Mental Health Blogs

Anxiety Makes Us Feel Unreal

Panic attacks can suck the reality out of us!

I talked two people down from panic attacks recently and both of them had been worrying that they had lost touch with reality. They felt totally disconnected to the world around them. In talking to them, they were so convincing. I almost believed that this episode was different. But I let go of my own fear for them. (My worry doesn’t help anyone.) I quickly assessed that they were not, in fact, psychotic. They were speaking rationally and eloquently.

And I remember from my panicky days how I felt different and disconnected.
Anxiety makes us feel unrealAnd this feeling different and disconnection totally charged up my panic. It went through the roof! Making me feel even more disconnected. This is because anxiety is what we feel when we are disconnected. Anxiety comes from a feeling of separation. That there is something missing in us that doesn’t allow us to handle situations. A false assumption that we are different than other people (thus separate).

Feeling disconnected is a very scary illusion

It feels so much like it is possible we won’t come back to ourselves. Like our sanity is about to go off a cliff somewhere, never to return. This is terrifying! And feeds the anxiety. An already huge snow ball, rolling around, gathering yet a wider girth. Intense panic ensues.

If your panic is this intense:

Stop and remind yourself that this is just panic, not death, not psychosis, not a cliff.

Remember: I cannot guarantee much in life, but I can guarantee that things will change, you will not stay here forever. That is impossible. This too shall pass.

Remember: You have most likely been here before and came out the other side, it only feels like this is more intense because it is happening right now. It was probably this intense before and you survived (or you wouldn’t be reading this.)

Know: You can get rid of problemed anxiety

Please tell me what is on your mind!

By Jodi Lobozzo Aman

I blog here: Heal Now and Forever Be In Peace
and here: Anxiety-Schmanxiety Blog,
share here: Twitter@JodiAmanGoogle+
inspire here: Facebook: Heal Now and Forever Be in Peace,
Get my free E-book: What Is UP In Your DOWN? Being Grateful in 7 Easy Steps.

This entry was posted in Anxiety Causes, Anxiety Symptoms, Effects of Anxiety, PD and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

135 Responses to Anxiety Makes Us Feel Unreal

  1. Nikky44 says:

    I feel disconnected when I panic. Sometimes I “force” that feeling of being disconnected to avoid the situation i am living. I become a witness to the situation and not a part of it, and it feels so real. It was considered psychosis, and was prescribed anti psychotics, but i wasn’t convinced. It didn’t help. The feeling of being disconnected often comes with visions of what “will happen”. It can be anything, something bad like jumping from the 10th floor or something good like getting a hug. Whatever it is, it brings peace for a while. When feeling disconnected and needing to “come back”, the best thing is to have someone talk to me about anything, but i also try to notice and focus on the physical symptoms that come with the anxiety: shaking, breathless, chest pain, etc. It brings me back to reality. Feeling disconnected is very scary, but I learned to use it and now it is helping me.

  2. Tina Barbour says:

    When I am in the midst of anxiety and panic, I definitely feel disconnected from others and different from others. I feel like everyone else if doing fine–why can’t I? You described this very well, Jodi!

    When I’ve very anxious, I can be with another person, but still feel disconnected from him or her–like I can’t focus.

  3. Shawn Maxam says:

    “Stop and remind yourself that this is just panic, not death, not psychosis, not a cliff.” – This is a perfect quote.

  4. Tim says:

    Actually, when you are on panic your mind is automatically block because you are focus on what is happening and you are worrying if you would be hit or something.

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  6. shletha says:

    My anxiety is taking me on a field trip,first I was convinced I had cancer,then I was convinced I was crazy now I think I’m schitzo its so scary,I be so out of it I get so sad and think I may have to go to a menatl institute because I have two little boys!I get scared because so many weird thoughts run threough my mind..can u relate?

    • Yes, Shletha, I can relate and the fear of it all has it increasing! Once you know this is fear, it may settle your mind a little, and stop snowballing. This is what you want.
      Is there someone you can talk to? To help you through?

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  9. Milly says:

    Hi im curriently in the process of thinking im goiing mad. I dont even feel like me

  10. Milly says:

    Hi im currently in the process of thinking I’m going mad. I don’t even feel like me. Why is this? I feel stiff, feel like I can’t breathe and my heart is racing. My mind won’t stop. I thought I was going mad till I read this so thanks!

    Thank you all. I know it will pass. xx

    • It will pass, Milly, know this. Glad to help! Xoxox

    • jade says:

      Hey Milly did your anxiety pass. Because I’m feeling exactly that way, it started early this month it comes an go but I really don’t like the feeling an I’m a varsity student I feel like its gon affect my studies.

    • shakiya pone says:

      I’m scared it like I really don’t know myself I don’t get wants wrong wit me I feel like I’m not me I hate looking in the mirror I feel like I’m n the wrong body I have bad dreams n I feel like can get out my head idk wat to do but sit n pretend like I’m OK but I’m not I feel empty like I always been crazy and didn’t know it can someone please reply n give advice???

      • Rob says:

        I feel the exact way you just described. I’m seeking CBT treatment and I heard it can really help and totally fix the situation we are in, which is just fear even tho it feels like some sooo much more. Maybe you could look into CBT yourself?

      • Rob says:

        …also. As a quick fix solution I got prescribed Diazepam from my GP which is a sedative! Sounds drastic but it totally relieves the feelings for a bit. The only downside is that they are HIGHLY addictive! But therapy is the way to go.

        • I think you raise a very valid point, Rob. Sometimes medication really is necessary — and helpful. But the side effects (including addiction/dependency) can’t be ignored. You’re right that therapy is very effective. Sometimes a combination of approaches is necessary. Even if it takes time to find just the right approach, anxiety is indeed treatable.

    • my mind is running i feel like i can not breath im here but im not here feel like im losen all control please help me

  11. Milly says:

    Does this mean I have a mental illnes?

    • Not by my definition, Milly, anxiety and fear are natural human emotions. It’s how you react that leads them to get worse. If you can’t nip it in the bud, see a therapist, who can help quickly! You don’t have to be mentally ill to see a therapist. They help the ‘worried well’ too!

  12. RJ says:

    I think I developed anxiety disorders/phobias/panic attacks because I was always a closeted adrenaline junkie. haha. Everything I wanted to do in my life (in childhood…but it’s carried over to now) was somehow unrealistic/impractical. It’s not like I wanted to jump out of airplanes when I was 5..I did want to do outdoorsy stuff like “extreme” sports (never even truly understood what was extreme about them, TBH), when I was little I used to ask my parents if we could travel places and then always felt personally rejected when they’d rationalize why we can’t (can’t afford it, too much else to do, “do it here”, etc.) I got annoyed b/c I lived in the city (NYC)–to the point I ended up feeling emotionally and mentally claustrophobic around almost anyone–gridlocked!

    Now I have kind of this internalized gridlock that I really just want to get rid of, but it’s kinda been built up there not only b/c of the city, but also to control my own impulses (I was kind of “secretly” aggressive as a kid…e.g. I loved the idea of wrestling but not with all the rules and other “crap” they “added in” and put on TV…I just wanted to do things like that, and not have to think about them. But yet I knew that would be kind of, not socially acceptable. lol.)
    Part of it might be AD/HD…but that’s kind of a chicken/egg thing. It seems to “disappear” when I don’t feel “restricted” by “authority.” I have almost an instantaneous defiant reaction to authority, too…but it really depends on the person…and usually it’s men which explains why I avoided male friendships most of my childhood. So I wouldn’t start something I couldn’t finish by telling them all they’re moronic wimps and not actually being able to “prove myself” in a fight if parents got involved.
    lol….so I was kind of a ‘roid rage child too, in a way…
    my mom says I was also an angry baby, which is interesting…

    • RJ,
      You are in this process trying to figure it all out and decide how to think about it. Try to be a least judgmental as you can. It’ll all turn out better that way! Keep being a fascinated witness, rather than a frustrated victim.
      Jodi

  13. Jordan says:

    I am dealing with Feeling disconnected and Unreal. But the thing is. It gets waay worse when I eat. Im starving and have lost 40 lbs. If I could just get rid of the disconnected feeling.”unreal” or not here. I would feel so much better. Id be able to eat again. Many people say its anxiety. And I have some symptoms of it but I also feel like maybe its something else. Ive done blood test and vitals and they came out fine. Idk what to do.

    • Eat tiny meals or at least get some calories in drinks/smoothies, even if you can only manage one bite every ten minutes. Keep eating tiny until you feel better, then increase slowly. I hope this helps!

  14. Nancy says:

    I have this feeling constantly like I am not really here, it was coming and going but now seems more like its here every day, when I try to think of the future with my son the idea comes in my head you arent going to be here anyways. I am getting alot of anxiety and it seems to focus around that feeling of not really being here, when I go out I can act normal but it puts alot of stress on me to do things and causes me anxiety…I can control the anxiety to a degree by telling myself im fine over and over, but its the feeling in the back of my head like im farther away and cant focus ….like I just dont want to be here. I have a son I love so much and want to be here for him, but that feeling gets so strong.

