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What Is Anxiety?

Dark111

SF Supporter
#1
Anxiety is not something I relate to at all. But it's something I'd like to understand at this stage in my life. The Big-Five personality associated with anxiety is neuroticism. I score very low on that.

So I have to ask, what do people mean by anxiety?

Think of it this way, my foes, the more I drill into it so I can understand it, the more it might uncover something interesting for everyone else. Ot at least generate some food for thought.
 

Dark111

SF Supporter
#3
btw, I also get that people can be scared of kittens and lock themselves in bathrooms. I dated a guy who did that and i thought he was crazy and/or gaslighting me.
 

MichaelKay

Well-Known Member
#5
It's incredibly hard to describe anxiety. It's like asking "what is love? How does it feel? Is it mentally only or do your body feel it too?"

This is my experience:

Anxiety for me feels like an overload of thoughts and emotions. I feel dizzy and a gazillion thoughts race through my mind so fast I can barely get a sense of any of them. It's like being scared but different because my brain is clogged up in an overload of thougths & emotions. Unlike being scared where flight might be an option, anxiety feels paralyzing. Like the whole world is moving at a million miles an hour and I'm watching it all in super-slowmotion somehow. I often feel a bit dizzy when it happens. And get this sensation where sound is "muffled" of sorts like I'm underwater.

And then it's just tense. My chest feels like it's gonna explode, I get coldsweat while feeling extremely hot, my heart pounds wildly, I feel like I'm stuck in an elevator with claustrophobia no matter if I'm outside with wide spaces around me or not. It's hard to explain but to me it feels like my mind can kill me somehow. Like it's an actual fear of dying.
 

Dark111

SF Supporter
#6
It's incredibly hard to describe anxiety. It's like asking "what is love? How does it feel? Is it mentally only or do your body feel it too?"

This is my experience:

Anxiety for me feels like an overload of thoughts and emotions. I feel dizzy and a gazillion thoughts race through my mind so fast I can barely get a sense of any of them. It's like being scared but different because my brain is clogged up in an overload of thougths & emotions. Unlike being scared where flight might be an option, anxiety feels paralyzing. Like the whole world is moving at a million miles an hour and I'm watching it all in super-slowmotion somehow. I often feel a bit dizzy when it happens. And get this sensation where sound is "muffled" of sorts like I'm underwater.

And then it's just tense. My chest feels like it's gonna explode, I get coldsweat while feeling extremely hot, my heart pounds wildly, I feel like I'm stuck in an elevator with claustrophobia no matter if I'm outside with wide spaces around me or not. It's hard to explain but to me it feels like my mind can kill me somehow. Like it's an actual fear of dying.
Thanks for your reply, MichaelKay.

There's a lot of physical sensations there. From what I read though, all those physical sensations are driven by thoughts. Can you give an example of this? Take one case of physical sensations and the thoughts that drive that?
 

MichaelKay

Well-Known Member
#7
Thanks for your reply, MichaelKay.

There's a lot of physical sensations there. From what I read though, all those physical sensations are driven by thoughts. Can you give an example of this? Take one case of physical sensations and the thoughts that drive that?
Not really. It's hard to say what comes first. If one triggers the other or the other way around.

And atleast my anxiety rarely slowly introduces itself but is just there all of a sudden so to really sit back and analyze what caused it, how I felt from micro-second to micro-second, what caused my heart to raise it's beat etc is quite hard. It feels more like going from 60 to 240 in a heartbeat and not really knowing how it just happened.
 

Legate Lanius

Well-Known Member
#8
I'm not that high in anxiety but have had / have some of it sometimes. Right now I feel a small amount, actually. It constricts your breathing slightly, tightens up the body, including blood vessels (making the extremities colder). It's accompanied by thoughts about the future that give rise to uncertainty. "Will this happen?", "what if this happens", etc.
 

Dark111

SF Supporter
#9
Not really. It's hard to say what comes first. If one triggers the other or the other way around.

And atleast my anxiety rarely slowly introduces itself but is just there all of a sudden so to really sit back and analyze what caused it, how I felt from micro-second to micro-second, what caused my heart to raise it's beat etc is quite hard. It feels more like going from 60 to 240 in a heartbeat and not really knowing how it just happened.
Ok. So sometimes you get a physical sensation first and then the anxiety follows? Ok, I may need to break this into sections. I can get if you feel your heart palpitating, you think you're having a heart attack. That makes sense to me. But can you name a mental thing that causes anxiety? Like, what are you anxious about from a mental perspective?
 

Dark111

SF Supporter
#10
I'm not that high in anxiety but have had / have some of it sometimes. Right now I feel a small amount, actually. It constricts your breathing slightly, tightens up the body, including blood vessels (making the extremities colder). It's accompanied by thoughts about the future that give rise to uncertainty. "Will this happen?", "what if this happens", etc.
Ok, thanks for that, Legate. So it's a case of "What will happen in the future", a kindof consequence thing?
 

MichaelKay

Well-Known Member
#11
Ok, thanks for that, Legate. So it's a case of "What will happen in the future", a kindof consequence thing?
I have paranoia on top and from time to time delete all my social media accounts because I feel worried about people knowing "things" about me. I can even feel the same kind of chestpain/pressure just by speculating about it and then delete my accounts, comments etc. So for me it isn't just about the "future" but more so that people "know me" or can somehow "see inside me". I especially don't like kids because it feels like they're looking straight into my soul and can see all my insecurities etc.
 

