12 Struggles Only People With Anxiety Will Understand

Anxiety is tough.

anxious woman SB Arts Media / Shutterstock

If you're dealing with anxiety in any form, you can probably relate to these hardcore struggles that only people with anxiety truly understand. Are you nervous about what you're about to read? Then you're definitely down with these struggles.

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12 Struggles Only People With Anxiety Will Understand

1. "I need to talk to you later" is a mental rollercoaster.

When people say they need to talk to you — like your partner or your boss — but that they're busy right now and will contact you later, you want to kill them. Why? Because now you're really worried and thinking the worst.


It has to be some horrific news they're about to drop on you, and the minutes, hours, and days you need to wait in order to hear their "news" has you in such a tizzy that your little anxious brain is running off in tangents.

2. A fight is never really over.

You know how someone says, "It's OK, I'm not mad anymore. The fight is over," yet you're thinking, "I don't know if I believe them"? Yep, that's the struggle of an anxious person. A fight can leave you unhinged for a while, and even if someone assures you everything is peachy keen between you guys, you can't help but wonder if that person is still just a wee bit mad.


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3. Late-night phone calls or texts ruin your sleep.

If you dare to read your work email or get into a deep discussion with someone late at night, it's guaranteed you won't sleep. Or, if you fall asleep, you'll wake up at least once in the middle of the night and count sheep until you believe you might have a sheep fetish. But, no, you don't. You're just anxious.

4. We talk a mile a minute or say nothing at all.

People with anxiety know one of two struggles: the silence that grips you when you're nervous in a group of people or with one person, or verbal diarrhea that erupts from your mouth thanks to nerves. An anxious person could outtalk any politician or stay silent for longer than a person getting cross-examined in a torture camp.

Either issue is palpable. Being tight-lipped can mess up so many situations like dates, interviews, parties, or legal matters, but being a nervous Chatty Cathy can also be problematic on many levels, especially if you slip and say something stupid.


5. Even normal events can turn into panic attacks.

Anxious people could be driving a car, eating lunch, or sleeping peacefully when suddenly, their heart rate goes up, palms sweat, and stomach drops or gets nauseous because a panic attack is about to come on. The day could've gone completely normal, but perhaps your brain is still fretting over something that happened days ago.

And now, out of nowhere, while you're traveling down the highway you go into a full-fledged panic attack. Of course, to other people who don't get panic attacks, this all sounds like nonsense and hype, but you know better. You know how draining and scary the experience is.

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6. Don't tell us "not to worry."

When people tell you not to worry because it's no big deal, you laugh because their words are useless. You're going to worry and that's a fact. Someone's assurance for you not to worry is pretty much useless unless that individual backs this information up with valid facts that you know to be true, reasonable, or scientifically valid.


7. Doctor visits make our stress levels skyrocket.

You know when you go to the doctor and he says, "Well, everything looked great. There was this one abnormality, but it's commonly found and really not indicative of something to worry about. Just a common abnormality found in the population," and you sit there and think, "Thanks for ruining my afternoon, doctor!" That's the struggle of an anxious person. Don't give us information we don't need, thanks.

8. WebMD is a death sentence.

When you have anxiety, you understand the challenge one undergoes when resisting the urge to Google or WebMD every single symptom you have when you're sick. Those medical sites were built to create anxious people so psychiatrists could gain new patients. Well, maybe not...

9. Everyone thinks Xanax is the ultimate cure.

Almost every single person will suggest to an anxious person, "Why don't you try Xanax?" as if it's some magical pill. OK, perhaps it is (I've never taken it), but I've found that medication does nothing unless I'm having a panic attack. Med-free is the way to be for me, but if you have anxiety, everyone recommends Xanax like it's friggin' candy.

10. We can be social butterflies in one place, and complete hermits in another.

Some people with anxiety are incredibly shy and introverted; however, a lot of us are incredibly comfortable in some situations and then uncomfortable in others. No one understands why the anxious person can be a musician or actress but then shudder at the idea of attending a wedding or reunion. No one understands why an anxious person can enjoy a large gathering but hate a small intimate one or vice versa.


For some reason, people think anxiety makes a person avoid all social contact at all times, without realizing that it varies from person to person. Each person with anxiety has different triggers; some may be total hermits and others can be totally outgoing, but socially anxious in others.

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11. Repetition is our best friend.

People who are anxious often retell stories multiple times to their friends because the situation makes them anxious. Therefore, they think that telling a friend will make them feel better. They may have said this already and even know they're repeating themselves, but they're trying to calm themselves down and are reaching out for reassurance.


12. Intuition can be a gift and a curse.

For better or for worse, anxious people can have sick intuition. That intuition can be wrong and misfire plenty of times, but when it's right, it's eerily right. I fear the worst when it's often not, but when I fear the worst and it's right? It's dead right. No one cheats, lies, or puts one over on me because I know it's happening for better or for worse.

Anxiety is tough, but that won't stop me from trying to tackle this filthy beast once and for all.

Laura Lifshitz is a writer, former MTV personality, and Columbia University graduate who writes about divorce, relationships, women’s issues, and parenting for The New York Times, Women’s Health, Working Mother, Pop Sugar, and more.