to how much fighting they can do.  When the stress gets too much for your nervous system,   whether through one very traumatic event or  multiple smaller stressors,  your bodyguard gets weaker and weaker until he just completely gives up and surrenders.   So now you are feeling everything.  There is no buffer between you and the stress.   Your nervous system is too tired to even try to protect you from the  the little things in your life that would never have bothered you previously.   It just lets everything through to get a piece of you. Everything in your life is basically now taking a swing at you, and it all feels very threatening. 

Things that never would have bothered you before, all of a sudden feel very scary, and you respond accordingly – with fear.   When you respond with fear, your brain responds with adrenaline.   When your brain responds with adrenaline, you don’t like the symptoms and it causes you more stress.   The more stressed you are, the more reactive you become.  The more reactive you become the more stress it causes.   It’s easy to understand the whole “disorder” part of an anxiety disorder.  Everything is just out of balance and needs to be re-set.  I will get more into how to do that at another time.    

For now,   just know that unrelenting stress and chronic over-thinking/negative thinking have caused a shift in balance.  Where once logic was in control,  your exhausted nervous system has surrendered and it is your emotions that are in control now and they are keeping the phone in their hand at all times with 911 on constant re-dial.   If you want to correct this imbalance and get your logic back in control again, you have to give up the constant worry and negative thinking and strengthen your nervous system.


I know what you are thinking:  

Give up the worry and negative thinking?   Just like that?   Excuse me,  but  I have an anxiety disorder.  I can’t control any of that.   My brain makes 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.

Your brain 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  and habitual negative reactions,  are what push that gas pedal to keep the anxiety engine running.  Take your foot off the gas by changing your negative thoughts and beliefs.  Then, over time,  the adrenaline output will decrease.    That,  combined with learning to manage your external stressors,  will,  over time, cause  your anxiety symptoms to lessen.

anxiety fear adrenaline

If you want to control your anxiety,  you must own your role in it.  You have to accept responsibility for the part you play in keeping it around. 

Every time you worry,  every time you stress,  every time you feel fear , you are essentially asking your brain for help.   And the only way it can help, is to give you adrenaline.     Your brain is essentially a drug dealer, and if you don’t want the drug,   you have to stop asking for it.   

Again, 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.   But you do.   And if you are responding to a work deadline, or the sensation that you swallowed  your steak funny,  the same way that you would respond to somebody holding a knife on you,  you can’t blame your brain for reacting strongly and sending out a lot of adrenaline.    Once you retrain yourself to let your responses match your situation, you will find your disorder starting to correct itself. 

Sometimes we become so overly sensitized that we aren’t even aware when we are afraid of something.   It all happens so fast that we lost track of what came first – the fear or the symptom.   This is where more of  the “disorder” comes in to play.  The truth is that when you have adrenaline coursing through you all day long,  it can make you hyperaware of all your bodily sensations and cause you to respond to them in a flash.   A harmless skipped heart beat caused by a little extra adrenaline can cause a fearful response without you even having time to consciously process that you had a skipped heartbeat.   It seems as though you have an adrenaline rush that comes from nowhere and it terrifies you,  when actually the rush of adrenaline was caused by your micro-response to that skipped heartbeat.    This type of  misunderstanding between you and your brain is a HUGE factor in your anxiety disorder.    You begin to unknowingly fear your response to fear.  And that is what keeps you 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 a NORMAL reaction,  for negative leaning,  overthinking analyzers like those of us who live with anxiety are.

Anxiety fear adrenaline

Here are some common symptoms of adrenaline:

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 and as I mentioned before, it all goes back to our nervous system. 



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

At this point,  your anxiety disorder has “erupted”  and you are now what they call  “overly sensitized”.    Your nervous system breaks down.   Yes, I said it.   The dreaded nervous breakdown.  Yes there is such a thing but the good news is that if you are reading this article you are probably currently experiencing yours and there isn’t much more to fear.  Nervous breakdown doesn’t mean you are “crazy”.    It just means you are over-whelmed by stress.   That’s all it has ever meant despite the ugly stigma it has been given.   I can proudly say I have had a couple of nervous breakdowns and never once did I lose my sanity.   What I did lose was my ability to rationalize my way through my fears,  but once I took steps to get my life back in my control again,  I regained my ability to do so.   

Here is what can happen when you become overly sensitized.   I am guessing you can relate to a lot of these. 


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 out adrenaline 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 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.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 9.27.12 PM

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.






Lisa Branson

Sponsored Links


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

  1. Pingback: Calming Anxious Reactions | The Worry Games

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Pingback: Post Partum Anxiety and Fear of Death |

  5. Pingback: Panic Pointers #3: Make Some Noise |

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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. ?

  16. 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.

  17. Pingback: How to love someone with anxiety – Rising from Rubble

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

  20. 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 🙂

  21. 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!

  22. 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.......