Anxiety can cause weird symptoms! Anxiety is really a primitive mechanism which makes us decide what to when faced with a stressful situation. We feel anxious, we feel uncomfortable and we move to make the situation better. Sometimes we might need to make a telephone call, write a letter or get into our car as a move towards reducing our anxiety – rarely do we have to run several kilometers for help, club to death a grizzly bear, or climb up a steep mountain slope. In primitive times, most anxiety reactions were in response to physical threats. Our body is attuned to perceiving threats and anxiety as being something that will need a lot of physical action, endurance or strength to resolve and over come.
In the modern world, stress and consequent anxiety rarely requires much in the way of physical action to avoid. As a result, in most situations our body produces a vast amount of chemicals which gear our body to fight or flee in response to the stress and anxiety. This excess of preparation to do battle leaves our body with an overload of hormones and stress coping reactions at a physical level which we really do not want and have no use for. Unfortunately, the levels of stress that we often encounter in an office, at home or generally make the body think that a major effort of physical strength will be required and so you find yourself, unwillingly, prepared to fight a major physical battle.
Your heart starts to pound uncontrollably, your muscles all tense up ready for action, and you lose all sense of appetite – all the blood has been taken to the muscles where it can be used to help in the physical fight. Your blood pressure goes up to a peak and you feel your head pounding, feel quite dizzy, and then your hands start to shake. Somewhere in the middle of your chest region it feels incredibly tight – perhaps I am going to have a heart attack you think – or perhaps even a stroke.
Sometimes the physical symptoms of anxiety can be a sense of shock. When that happens you might feel as though you are frozen stiff and cannot move, you feel numb and cannot think of anything at all. Sometimes it seems as though everything around you has turned to a hazy blur, and things are happening so slowly all around you. Often you will feel your throat become unbearably tight, and worst of all your mouth will go dry, so that you find it almost impossible to speak.
Depending upon the level of your anxiety, you may feel more or less in control, many people who have suffered from an intense anxiety attack say they felt like they had met their doom. Above all, there is a sense of unreality about the world as you struggle to think what to do, and in the pit of your stomach is a mighty great lump that feels very much like fear. Fortunately, you will survive an anxiety attack, the intensity wears off in a while – which again can leave you trembling, feeling weak, and drained and exhausted.
There is no means of turning off the physical stress response at times when you don’t need it – it is an automatic response and it is something that you just have to deal with. While we have to deal with stress in our lives, anxiety will continue to produce weird symptoms.
The best way to get rid of the weird and uncomfortable symptoms is to do your best to take some physical action – not assault and battery, but some deep breathing and as much physical movement such as stretching, running or walking as your circumstances permit. Taking a drink will help, and if sugar is available it helps to restore and balance your energy levels.