    • Nancy,
      I would venture to say it might be anxiety. But obviously I cannot diagnose you on this alone. Have you gone to a counselor? I might be helpful to you to see someone right away. You don’t want to do anything rash and have your son lose his mother. Sometimes we get thoughts in our head and we get confused about what is real. Talking to someone can help so much because they can give you feedback and help you realize what is what. Did something ever happen to you, Nancy? How long have you been like this and when did it start?

      Hang in there.

      XO

      Love,
      Jodi

  15. Nancy says:

    thanks for the reply Jodi, I am seeing someone but she is not much help as she does not offer councel as much as medication,I went off of a medication and had this occur, and keep feeling more and more like I am not really here, and not sure why as I love my boy so much and want to be here for him, but I guess there are times where I wonder what the point is to life, I am taking a medication now called cipralex and am really hoping it does help me,I have had numerous things happen in my life, losses and traumas, but have been through councelling and thought I was better, I had been on effexor for fibromyalgia for years and once I went off of it I started to present with these issues and am having such a hard time getting back to myself, your post here gave me some hope as its positive that this will not stay like this, I dont want to lose touch with my boy which is what I am most afraid of, that I will forget I have him somehow….not sure what that is about, I am fighting every day to go out and try to keep contact with reality it just seems like I am walking around in my own head alot.

    • Nancy,
      Since I am not a MD, I cannot comment or give advise on medication. BUt going to someone for counseling again seems to be in order. Sometimes we feel better and then later in our life we get down to a further level of healing. This doesn’t mean you are not really better, it is just the next layer. I am glad you are getting out. Keep that up. Stay out of your head as much as possible. Make sure you are speaking to your doctor about the side effects of the med changes. Hold on and get yourself to a counseling. I hear your desire to live and be OK. I know you can do this.
      Love,
      Jodi

    • Presley says:

      I get this same exact feeling! Especially how you said you can control the anxiety to a degree but its the feeling in the back of your head like you’re so distant and far away. I wish I just had a panic attack from something I could pinpoint, but instead I have constant feelings of not feeling real. Sometimes I am okay with it and I can be strong and tell myself “this will pass, there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s just anxiety.” But then it gradually worsens because I start getting overwhelmed and panic when the feelings don’t go away. It’s so horrible not being able to concentrate or “connect” with people and the world around me. I’m 34 weeks pregnant and having a baby soon and my anxiety was fine for almost a year and during my pregnancy up until just a few weeks ago when I hit my third trimester. That’s the main thing I can think of that would be triggering my anxiety. All I can think about is the baby coming and feeling like this after she is here and I imagine myself so crazy and feeling like this that I won’t even be able to take care of her :( I am so glad someone else feels this way though and that maybe I’m not going crazy. My therapist told me that if I question myself and I’m afraid of going crazy, then chances are I am not because crazy people don’t know they are crazy and don’t question it or even realize! I am also in my last semester of college right now in a very fast paved medical program. Graduation is right around my due date and I’m so stressed. My mom says I should take it easy on myself because I have so many stressors and should give myself a break. She says no wonder I have anxiety, that she would be anxious too if she had all this on her plate. When my anxiety is this bad though, all I can think about is how uncomfortable I feel. My voice is constantly talking in my head and trying to analyze how to fix this, what it could be, etc. I sometimes even convince myself this is a medical disorder and I’ll be stuck like this forever. I have had anxiety all my life and started struggling with these feelings of being unreal about 3-4 years ago. At one point it was so bad I wanted to die so bad also. I still have those feelings now but I dismiss them right away. I feel terrible and guilty for my anxiety feelings because I have a great family and I’m having a baby soon, graduating college, I feel like I should be happy :(

      • Presley,

        I have good news for you. Thinking you’ll be like this forever is your trigger. You know you won’t. Anxiety can and does go away. You can get rid of it. The second bit of good news is that (and I know this bc I was uber anxious when I was pregnant!) if you breast feeding, the oxytocin this releases is a wonderful anti anxiety! I was going crazy during my pregnancy and once I had the baby it went away completely. Also, holding and cuddling a sleeping or staring baby is the best meditation in the world. You’ll calm right down!
        Love to you, sweet mama!

        • Presley says:

          Thank you, I am just freaking out lately! Yesterday was a better day for me. But today I had a panic attack again when my boyfriend left for work and I was at the house all alone. I got a crazy “unreal” feeling. It’s like I’m not myself and I can’t think straight, my thoughts get distant and it’s scary. Sometimes my body feels fine but inside my head I feel weird. Then I think what if I have some type of disease or disorder or something is wrong with my brain!? Can pregnancy cause anxiety to become worse? I haven’t had any issues with my anxiety for the past year or two. It just started when I entered my third trimester and gradually had gotten worse to the point of where I’m afraid to be alone or be certain places because I will feel this way. Im just so scared and frustrated it won’t go away because I don’t want to feel like this when the baby comes. I think, “what if I feel unreal still and can’t I next with her like I usually feel when I have this?” Or “what if I go crazy and can’t take care of her because I can’t even take care I myself during this!?” Just feels like I’m in slow motion lately. My mom and everyone tells me, even the doctor, that I should be feeling extremely tired and my hormones are all out of whack lately. This is just the worst scary feeling. I tell myself this time it is different and something IS wrong with me this time, but as I know from past experience, anxiety will try and convince you that this time it isn’t anxiety and this time it’s worse, etc. It feels like it for sure but nobody understands what I mean when I tell them this :(

          • Presley,
            I hear all the time, “This time it is worse.” I heard the same thing from a client every week for two years. Actually from many clients. You are right, this is the tactic of the Anxiety. It means what meaning you give it. Hormones can throw off your anxiety, and so your sense of reality, out of control. Busyness of caretaking will kick in when the baby comes. You’ll be distracted away from the panic. Oxytocin will take care of you. Forget the house or the worries and just sit and hold your warm beautiful bundle. Imagine this. See yourself in the big chair holding him or her. See yourself smiling. Imagine yourself relaxed and worry free in this scene. Do this imagery three to twelve times a day. Drink red clover tea.

            If you feel this when the baby comes, you can get your hormones checked out by an herbalist and you’ll be fine.
            Hope this helps, also I do online therapy if you need some more!
            xo,
            Jodi

        • crystal says:

          I am glad to read that someone else feels terrible and disconnected while pregnant. Im only 9wks pregnant and have a history of anxiety but it hasn’t bothered me in like 4yrs but as soon as I hit the 6wks mark I had full blown Anxiety!!! It is so scary and it feels like it is never going to go away this time. Everyone keeps telling me its my hormones and it will get easier the first trimester is the hardest, i hope they are right.

    • Langston says:

      Hey Nancy, it sounds like what you are experiencing is called ‘depersonalization’ and or ‘derealization’ which are both prevalent in anxiety and depression. Usually when you can get the anxiety/depression to go away the DP/DR will go away also. There is a great online community called http://www.dpselfhelp.com. Hope that helps!

  16. Nancy says:

    Jodi, I guess I didnt answer your question of how long and when it started, I think I was feeling a bit like this for a few months, but it was once I got off effexor completely that it started to worsen and it has been about two months now of feeling like I have to fight to stay here and seems to get worse some days. I need some hope things will improve and I wont lose myself completely.

  17. Nancy says:

    thanks for the feedback Jodi, I appreciate any advice you have for me as I am looking for hope that this too shall pass,I keep telling myself that each day and know I must have the desire to be here or I wouldnt keep fighting for it everyday!I have put out feelers to get myself back into councelling, it just always takes so long to see someone, but I will see my family doctor and the psychiatrist until I can. Have you heard of this type of thing before? where someone doesnt quite feel real, I know I do have anxiety with it and it does make it worse, I was so happy to find this blog and read your words there that this too shall pass..gave me a small measure of hope. thank you for that.

  18. Frank says:

    All my anxiety started four months ago with a huge panic attack.. I’m a hypochondriac so every little feeling gets me going. I too felt this “depersonalization” and still do from time to time. It gives me agoraphobia like crazy because I’m afraid il go somewhere and either A) pass out or B) freak out and get scared.. I made it through the fear of dying part (kinda) now I’m stuck on mental health. Afraid of going crazy more or less. It almost feels like my brain is telling me I’m like in a movie or a coma and this is all a dream and il wake up later to find that none of it happened. Freaky right? Personally I hate the feeling of weakness and all the shakiness: hands, legs, and teeth. I have been to the hospital a ton and they just always fall on anxiety. I even did a stint in a mental hospital… Very scary for anyone who hasn’t done it, but worth the experience. Anyway I guess it’s just that I’m afraid il lose my mind and be gone forever and lose my dreams.
    I know this is long winded but thanks for reading.
    Frank

  19. Auston says:

    I stay home quite often, I’m 15, play alot of games watch TV, play baseball in the summer. when I am out in public or with friends I often feel like things are unreal, I can’t stay focused, Im always feeling as if Somone is staring at me or talking about me, I tend to look at people and kind of stare feeling insecure,when I am with one just one friend I feel ok, when we get around a group I get quiet, shy, not knowing what to say my mind just kind of goes blank.

