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    Aug 5, 2015

    10 Illustrations That Perfectly Depict What It Feels Like To Be Anxious

    Because not everybody *gets* it.

    by ,

    We asked people on Reddit, BuzzFeed editors, and friends to anonymously share what their anxiety really feels like.

    1. "For me, anxiety feels like running with concrete shoes on."

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    2. "[It feels like] trying to stay calm in a sea of hands fighting for your attention."

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    3. "My anxiety is my annoying neighbor who knocks on my door every morning wanting to come in. I can hide from her for only so long before she puts her foot in the door. She will cause me to lose focus; I don't feel like myself when I'm around her."

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    "Sometimes I give into her presence and feel totally enfeebled. But lately (more often than not), when she knocks, I tell her that she serves no purpose in my life and to get off my porch."

    4. "For me, it feels like I'm sitting in a dark, cold room and I can see a crack of light underneath the door, but I can't reach it. I can also hear everyone outside having fun and laughing but I'm stuck in this room with no way to get out."

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    5. "[It feels like I'm] falling through endless rings of fire."

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    6. "Imagine you are standing in a pitch-black room filled with dense air, and you feel like you are going to be attacked any second now, but the moment doesn't pass right away."

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    "You can feel your heart racing, and your mind contemplating random things, and you are gasping for breath."

    7. "It feels like electricity running through my body, almost like little energy tingles."

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    8. "Imagine that you see a man in a wheelchair. He has been told that, although he is absolutely incapable of walking now, there is a method of physical therapy that will enable him to build the strength necessary to walk again."

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    "He is given a time and an address on a piece of paper. Upon arrival he sees that the room he must go to is room No. 212. The sign directs him to go up the stairs and to the left. There is no elevator. His hand shaking, he reaches out slowly, hoping to catch someone's sleeve, or get someone's attention. One man feels it, and turns to the man in the wheelchair. 'Can I help you?' he asks.

    With tears filling his eyes, the man pushes out a 'yes.' He says, 'I need to get to room 212, for my physical therapy. It may help me walk again, but I just can't get there.'

    The stranger pauses for a moment, and offers a sympathetic smile. 'Of course I can help,' he replies. 'It's upstairs, and to the left.' Then he walks away forever."

    9. "It's almost as though there's an elephant sitting on your chest."

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    10. "It's an alarm system in your brain. When something makes the alarm go off, your body responds in kind — your adrenaline goes up, your heart rate goes up, all that jazz."

    Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

    "A generalized anxiety disorder, like I have, is when the alarm in your brain is too sensitive. Like, if you've ever had a smoke alarm in your kitchen that goes off whenever you're just trying to make some damn bacon. The tiniest, most frustrating things can send it off; or it's just going off all the time, pretty much."

    Heather Silvestri, Ph.D., tells BuzzFeed Life, "With proper treatment and increased self-awareness, most people with anxiety disorders can lead meaningful, happy lives."

    Silvestri adds, "Anxiety, when adequately treated, can enhance empathy and creativity and life fulfillment as people accept, without judgment, their anxiety as a meaningful part of who they are and how they relate to the world."

    To speak with someone immediately for help with anxiety, contact AboutRecovery 24/7 at 1-877-345-3370.

    Note: Submissions to our post on Reddit have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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