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."
2. "[It feels like] trying to stay calm in a sea of hands fighting for your attention."
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."
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."
5. "[It feels like I'm] falling through endless rings of fire."
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."
7. "It feels like electricity running through my body, almost like little energy tingles."
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."
9. "It's almost as though there's an elephant sitting on your chest."
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."
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.