    • This is not uncommon. Nobody is staring or thinking of you like you think. They are all thinking about themselves and what everyone thinks about them. This is a story you tell yourself, like a movie you play. And it perpetuates the nervousness. See if you can get help from your parents.:)

  20. darragh says:

    Hi im only 16 years old. Last year I tried cannabis for the first time and d an intense panic attack. It was my first panic attack and so I hadn’t a clue what was going on. I had never heard of the reaction I was having as my heart was racing and I completely zoned out of reality. I didn’t feel myself and nothing seemed real. I was convinced I was having q heart attack and that the extreme feeling I was having was somewhat religious or spiritual and that everyone who is about to die experiences it(im an atheist btw). I quite embarrassingly insisted that my friend call an ambulance and of course I was actually fine when checked out. However this feeling of not being in reality continued and u began to fear for my insanity went to a counsellor and straight away she suggested that it was anxiety. I I then began researching online to learn more and I came across the term depersonalization/derealisation. It described exactly how I felt at the time and stated that it was anxiety related which explains a lot seen as I was (still am) being brought up in a good caring home with a low tolerance to drugs hence my guilt feeling of smoking the wred which may have triggered my attack. Anyways I am clear of all symptoms now and back to enjoying life just because of a little reassurance from online research where I could relate to other people’s stories. I want to thank you Jodi for taking the time about to explain the causes and possible cures for these anxiety related symptoms because after all it was this type of info that helped me and I am extremely grateful for your work. THANKS!!

  21. Josh Arcega says:

    I had the same experience when I first had a panic attack. I thought I was gonna die. I can’t even open my hands at that time. I even had to go to the hospital and this doctor had me on diazepam. I’m still having anxiety attacks every now and then. I think its because I worry too much about my health. Sometimes, I feel like I can’t relate to other people about what they’re talking about. Its really hard but I always tell to myself that I’m okay and that nothing is wrong with me.
    One of my friends told me about this site/blog and reading your articles has helped me a lot, Jodi. Now I know that I’m noy crazy or anything and its just anxiety.

  22. Rachael says:

    I am currently in the middle of a 6month relapse after haveing gained control over my anxiety for the last 3yrs..(to anyone suffering at the minute it CAN be done) the unreal feeling is something I am really struggling with after haveing a full blown panic attack after all those years this is by far the scariest symptom I think I’ve ever had and the one I’m finding most troublesome to just let go.. I’m actually finding it difficult to go out anywhere again because the panic attack is so fresh in my mind ,the fear of just shutting down in public and not beign able to function to make it back home or just lose control … finding this post has helped a little so thankyou x

  23. terrance says:

    Hi im 22 ive had weird sensations for 6 weeks like when i eat breath or touch things or talk it feels weird like delayed reactions its very scary my doctor put me on ataraxx but it doesnt help can you tell me what this is

    • If you’ve been cleared by the medical world that it is not anything wrong, then try to assume it is anxiety. This happens when you over think it. Like when you say a word so many times and that word just sounds weird. If you overly are aware of the world, it would feel so bizarre. Try to just keep going and it might go away.

  24. kevin says:

    Its kinda like how I feel,I’ve been feeling like everything is fake around me like and illusion I’ve had ocd really bad when I was little then growing up I use to get sad so I kinda pushed myself away from the ocd was fine then tried some cannabis then everything changed from there idk if it’s from that or what but it’s been like 6 years I use to occasionally have break downs but I had one like a year and half ago that kinda changed everything I got so overwhelmed and thought I was mentally gone but I’ve had this thought that everything is unreal around me and sometimes it really makes me feel that way and I wonder what’s the point in getting help and stuff if it’s all unreal then it’s all setup to try to make me comfortable and what I wanna hear but I work a full time job and live life but im miserable and feel like im mentally gone and stuck and crazy and ill never live a normal life like I use to before all this worrying and crazy thought I can’t shake

  25. Fabian says:

    Hello I have when threw all this feelings but sum how I don’t know y I keep on thinking my mind will forget who I am or the people I love around me that’s the main problem I have rite now is it just me or will it happen I feel scared most of the time.

  26. Wendy says:

    Thank you.

  27. Siera says:

    Ive had anxiety for awhile. Sometimes it feels as if its not anxiety. I cant hardly breathe, my chest hurts, my mind races, i feel like something bad is gonna happen to me all the time. Its very scary and kindof hard to explain.

  28. Anniina says:

    Hi! I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and after having a panick attack a week ago, i have been feeling just like you wrote! I feel like i’m not myself and sometimes i start thinking these deep thoughts and i start feeling so surreal! and it’s the scariest thing! but reading this and all of the comments made me feel better and i feel like i’m not complitely crazy and some others have the same problems that i have ! THANK YOU SO MUCH ! i guess it will get better by time :) i already felt more normal and so so reliefed when reading this. so i know the “normal-me”-feeling is there somewhere still! thank you again :)

    • Hi Anniia,

      Jodi is no longer writing the Anxiety-Schmanxiety blog. I am one of the new writers along with Anthony D’Anconti. I know Jodi would be very pleased with your entire comment (perhaps she has even seen it but is not able to comment). Congratulations for taking charge of your anxiety and panic and finding that the “normal-you” is still there!

      • April says:

        I to suffer from anxiety/ panic attacks. I’m 24 and it first started about a year ago, I was so scared, my panic atacks would last all day and all night , I couldn’t sleep etc. I went to the doctor and was put on Citralopram which seemed to helped, during this year I felt normal again, once in a while I would feel anxious but didn’t pay attention to it I just let it be there and It would go away. My also suffers from anxiety and a few days ago I witnessed one of her attacks and it was so scary, I was trying to be strong for her, but now am feeling anxious again. My thought are consently racing, ” is this what my future will be like?”,” I don’t to feel like this forever”. I’m panicking just thinking if my mom will have another attack. It makes sad , and upset to see someone I love and care about hurting and I don’t know how to let it go. I have to force myself through all the uncomfortableness and panic to get up and go to school each day to finish my nursing and some days it’s so hard . Any advice is appreciated, anyone who can relate I’d love to here your story.

        April

        • It shows great strength that you are continuing with school. It can be hard to pursue long-term goals when anxiety and panic make it seem impossible. Some things that can be effective in reducing and eventually eliminating the panic attacks you describe include looking for a pattern. While it may seem like the attacks are continual, often they are stronger at certain times. Keeping track of when they occur, how intense they are, and what you were doing at the time can be helpful in determining what lies beneath them. Also, make goals for yourself. Break tasks or outings into chunks. For example (and this particular one might not apply directly to you, but you can perhaps modify it to your own situations), if trips to the store heighten your anxiety or bring panic, rather than staying away completely, try tackling the store for a brief amount of time — instead of taking a long list and filling your cart, commit to making a quick trip inside for two or three essential items. You’re doing the right thing by seeking information. As you gather many different tips from many sources, you can choose what’s right for you.

  29. April says:

    Thanks very much for replying:) my anxiety seems worse in the morning, for no reason other than I’m anxious because of my fear of having another panick attack. So I pretty wake up expecting to be anxious and not really sure how to go about changing this. Any idea what might help?

    • Your comments about fearing another panic attack and waking up expecting to be anxious are very insightful. Panic and anxiety often feed themselves because they are so unpleasant that we begin to fear and dread them, and this fear and dread in turn contribute to increased panic and anxiety. It’s a cycle that is difficult to break, but it is indeed possible to break it — especially with the insight that you already have. As you probably already know, there isn’t a quick fix, and you can’t just order your brain to stop anticipating panic and anxiety. Wouldn’t that be nice! How do you feel about journaling? It can be helpful to, before bed, write down things that went well for you during the day, times (even if they were brief) that you didn’t feel anxious). Focus on your successes as you go to sleep, and when you wake up and anxiety rears its ugly head, a first step could be to review what you wrote the night before and immediately remind yourself that you do have anxiety free (or at least reduced) moments in your day. This could be a helpful start. Working directly with a therapist can also be very beneficial as you’ll have regular contact with someone who will get to know you and work with you on a plan that’s just right for you.

  30. Randomer says:

    I am 12 and am not panicking consciously but I feel like I am not real an that something is wrong with my brain!!! Plz reply if you feel the same way!

    • Hello there,
      Jodi is the one who wrote this article, but she is no longer writing the Anxiety-Schmanxiety column and is unable to respond. I’m Tanya, one of the current writers of Anxiety-Schmanxiety. While your comment is directed to other readers, I thought I’d reply as well. I like the way you worded your description — that you’re not panicking consciously. Many times people have no conscious idea why a panic attack begins, and often people feel it inside rather than show it a great deal on the outside. You really can feel like you’re not real or that something is wrong in your brain that is causing this. Of course, it’s always wise to have a medical checkup and to consult with a professional therapist because both can help a lot. What you describe, though, is very typical of panic. It’s an awful feeling, but it doesn’t have to be with you for the rest of your life. There are things to do to get better.