Dark111

SF Supporter
#12
I have paranoia on top and from time to time delete all my social media accounts because I feel worried about people knowing "things" about me. I can even feel the same kind of chestpain/pressure just by speculating about it and then delete my accounts, comments etc. So for me it isn't just about the "future" but more so that people "know me" or can somehow "see inside me". I especially don't like kids because it feels like they're looking straight into my soul and can see all my insecurities etc.
That's interesting. I always imagined people have anxiety over different things & I hear what you're saying. But again, I'm at a lost as to what you're actually anxious about. In fact, I'm using the term fear from now on coz it seems to really resemble fear. Would i be right in saying you have a "fear" of what other people think of you?
 

MichaelKay

Well-Known Member
#13
That's interesting. I always imagined people have anxiety over different things & I hear what you're saying. But again, I'm at a lost as to what you're actually anxious about. In fact, I'm using the term fear from now on coz it seems to really resemble fear. Would i be right in saying you have a "fear" of what other people think of you?
I think what I'm afraid of, and what a lot of people are afraid of, is that feeling of having no strong personality core and having others realize it. Insecurities about stuff, low selfesteem, inferiority complex or some sort of lowkey impostor disorder traits.

So yeah, I am afraid of how others perceive me. And how well I am at acting like I feel fine around others. But for my sake it doesn't just have to do with anxiety but is probably the paranoia that plays a big part too.
 

Dark111

SF Supporter
#14
I think what I'm afraid of, and what a lot of people are afraid of, is that feeling of having no strong personality core and having others realize it. Insecurities about stuff, low selfesteem, inferiority complex or some sort of lowkey impostor disorder traits.

So yeah, I am afraid of how others perceive me. And how well I am at acting like I feel fine around others. But for my sake it doesn't just have to do with anxiety but is probably the paranoia that plays a big part too.
Ok so you for you, and maybe others, there are other factors that create this? It's not just fear out of nowhere. It's been sculpted out of other things. BIt of an A-Ha moment for me: I know I don't fit but that feeling is not accompanied by any sense of inferiority or of being 'less than'. Why do you 'neurotypicals' fear yourselves so much?
 

MichaelKay

Well-Known Member
#15
Why do you 'neurotypicals' fear yourselves so much?
You'll have to consult a study if you want to understand people as defined by group specifics. I can't tell you that nor be a representative of said group.

And why do people fear such judgment of character/personality as some anxious/neurotic people do? Maybe it has to do with human psychology and a major disconnect between the ideal self and the actual self? Maybe there's a bit too dominating super-ego in such types? I don't know.

(From Wiki)
The super-ego aims for perfection.[27] It forms the organized part of the personality structure, mainly but not entirely unconscious, that includes the individual's ego ideals, spiritual goals, and the psychic agency (commonly called "conscience") that criticizes and prohibits their drives, fantasies, feelings, and actions. "The Super-ego can be thought of as a type of conscience that punishes misbehavior with feelings of guilt. For example, for having extra-marital affairs."[33] Taken in this sense, the super-ego is the precedent for the conceptualization of the inner critic as it appears in contemporary therapies such as IFS.[34]
The super-ego works in contradiction to the id. The super-ego strives to act in a socially appropriate manner, whereas the id just wants instant self-gratification. The super-ego controls our sense of right and wrong and guilt.[35] It helps us fit into society by getting us to act in socially acceptable ways.[24]
The super-ego's demands often oppose the id's, so the ego sometimes has a hard time in reconciling the two.[27]
 
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Dark111

SF Supporter
#16
You'll have to consult a study if you want to understand people as defined by group specifics. I can't tell you that nor be a representative of said group.

And why do people fear such judgement of character/personality as some anxious/neurotic people do? Maybe it has to do with human psychology and a major disconnect between the ideal self and the actual self? Maybe there's a bit too dominating super-ego in such types? I don't know.
I didn't mean what I said as an attack. People say they're anxious and I don't know what they mean.

It seems, though, that people are fearful of what other people think of them and also fearful of themselves. I'm just curious about what drivers that.
 

Dark111

SF Supporter
#18
For me almost all of the anxiety I get is tied to money, jobs, housing and so on. But I don't have that strong anxiety, I just had a cup of covfefe so that got me a little anxious.
covfefe is really the cure to just about anything. It's obvious really :)

but yeah, the whole money & jobs, I get that. I just don't personally feel it.
 

Dark111

SF Supporter
#19
I've heard it said from psychologists that for me to feel empathy, I have to be able to see the world through your eyes. I have no idea what that means. Any verbal wizards out there who can enlighten me on the lense of anxiety? I have the utmost gratitude for those who have replied here so far but I'm still dumb as a brick on this one.
 

Legate Lanius

Well-Known Member
#20
I've heard it said from psychologists that for me to feel empathy, I have to be able to see the world through your eyes. I have no idea what that means. Any verbal wizards out there who can enlighten me on the lense of anxiety? I have the utmost gratitude for those who have replied here so far but I'm still dumb as a brick on this one.
Well, imagine a scary situation happening to you or rember something that has happened to you that made you scared. Anxiety is like fear but less intense and longer-lasting.
 

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