  31. dave says:

    I almost always get anxiety right as my head hits the pillow.
    I don’t know why, but during the day I’m fine, but at night as I get ready for bed BOOM!!!!
    My thoughts turn worrisome and negative, sometimes I feel like a crazy person. No offense to anyone.
    Can anybody relate?

    • Hi Dave,
      Jodi, the author of this article, is no longer writing for HealthyPlace and is thus unable to respond to comments. The issue you mentioned is very common, and perhaps many people will share their stories of how they relate. I myself have experienced this very thing, and it’s frustrating. During the day, we’re busy with other things and our minds are distracted. At night, when there is no distraction, anxious thoughts can have free reign. Sometimes deep breathing or meditation is helpful in calming anxious thoughts at night. Also, stopping a thought and countering it with different thoughts can soothe nighttime anxiety as well. Other readers will likely have other tips, too.

  32. Joy Merriman says:

    Right now I have just started counseling and just started on a low dose of Lexapro and Klonopin temporarily! It has helped but am having waves of panic and anxiety coming over me about the dumbest stuff. Just the mention of going to church or calling someone. There’s no rhyme or reason. I struggle with looking at pictures or going certain places because my thought is, “The last time I was there, I felt normal!” It makes me cry and I don’t want to go back. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out if the feelings I’m having are panic, fear or anxiety. I agree with a lot of you that the feelings of unreality and thinking you’re going crazy are the hardest! I love on my grandchildren but feel like I’m not there. It’s like I’ve stepped into another world but I know it’s because were so introspective and caught up with everything we’re feeling! I pray that God will use me in the midst of this trial to reach out to others who are suffering so they don’t suffer alone! I have come through this before and I have to have hope and faith that “this too shall pass”! Any and all tips on how to sleep would be appreciated. Prayers of peace, healing and comfort to all of you! I’m glad I found this sight. Lots of encouragement! Also thanks to everyone for sharing. It helps you to know you’re not alone!

    • Hi Joy,
      Welcome to HealthyPlace and Anxiety-Schmanxiety! I’m glad that you have already found this to be a useful place with many insights. We have wonderful readers, many of whom share their own thoughts and ideas. It sounds like despite some struggles with anxiety right now, you’re taking charge and working to overcome it and that you are finding support in many places. Even though it’s not always easy, with that healthy attitude/approach, you are right that “this too shall pass.” I’m sure readers will have many tips on sleeping. For me, deep breathing and meditating (I can’t do it like a guru, but I can do it “good enough”) is helpful to slow down anxious thoughts. Best of luck to you as you overcome this anxiety.

  33. Josh says:

    Reading these posts is somewhat reassuring for me. I felt fine for the longest time and then, about a month ago, I started having these “episodes” where I would feel somewhat similar to when I was having a panic attack from weed (I quit smoking for quite some time now). Now I think about it everyday at work and in social situations and feel like I’m not normal anymore. It’s so scary because I am constantly thinking about it and considering everything under the sun that could be wrong with me. At work and when I’m out I feel disconnected. I feel like things are happening in real time around me but I’m kind of in slow motion with slow reactions and not really being able to focus. I can still communicate and function properly but I know that I’m not feeling normal in that moment. I feel completely fine once I’m at home so I don’t know what the issue could be. I started having pains in my chest daily and find myself worrying a lot more about things that I shouldn’t even be thinking about and about when I will get over this stage and feel normal again. I really need some help with this!

    • Hi Josh,
      It’s good that reading all of the posts has been a bit reassuring. At the very least, you can see that you’re not alone. Taking action to learn what is going on is a great thing to do, so keep at it. It does sound like you are experiencing difficulties with types of anxiety. It’s often helpful to see a professional to help sort out what is going on and to figure out what to do about it (and there are most definitely things that can be done to improve all types of anxiety). Keep visiting sites such as HealthyPlace, too, to find both information and support.

  34. Beth Moss says:

    I used to suffer from horrible panic and anxiety – to the point where I wouldn’t leave my house from fear of having one in public.

    I no longer have panic attacks, and only occasional blips of anxiety that are very short-lived. One thing that helped me was consciously slowing my mind down to recognize what my body was doing.

    I don’t know if anyone has seen that Kevin Costner baseball movie where he was a pitcher, but I used his technique. In order to clear his mind and focus entirely on his pitching he would say “Clear the mechanism”. For some reason I was watching this trying to fight through a panic attack and knew plenty of athletes that have the same kind of routines. I thought if these professional athletes could use these techniques, maybe I could do.

    As I felt the next “wave of terror” as I called them hit, I took a deep breath in through the nose for a count of four, and thought ‘clear the mechanism’ as I held in breath for a count of seven and I pictured all the chaotic thoughts leaving my mind on my exhaled breath (count of 8).

    It was almost instantaneous, seriously amazing how fast that brought me from a solid ten on the panic attack scale to a 3-4. So, I did it again. This time I focused on exactly what I was feeling – shaky knees, yes anxiety. Fast breathing – yes, anxiety and went down the checklist of all my physical reactions. As I breathed in and held it, I ‘cleared the mechanism’ again and pictured each physical reaction returning to normal. Once again, I went from a 3-4 to a 1-2.

    Yay! Cured, right? Nope, not yet. While this gave me confidence that I could control a full-blown panic attack, I was still very shaken and upset I couldn’t control the thoughts that triggered them in the first place. The best advice I received was from a guy friend (pro footballer) who said the team psychologist taught them to turn their anxious thoughts into the ‘enemy’, and that they had two choices – they could believe the lies of the enemy and give in to it or they could recognize it as the lies they were and disregard it. Um, wow! You can do that?! You can just choose to NOT believe the lies these scary thoughts are trying to get your mind to believe? Yes, you actually can! I won’t lie and say I never have scary thoughts anymore, that I never get depersonalization/derealization anymore – I do, on rare occasion.

    The difference now is how I react to them. Now, I get the thought (for one example)”You’re all alone and you will die” and turn it into “I may be alone, but you cannot hurt me, you cannot kill me, and if I ignore you, you will go away. If you don’t go away, I can clear the mechanism and you will be gone instantly” And, the small little anxious feeling that was created by my ‘scary’ thought is gone so fast. I have used this is super tense places for a former agoraphobic! The mall, flying in an airplane, grocery shopping, the doctor’s office (my most dreaded place ever because they misdiagnosed me with anxiety and panic when what I initially had was hypoglycemia – but, if you are told you are having panic attacks enough, you will have panic attacks. BUT, on the flip side, if you are told you CAN get over these panic attacks, you will start to believe that as well.

    I never went to a therapist, psychologist or shrink. I never took any medication or supplements (not knocking them, at all, just saying they are not always necessary).

    I’m sorry this is so long! And, one last thing, this process did take time, but I forgave myself of any setbacks as I knew they would only be temporary. First thing – FORGIVE YOURSELF (!!!) for having panic and anxiety issues. I know it feels like your own body and mind has turned against you, but in all intents and purposes, your body is doing exactly what it was designed to do. It has not turned on you! Forgive yourself, allow yourself to grieve just a tiny bit for that person you were before this started and then start looking forward to the person you ARE and WILL become.

    Bless you all, I wish I could talk to each and every one of you face to face. I’ve been there, I know. I am okay, you WILL be okay.

    • Hello Beth,
      Thank you for sharing your insights! It’s great that HealthyPlace can be a forum for exchange and a place where people learn from each other and grow. It sounds like you’ve worked hard and persevered to find a very helpful method. Keep at it, and thanks again for your comments!

  35. Nrj says:

    I am a 2nd year medical student. I am seeking a big help seriously. It was a month ago I took an oral preparation of Cannabis which made me Euphoric that day. I visited the Emergency due to tachycardia and palpitation, took a tablet of propranolol and returned after feeling comfortable enough. But suddenly I started having chest and shoulder pain, which made me restless. After 2 days I visited the Emergency again and I was given Lorazepam as I was said to have withdrawl syndrome. Still didn’t help. Then I took an ECG which was normal. After a conselling from a senior I felt ok.
    After 10 days I could feel something running inside my head. Again the chest and arm pain started. With the feeling of dizziness and pain, after some days I visited the Psychiatry department and prescribed propranolol TDS. I frequently visited a psychologist and took counselling also. It only helped temporarily. Again I started feeling detached from the world, unreal, unfresh 24 hours and not interested in anything (these feelings I feel till today). My psychiatrist diagnosed me with mixed anxiety depression and prescribed sertraline which I have taken for 2 days. I can’t manipulate what’s going on around. I have no concentration in studies which is really worrying as my exams are near. I am very feared and can’t sleep sound sleep at night. Sometimes I get fearful vibes radiating from my chest to the neck which makes me restless. I am really, worried..Please help me….

    • Nrj says:

      Also I feel pulses in various parts of my body. I have sweaty palms and I feel very very uncomfortable. Oh! god please help me.

    • Hello Nrj,
      I am very sorry to read about your current experiences. Many of the symptoms you express do relate to anxiety, and this could absolutely be anxiety-based. The good news about that is, as scary and painful as anxiety can be, it can be reduced. However, much of your symptoms seem to stem from physical consequences/reactions to substances, both the Cannabis and the traditional medications. That isn’t “bad,” of course, but I think it should be the starting point for figuring out what is going on. It’s great that you’ve been seeking medical help, but I wonder if it’s possible that you have not received the correct treatment. Have you been to a medical doctor for a thorough exam (of course psychiatrists are medical doctors, but they do focus on psychological aspects)? I think that that is something that could be an immediate next step. Mention all of your history; it may be that you are having atypical reactions to anti-anxiety medications. It does happen. I’m not a doctor, of course, so I don’t want to cause harm by speculating. I’d recommend that you seek a different medical doctor, and after ruling out physical problems or reactions to medications first. And of course in the meantime, continue to learn about anxiety, ask questions, etc.

  36. Dave says:

    Hi, I’m wondering if you may be able to help, or defer my fear for me. Please.

    I’ve recently been feeling awful. A new level of weird. I never really had panic before, or anxiety but in the last month it’s suddenly spiralled out of complete control to the point where I don’t know how I can fix it, or see a future without it.

    I had a pretty intense situation for about 6 months with a girl, which never really took off, but I put a lot of myself in to it and it sapped me of myself. It’s complicated, but essentially I have a broken heart. We also work together and it was all very secretive. I think living a lie has corrupted my brain. That’s the first bit.

    I have also been drinking a lot of alcohol and dabbled with cocaine. Not loads, but the odd bit every now and then, with alcohol.

    I then also hurt my back quite badly while playing football…..

    So, while down about the first situation I was hitting it very, very hard, and then also had my stress relieving activity (exercise) taken away from me. I cannot exercise while my bad is so bad. So I have been sitting around. Hang overs became really bad. The last time I partied I was feeling pretty down, but I got incredibly drunk and took some cocaine (again, not loads) and it feels like that has never really warn off.

    I feel like I am in a nightmare and on a bad, in a way, on a ‘bad trip’, but it’s real. I’ve stopped drinking alcohol and caffeine for 7 days now and I feel sick.

    I worry about my sanity a lot. I think I’ve lost it. I have a heavy weight behind my eyes, my vision feels odd. I feel dizzy, lost, and mentally I feel like I am not myself anymore. Everything seems pointless and I have lost sense of chronology. My memory is strange and my head is clouded.

    I don’t know how much of this is the caffeine withdrawal but really I think I’m trying to convince myself it’s ok.

    I have been to the doctor and I will see a psychologist next week. I feel incredibly sad, and mental.

    Will I be okay and how do I fix it?

    Thanks x

    • Dave says:

      I don’t know weather this feeling of disconnection is ‘snowballed anxiety’ or whether I have just snapped. I’ve only told one person about it as I don’t want people to think I’m a nutter. He’s my best friend and he’s been really good about it. His wife has anxiety. I’m really scared.

      Thanks for your time. x

      • Hi again, Dave!
        “Snowballed anxiety” is a great phrase, for anxiety does indeed snowball. It feeds on itself and can grow quite big. Fortunately, no matter what it feels like, it isn’t bigger than you. You can indeed stop it from growing and then make it shrink back into a snowflake. It might take time and work, but it can happen.

        It’s nice that you have someone to talk to about this. It’s sad and frustrating that those of us with mental health struggles have to feel as though we can’t talk about ourselves for fear of being judged as crazy, as nutters. A consequence of this is that, because everyone is afraid to share their experiences with anxiety (or other mental health issues), it makes people feel that they’re alone in their difficulties. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s just that people are afraid to share and talk because of the stigma associated with mental illness. While you don’t have to talk to anyone you’re uncomfortable with, do know that you truly aren’t alone.

    • Hi Dave,
      My name is Tanya. Jodi, the person who wrote this article, is no longer writing for HealthyPlace, so she’s unable to respond to comments. I’m sure she would do so if she could! First, it’s important for you to know that feeling cared and that you’ve snapped is a very common feeling. You’re not alone, and there’s nothing “wrong” with you for this! Having lived through difficulties and issues with mental illness myself, I understand that it truly can be frightening. You have many different things that you’re dealing with, and it’s all piling on top of each other to give you this awful feeling. You wisely observed that when you were injured, you lost one of your positive stress-relieving activities. That has a big impact on one’s sense of both mental and physical well-being. Your questions of whether you will be okay and how to fix it are very legitimate and I’m sure scary to ask. Of course I am not in a position to evaluate you and your situation, but I will say that because you have been to a doctor, will be seeing a psychologist, and clearly are taking measures to understand yourself, your anxiety, and how to heal, you truly have the potential to overcome this. Be patient with yourself. Anxiety likes to hold on and fight back, but in the end, you are stronger than it. Work with your doctor and psychologist. You won’t be stuck forever.

      • Dave says:

        Thanks Tanya. It goes up and down, yesterday was better, today not so much. I know you are right. Just one of those things that happens and I need to battle through it.

        We can only help ourselves.

        I know it won’t be forever. Just want to get back to being myself. It just feels weird that this intense feeling happened over night however many days back. If it came on that strong then it can go away that strong as well, that’s what I’m saying. :) .

        Thanks for writing back. Much appreciated. x

        • Hi Dave!
          Your comments about knowing that this won’t be forever and that it goes up and down are very wise. I like what you’re saying — that it can go away just as strong as it came on. That’s wise, too! Do know that “battle” is a good term. This anxiety can absolutely be overcome, but it’s not always an easy fight. It can feel like quite a struggle sometimes, and that’s very normal. Keep working to discover things that help, and then keep at them, and you definitely can feel better. Know, too, that you’re not alone. Anxiety disorders are more common than people realize. Hang in there!

  37. Naty says:

    Hi! Just want to get some re-assurance. I keep having PAs quite often. They used to be related to my physical conditions concerns. Now PAs turn out to something more. I keep feeling quite unreal during PA, though don’t think it’s full scale DR, but just being freaked out about loosing control or faint. Then, once PA gone, I don’t feel relief as it was before. I’m still left along with the kind of feeling of everything unreal, start questioning ‘what’s time? what’s now or reality?’ type of things. It does bring feeling of hopelesness. I’m 36 weeks pregnant, and surely used to have long running OCD or even Pure-O some years ago. OCD perhaps goes on a new level for me :-(

    Regards!

  38. Naty says:

    Hi! I’m 36 weeks pregnant and having PA from time to time. I used to have Pure-O about 7 years ago which I battled myself, no meds or CBT.
    This time, around 4 months ago, start having PA not just related to my physical conditions as it was before, but caused by feeling ‘not here’ / ‘unreal’. Though, I don’t think it’s full scale DR and PA takes no more than 30 mnts.
    However, what starts bothering me most is the constant feeling afterwords, once PA gone. I used to feel some sort of relief. Now I keep being scared and think about staff like reality and time. Wondering whether this is pure-O returns but on different level. This all makes me hopeless and stressed.
    Regards!

    • Naty says:

      Just noticed my previous post saved as well, same topic. Thank you in advance for help and advise!

      • Hello Naty,
        Thanks for coming to HealthyPlace.com and for commenting. Jodi is the one who wrote this article, but because she is no longer writing for Healthy Place, she is unable to comment on posts. I’m Tanya, one of the new co-authors of Anxiety-Schmaxiety. Just for ease of reading, I’ll write my response to your comments/questions here so you don’t have to jump around. You mentioned feeling hopeless and stressed. That makes a lot of sense. It sounds like your anxiety (in the form of panic and obsessions, which can be very intense in Pure-O) was very problematic for you in the past. It’s very common for people to worry that these things are going to return. First, congratulations for overcoming them before! That is something to own. Recognize your strength and know that you have the power to overcome again if need be. It is possible, although because I’m not meeting with you in person I can’t be completely sure, that this is related to pregnancy. So much within our bodies changes when we’re pregnant (I have two kids, so I’ve been there). One thing that happens, is that the body prepares itself completely (physically and emotionally) for caring for an infant/raising a child. It is natural for people to experience anxiety during pregnancy, and for that anxiety to increase near the end. You have a double whammy because you’ve had significant battles with anxiety in the past Not only do you dread its return, but you have the extra worry of it happening while you are caring for your baby. Have you discussed this with your doctor and/or a therapist? They might be able to provide insights specific to you and your situation. Also, how did you work past this before? Are there things you did that you can draw on again? Stress management techniques can be very calming and can prevent anxiety from growing stronger. Experiment to find what works for you, or do more of what already works. Exercise (modified for third trimester pregnancy), listening to music, coloring/art projects, rocking and reading books to your unborn baby…there are many soothing things to help yourself de-stress and manage your anxiety. What you’re experiencing does make sense even though I’m sure it’s unpleasant. Oh, and congratulations on your little one!

  39. Monique says:

    Hello,
    I’m 25 years old, had my first anxiety/panic attack after smoking pot when I was a freshman in high school. I went a couple months where I would feel unreal or not myself-often becoming numb, not being able to fully concentrate. I just started a pretty tough program for school and unfortunately had another panic attack I assume due to stress. The biggest problem I have is understanding that I have this feeling again after beating it the first time! This time feels different for some reason like I won’t be able to snap out of it. What are your thoughts?! Thank you

    • Hi Monique,
      It sounds like you are actually a step ahead of the anxiety game because you recognize the feeling and are already able to find some similarities and differences to the first time it happened. That’s already quite helpful for you, even though you are still dealing with the panic attack and the fear of more happening. Stress can indeed bring about anxiety and panic. It can rear its ugly head even years after someone has overcome them. And because you are different now than you were when you were about ten years ago when they first began, it makes sense that they feel different now. Know that you beat them once, and you’ll be able to snap out of them again. What worked for you before? Also, given that you are in a tough academic program, you fight find it very beneficial to actively work on stress management. There are many different things that people can do to keep stress at a tolerable level, and doing so will help keep panic attacks to a minimum. Perhaps you might find this to be a good starting point. If more panic attacks occur, you’ll be equipped to address them and put a stop to them.

  40. Marie says:

    Wow. Eveeything you are saying is true. I am alive, Ive felt better before. I can do this. But can I? I feel disconnected all the time for a long time now. I am 22 about to be 23 and havent done anything in my life. Im trying and trying before its too tlate but this anxiety and disconnection doesnt let me. Im so scared. Im always thinking of horrible things that can happen to people because I dont like one of them. I am screaming for help and no one understands. I only get peace when I pray but im scared. Idk what to do.

    • Hi Marie,
      Jodi is the one who wrote this article, but because she is no longer writing for HealthyPlace, she is unable to respond to comments. I’m Tanya, one of the current writers of Anxiety-Schmanxiety. You stated that you can do this, and then, as so many people do (and I myself have done), wondered if you really can. In just paying full attention to your statements, I can say confidently that yes, you can do this. You mention that you get peace when you pray. Don’t focus on the word “only.” Focus on the fact that you do find peace in something. If praying brings you peace, then pray and don’t feel bad about it or worry that it’s the “only” thing that you can do. You’ve found something. Congratulations! You’ll gradually find more things, but don’t pressure yourself. And given that you agree with Jodi’s points, you know you’re alive, and you know you’ve been better, you have what it takes to find it again. Remember that and know you are capable of achieving it again. Also, I’m glad you mentioned your age. Feeling what you are feeling (about not having done anything in your life) is very, very common for your age. You’re in one of many transition periods that all humans go through, and during these times it’s common to feel that you haven’t done enough. As you make goals for your personal future and make a plan to gradually work toward them, you will begin to feel better. Obsessive thoughts such as those you mention can feel very disconcerting and anxiety-provoking, but they are harmless to others (but they do increase your own anxiety so they should be worked through, ideally with a therapist). You truly are in a good position to overcome your anxiety. Working with a therapist could go a very long way in helping you get to the root of your anxiety and create a toolbox of strategies for reducing it.

  41. stacey says:

    I have been reading everyones post I to have pank and anxiety for yrs now this really helps to no I’m not along

  42. erika says:

    Hi Jodi,I want to thank you for your post because now I know im not going crazy.I do have a question though,why do I feel like if im not really here but I know I am? My Heart strats raising & I start shaking and having tought as if I am going crazy like going to a menthal hospital or something….how do I control this? Please help me Jodi.I feel scared and dont know what to doo anymore!!!!

    • Hello Erika,
      I’m very glad that you found Jodi’s post helpful (and I can second her comments that you/others are not going crazy). Jodi is no longer writing for HealthyPlace, so she’s unable to respond to comments. I’m Tanya, one of the current authors of the Anxiety-Schmanxiety blog. Regarding your question, it’s quite common to feel that you’re not here yet still know that you are. We can be fully aware of what is going on one level–we can know that we really are here–but because anxiety is so complex and involves many systems, we can have that “I-know-I’m-here-but-I-think-I’m-not” sensation. Our “rational” mind is at work, but other things in other parts of the brain (the primitive/reptilian part of the brain as well as different regions throughout the brain) kick into high gear, too, and that impacts our entire being: our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. That can result in a swirling mess that is overwhelming. But, as mentioned, that rational part of the brain is still there and is, on some level, aware of what’s going on. The result is a very surreal experience that can actually exacerbate anxiety. When anxiety is very intense, professional help can be important and beneficial. Therapy and/or medication can help you through this. Know that what you’re experiencing isn’t uncommon. It’s miserable, but it’s not a personal flaw!

  43. Sarah says:

    Thanks so much for this! I feel this exact way. I am just now coming down from a panic attack. I called and made a Dr. Appointment for tomorrow because I havr been having trouble breathing for the past week or two. I blamed it on allergies at first but after trying allergy medicine without relief I made the appointment. I am a nurse so i checked my oxygen and it was 99% . As the day went on I began that feeling of disconnect. The feeling that I am not myself, going crazy, losing my mind and wondering how long can I live feeling like this. Will I ever feel normal again? Well of course the answer is YES! Just reading that these feelings are “normal” at least when it comes to panic disorder. I would rather know that it is anxiety than continue to wonder if I am dying. I feel so much better now and I will read on about healing to try to prevent attacks from starting. :)

    • Hi Sarah,
      Jodi is the one who wrote this wonderful piece. Because she’s no longer writing for HealthyPlace, she’s unable to respond to comments. I’m Tanya, one of the current authors of Anxiety-Schmanxiety. You are absolutely right — you will feel normal again, and what you are experiencing is normal for panic disorder. You’ve shared wise thoughts about your experience and approach, and I have a feeling many readers will benefit. Thank you for sharing. I’m so glad you found HealthyPlace and Anxiety-Schmanxiety! I hope you come back often and find helpful insights and information.

  44. Mariah says:

    Wow I’m reading some of these post and I realize that I am not the only one feeling like this I been expierencing anxiety for about a month now I jus feel horrible! I don’t know y I feel this way. It make me second guess everything that I do I jus hope this feeling goes away even though it doesn’t seem like it will it causes me to not be able to sleep I the night and me to feel so empty inside I jus recently started going to therapy for this are there any tips u can offer it would really help?!?❤️

  45. Michael says:

    Hey everyone seen all your comments and I seem to feel like most on here. 8 week’s ago I was watching a film with my fiancee and all of sudden felt like couldn’t breath and had tingling all over never had panic or anxiety before as I am only 24. Stopped taking the meds from docs as I wanted to die not good. Since then things little better just no appetite and de personalisation time to time. Hope you all are keeping well?

  46. please can you help me

    • Hello Lora,
      There is a crisis call center (for anyone in crisis, whether suicidal or not) for immediate help through crises such as the one you describe: It’s called the Crisis Call Center, and the number is 1-800-273-8255. People are waiting to help.

  47. Katie Sheridan says:

    I’m so glad I came across this forum. I’ve known that I’m not alone with what I’m experiencing, but this gives me some relief reading others posts! I’ve been dealing with this off and on for 7 years and zoloft always seemed to work. But recently (3 months ago) I had a severe panick attack and it just went down hill from there. I haven’t had any relief. It’s from the time I wake up until I go to bed. I tried zoloft again for the past 2 wks and I had a horrible reaction. So it’s trial and error rim onto something new. I’ve been experiencing lack of concentration,achy joints, shakiness, headaches and on and on. I’m a young mother of 3 and I’m ready for my life to be normal. This is the most terrifying feeling ever. I do have an amazing support system and praying is a big relief

    • Hi Katie,
      Welcome to the forum! It is indeed a great place for people to get information and exchange ideas. We hope you visit often! What you are experiencing is indeed a terrifying feeling. As you have already seen, it’s not just you and you’re not alone. It’s great that you already have a support system in place and have found one way of coping and healing. Prayer can be powerful. The things you are experiencing could be side effects to medication or symptoms of the anxiety itself — or both. If you are trying new medications, you must already be under the care of a doctor. That’s good. He/she can help determine what’s happening and help get you the right treatment. It’s out there. Anxiety feels miserable, but it is definitely possible to beat it. Don’t give up!

  48. Cameron says:

    Hi my name is Cameron.

    I wanted to visit this website and let me reveal my anxiety problems that are really scaring me. I get 3 panic attacks every year normally, but on June 22 I had the worst p, I felt as if the world was a big machine with people that don’t exist, and I felt like I was the only one living in side of it. I started shaking and feeling dizzy, and the next morning I woke up I started crying because I kept thinking that my parents and family members were not real and that they didn’t belong to me? Please help me doctor, person, Anybody.

    • Hi Cameron,
      Jodi is the one who originally wrote this article, but because she is no longer with HealthyPlace, she is unable to respond to comments. Hopefully her article was helpful in, at the very least, helping you understand that you’re not alone in these scary feelings of unreality. You’re taking a step in regaining a sense of control just by seeking out information and learning about your anxiety. That’s a step in the right direction! While that’s a good start, it might not be enough for you right now. Reaching out for help is a good thing. It usually is most effective to work directly with someone, such as a counselor, psychologist, or even psychiatrist (if medication is necessary). Such a professional can help evaluate whether this is anxiety alone or if other things are going on, too. I highly encourage you to seek professional help to get you through this. It’s possible. That’s why professionals are there!

  49. elena says:

    hi everyone hope anyone could help me on this fellings im so tired to think that i might lose my mind theres no days that i think ill go crazy i dont know what elese to think, specially its getting more worse when i seeibg crazy people or talking about crazy people, im thingking that might happen to me? And after that scary thought my hands get sweaty, shaking, also get palpitations. Dont know who else to talk to coz im afraid to tell them and think that im crazy. Also have constant worries about the future, think of my family house bills etc. I wish i was a kid again no problems no worries, im a happy woman always want to luagh, joker, party and have a good company with my good friends. But wen anxiety strikes me, the happy girl is over. I feel like i loosing contact with people. I always thingking why i got this sick? Wish wen i wake up in the morning its just already gone! But its not ;( and dont know untill wen ingonna attached with this bad dream. as soon as i wake in the mirn

    • elena says:

      As soon as i wake in the morning its boom! Already think whats wrong with me hope any one could help me im so tired of this crazy thoughts ;(

      • Hi Elena,
        Jodi is the one who wrote this article, but as she is no longer writing for HealthyPlace, she’s unable to respond to comments. I’m Tanya, one of the current writers of Anxiety-Schmanxiety. What you mention is quite common and very frustrating. I think there will be readers here who can share some tips. For me, sometimes it works to play the opposite game. Whatever anxious thought pops into my head, I counter it with its opposite. That doesn’t make it so I don’t have all those anxious thoughts, but it does help me lessen their intensity by realizing they’re not fully believable. Keep doing what you’re doing: seek out many different tips and practice those that work for you. Hang in there. You’re not alone!

    • Hi Elena,
      I like your observation that there’s you the happy girl and then you when anxiety takes over. This means that you are aware that “you” aren’t your anxiety. Anxiety is something that’s happening to you, but the real Elena isn’t gone. That feeling of going crazy is very common, especially with panic. It does sound like you might be experiencing panic attacks, but to be certain it’s advisable to see a doctor or psychiatrist. He/she can evaluate all your symptoms to discover what’s truly happening, and then he/she will help formulate a treatment plan so you can get better. And you can get better!

      • elena says:

        Omg! Tank u so much tanya, i now know the thecnics of anxiety! When i feel anxious i just googling my symptoms and possitive advise im fine! The pannic just sunddenly stopped. The after a day I feeling it again then im thinking? Wait a minute i driving my self crazy thingking that maybe i have tumor,cancer, or undescover medical issue etc. Then just thingking hold on im fine anyway the just forget about it, its just scary illusions that making u feel anxious ;) actually im more better now ive already passed my heart attack worries, it didnt say bye bye but im glad ;) its just gone already and before i also have trounle breathing i even go everywher was so scared maybe i just gonna passed out and just died. Its just crazy thoughts! Hope we all get better soon just enjoy a good life, live to the fullest no worries and pray always god bless us all ;)

        • Hello again Elena!
          I’m happy that Jodi’s column and the comments you and I exchanged have been helpful. I really like your reference to illusions. So many times our minds trick us into feeling anxious and scared and worried, but the threats are indeed illusions. The feelings of a panic attack of course are very real, but as you observed, things really are okay. (Of course, if there is a persistent physical problem it’s wise to get it cleared by a medical doctor.) Your message is very inspiring, Elena — we can get better and live life to the fullest! May all of our worries stay small!

  50. Eric says:

    Hello, my name is Eric and i’m 15 years old, and i thank God that i found this web site because now i know that i’m not the only that feels like this. So everything started in this last christmas, my cousin and his friends asked me if i wanted to smoke canavis, and in that moment i thought in my mind “should i do it or not?” I had really thought about it because it was gonna be my first time smoking it, and i decided to go for it, then started smoking it, i had hit it around 10 times, and after i was done, like 15 minutes later, i started tripping really bad, and my friends started laughing at me and they were saying that i was going to die, and that it was never going to go away, and i was super scared, i was talking to myself in my mind “why did i do it” i want this to go away, i dont wanna feel like this anymore, God forgive me for what i did” i was like that the whole night, i felt that i was going to pass out, my forehead felt really hot, and i started feeling like sweating cold, and i was shaking. Then after 30 minutes, my mom got to my freinds house because she was looking for me and my cousin, and when she got there, i tried to walk but i couldn’t, i tried to act normal but i couldnt even talk, i felt super tired, and dizzy and felt that nothing was real and that i was in a dream, then when my mom got out of the car, i was walking but my balance was really bad, then when i saw her, i hugged her and i told her that i’m sorry and that i’m never gonna do it again. I had broken my moms heart because what i did, she trusted me and i lost her trust. Then i got in the car and slept. The next day i didn’t know what was going on, i slept the whole day, an when i woke up, i was super scared, i felt that the synptoms had not gotten away, since then i have been feeling confused,sick,weak,disoriented, and anxious.Every day i wake up, this thing comes to my mind, what do i have? why do i feel like this? Why hasn’t this gone away, why do i feel like nothing is real? why? And when i’m doing something like washing the dishes i ask myself ” why am i washing the dishes, i just feel like life doesnt have sense. When i see myself i feel that i’m not me. I feel like i’m going crazy, i’m always scared of doing things. I dont know how explain it, its just so uncomfortable, it makes me feel irritated, and tired. I even get tired when i talk, and when i talk i dont feel that its my voice, and i feel that things changed in my house even when i know that nothing has changed, i just feel confused :c

    • Hi Eric,
      I’m very glad that you found HealtyPlace. There is a wealth of information on this site as well as comments and stories shared by people who visit. You are right — you are definitely not alone. Also, your experience with cannabis is not uncommon — so there’s another way you’re not alone! Given that your symptoms have a very definite beginning that is linked to something physical, it might be wise to see a doctor for a physical exam to make sure everything is okay. Also, you make a very wise point in mentioning being traumatized. Many different things can constitute trauma, and because this was such a big thing that has a lot of emotion attached to it, it could be very helpful to process this with a therapist. He/she can help you work through everything and get back to feeling better again. Hang in there. You’re definitely not alone, and you’re not doomed to feel miserable like this forever.

  51. Eric says:

    I just feel like this everyday, i’ve been feeling like this since christmas

  52. Eric says:

    I feel that the symptoms have not gotten away i’m not sure if i’m traumatized since that event

    • T. says:

      I can’t imagine feeling this way for that long! I hope you feel back to normal asap!

    • T. says:

      I just wanted to tell you that there’s a book called “At Last A Life” by Paul David who experienced 1o years of the EXACT SAME THING. I haven’t finished it yet, but so far he’s saying to not be worried about it! Being concerned of your symptoms will only enhance them! It’s your mind trying to recover from the trauma and it blocks everything out, so it goes o what I call, auto-pilot mode. Your mind needs a break and constantly worrying about it won’t make anything go away! You just got to not give anxiety the power, stop worrying, know it’ll go away but stop trying to figure out when and what you can do to speed up the process. You gotta heal, dude. So do I. :D

  53. T. says:

    I am a teenager and have been feeling extremely loopy and floaty, like I can’t root myself down anywhere. Like everything is unreal. I notice now that it only started after my first anxiety attack and I’ve seen a doctor, so I know there’s nothing physical wrong with me. I’ve had a CBC, urine test, blood sugar test, the whole deal. It’s been a month and this feeling is still going on, non-stop. Sometimes, when I don’t focus on it, I don’t feel it so much. But when I do, it enhances instantly.

    I know it’s anxiety because there are people I’ve read who feel exactly as I do. Concentration impairment, fear of not knowing what’s going on, out of it, trapped in yourself, feeling depersonalized. I’ve been doing all I can to fight it; I still leave the house (after two 1/2 weeks), I eat healthy, I cut caffeine from my diet, I don’t eat much junk food, I got a B12 shot earlier, I take vitamins, I don’t go to bed super late.

    …What else can I do? Does not thinking about it help? It’s just like the days are a blur and I don’t know what else there is. Will it ever go away?

    • Hello T.,
      Jodi is the one who wrote this column, but as she’s no longer writing for HealthyPlace, she is unable to respond to comments. I’m Tanya, one of the current writers of the column. You have terrific insight into what you are experiencing, and that’s good. Self-awareness coupled with a willingness to learn about what’s happening helps you develop a deeper understanding and ultimately to cope better. Unfortunately, that doesn’t put an end to the anxiety, but it does help you keep things in perspective. You asked if it helps not to think about it. Yes, it does! However, that is way easier said than done. If we could all just “not think about it,” we would all greatly reduce our anxiety. There is something along these lines that you can do. Instead of trying not to think about it at all (and thinking about it does focus your mind on it, which is what you don’t want to do), try developing alternate things to think about to replace the focus on the unreal feelings. When “everything” feels unreal, find even just one thing that doesn’t and focus on that. When you feel trapped within (a common feeling) yourself, find one thing to pull yourself back out (this is sometimes called grounding). As for your question about this going away, yes, it will go away! It doesn’t always happen quickly, but anxiety can indeed go away.

  54. T. says:

    It’s also awful because you feel like you can’t enjoy anything, since it doesn’t feel real!

    • Good point! Keep reminding yourself that an activity is, in fact, real. Journal about it, take pictures, etc. as reminders that you and the world are real. Hang in there. Thanks for visiting and for sharing your comments/questions!

      • T. says:

        I apologize for my incessant questions, but I would just like if you could answer one more (I really appreciate your time)! Is it normal to feel like you can’t really recall the person you used to be? And that each day, the previous day feels kind of blurred, like hazy? I also have moments where I have to remind myself of me. “Yes, this is my name, this is where I am, etc.” I’m learning to not fear the sensation of unreality and as I have already seen a doctor and the tests came back fine, I just want to insure it’s still just a symptom of anxiety. Then I’ll be able to move into recovery and continue to live my life alongside this feeling rather than desperately trying to rid myself of it because that in itself won’t make it go away :) Thank you so much!

        • Hello again T.,

          It’s good to ask questions. Stuff like this is confusing and can be hard to understand — even mental health professionals continue to ask questions and seek understanding. And asking questions means you care and are engaged in what’s going on. That is an important aspect of recovery. And now getting to your question, rest assured that what you feel can be a very normal aspect of certain types of anxiety. Everyone’s experience with anxiety is different, so not everyone experiences the exact same things, but yes, what you describe is common. The feelings you describe can sometimes be part of dissociations, times when people unintentionally “separate” from themselves for various reasons. Sometimes exploring what might be contributing to your sensations can be helpful. There can be underlying causes (and sometimes, a direct cause is never found), and when those are addressed, the problem diminishes. Finding a therapist you’re comfortable working with can be very beneficial. You already have started a good strategy by reminding yourself of you and repeating your name, etc. Sometimes it’s helpful to wear a rubber band around your wrist and snap it very lightly to remind yourself that you’re here in the present. One thing is very certain: given your inquisitive, take-charge attitude, you will move into recovery and continue to live your life as you!

          • T. says:

            Thank you! It’s just such a weird feeling and at moments, I could really freak out, seeing my mom but not feeling like she’s my mom. Or seeing a picture of myself and thinking, “Wow, that’s me?” Even trying to recall how I responded to certain things makes this all the more surreal. But I feel more reassured now, as this helps to silence that voice in my head saying, “maybe you’re going crazy! How else would you explain feeling so ghostly and out of it?” But I feel better knowing that anxiety, though having similar symptoms, affects each individual differently. I’m just reminding myself that it’s okay to feel this way; it’s normal, and no matter how weird I feel (and it gets pretty weird most all the time) it’s normal and it won’t last forever. But worrying about it just installs more stress and the problem could stick around longer than necessary. So I’m still going out and trying to focus on other things. I appreciate your input and time.

      • T. says:

        I apologize for my incessant questions, but I would just like if you could answer one more (I really appreciate your time)! Is it normal to feel like you can’t really recall the person you used to be? And that each day, the previous day feels kind of blurred, like hazy? I also have moments where I have to remind myself of me. “Yes, this is my name, this is where I am, etc.” I’m learning to not fear the sensation of unreality and as I have already seen a doctor and the tests came back fine, I just want to insure it’s still just a symptom of anxiety. Then I’ll be able to move into recovery and continue to live my life alongside this feeling rather than desperately trying to rid myself of it because that in itself won’t make it go away :) Thanks again.

  55. T. says:

    Still have the same thing for a month. Will the feeling ever go away? Does it help to not focus on it? What else can I do? I can’t stand feeling this way.

    • Denis says:

      I been suffering with this for 4 years now. Mine started when I overdosed on supplements and I nearly died from a heart attack, I totally zoned out and was fighting for my life. In the beginning my anxiety was so strong I was scared to go outside, i would get panic attacks for no reason just thinking about it. Everything was dangerous, I had fears of my heartbeat and losing air and etc etc. Obviously going through hell derealization was there right along for the ride. I would get it just by going outside, everything was strange. I hated talking to people because then It would be worse for some reason.

      As my anxiety slowly started getting better and I started to be less afraid. Derealization as well eased off quite a lot, dont get me wrong I still feel it from time to time but its not like 24/7 like before. It gets me every day a little here and there but for the most part I try not to think about it.

      One thing that it still does it gives me depression, after I just had a great day all day long didn’t think about it at all, dont experience it. A thought comes back to my mind “none of this is real you are in a dream world” it hits you again and this causes a lot of depression for me. I have to say I had gotten over anxiety and dont worry about anything hurting me anymore. But derealization is just such a profound experience that I dont know why the mind does it, it is too damn scary to ever forget about it. Hope one day I can totally get over this. You guys are not alone there are millions of people that have experienced this, its horrible but you are not alone.

      • Hi Denis,
        Thank you so much for sharing your insights and a bit of your story. I think that others will benefit from this. Derealization and depersonalization can be unsettling and frightening, but you’re right — millions of people experience it, no one is alone, and it is possible to get better. Again, thank you.

  56. Denis says:

    Some positives you can take from this, for me atleast, I can honestly say death will be easier, since you dont feel real then death doesnt feel real. Also anyone that has this doesn’t have it 24/7. It makes you appreciate all those moments where you do feel normal and you arent thinking about it, for that moment in time you are yourself back to normal, so you arent totally out of it, you snap back and forth.

  57. Viola Register says:

    I broke my foot 5 weeks ago and have been sitting. I’m usually very active. ThenMy oldest son, his wife and their 3 children came to visit for 8 days. Also my daughters boyfriend was here. She lives with me with her 3 yr old. I also have two other grown children living with us. My husband travels so he’s not home very much. I was upset because he had not been home since I broke my foot and then he was only going to be here for 3 days. Well, we had the 3 yr olds birthday party, the 8 yr olds birthday party and then celebrated the 4th. M y husband was grilling and I was sitting outside while everyone else was in the pool. I started to get a tightness in my chest and neck and went inside. Within 10 minutes I could not breathe and called my husband. I had never had panic attacks before. It was so bad we went tothe hospital where they found a blood clot in my lung. I stayed in the hospital for 5 days and have been home for 2. I’m taking Coumadin. I went to my GP yesterday and he put me on 10 mg. Lexpro and 0.25Xanax. I took one Lexapro this morning and it made me very nervous. I just took a half xanax to try to calm me down. Since I’ve been home I feel like I’m just wandering, I don’t want to talk to anyone, don’t want nobody at my house, don’t want to go anywhere and every thought, every movie, everything somehow scares me. We’ve always had a lot going on at our house and I’ve always been very active, outgoing and traveled for my work. Every moment I’m sitting here I want to call 911 to take me back to the hospital. I have this lump in my throat and getting to where I don’t want to eat. I’m nervous, shaky and so scared!!!!.I have a big house and enjoyed it immensely until I broke my foot. 6 to8 more weeks in a walking boot. I don’t want anyone to see me like this, I’m ata loss

    • Hello Viola,
      It sounds like you’ve been experiencing quite a bit of unusual stress. Any bit of that on its own could potentially be anxiety-provoking, and when you pile them all together it becomes intense. There is something important to know as you work through this: panic attacks absolutely can’t cause blood clots. The tightness in your chest and neck were likely caused by the blood clot. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t having anxiety, of course. Anxiety can cause the things you describe (feeling scared, not wanting anyone around, being nervous, etc.). Then, because these thoughts and feelings are new for you, that makes your anxiety increase. An important first step is to know that what you’re feeling isn’t unusual for anxiety, and a great many people wrestle with this. You’re not alone. Also, this can improve; you’re not stuck this way forever. Start with small steps (even with a broken foot!). What one thing is bothering you the most right now? What are little things you can do to make it better? Working through your anxieties this way can go a long way in helping you rid yourself of them.

  58. iiniki says:

    Sometimes when I am conversing with someone for example once while talking to my mom,I felt like I dint know her,like there is some distance or like she is a stranger or something ? The same thing happened while talking to my father.
    And once I thought about myself like that !
    Today I felt very uneasy inside I was very restless amd I still dont know what that was! Please help.

    • Hello iiniki,
      I’m glad you found Jodi’s article, and I hope that you can see that you’re not alone in this. What you describe is a scary feeling, but know that it is something that can be helped. Have you seen a doctor or a therapist? It’s often a good idea to work with a professional to get to the root of what’s going on so you can take the right steps to overcome it. Your descriptions sound a bit like depersonalization and derealization, experiences that can be part of anxiety and/or part of some dissociative disorders. Only a doctor/therapist working closely with you to learn more about you can determine what’s going on. There are absolutely strategies to overcoming these unsettling sensations, and working with someone could help you do so. I wish you the best of luck!

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