Shining a Light on Anxiety::Unnecessary Fight or Flight Response


My life is controlled by a silent demon. Yes, I will use the word ‘demon’ to emphasis the cruelty of this affliction. I could wake up in the jolliest of moods, and it will strike.

This morning, for no reason at all, I had another anxiety attack.

It feels like the world is going to end during an anxiety attack. When a situation triggers my anxiety, I will play out a made up scenario in my head based on that situation. The scenario is never good, and I treat it as if it will happen. For example:

“Oh, my gosh! I didn’t grab my cell phone before coming in to work. Something is going to happen to someone I love and I won’t hear about it until I go home and get my home.” *Proceed to panic the rest of the day or possibly cut work day short to get phone to end the anxious feeling*

Other times, it simply feels like the world should end because I don’t want to deal with whatever caused my attack. I will elaborate on this further when I discussed my anxiety triggers.

I also have a horrible time keeping my thoughts organized. I try like hell to keep calendars, journals, to-do lists, etc but they end up as a passing fancy. When anxiety hits, it’s like someone knocke a bowl glitter onto a carpeted floor. Those pieces of glitter are my thoughts, the carpet is my anxiety holding on to my ‘thoughts’, and I am left with the struggle of reassembling them into the ‘bowl’ aka my cluttered mind. No sense in writing down my thoughts, because it feels like there isn’t enough time. I start to write quickly before I forget everything and I start to panic.

There are a few things and situation that just naturally make me anxious. The smaller of these things was previously discussed in my blog post about my emetophobia. My fight or flight instinct overpowers me when I’m around someone who complains of a stomachache, someone who is drinking, or even when I’m in public and I see someone walk into the restroom. For a while, mostly in high school, if I was in a public stall and someone came to occupy the one next to me, I would get a panicky feeling and the urge to hurry up and run out of there. I wouldn’t relax again until I heard that individual undo their pants and sit down.

Oh yes, I have walked into public rest rooms when people are getting sick. I did go to college, you know. In those situations, I ran out of the bathroom.

A huge trigger for me over all is anger. This can be exceedingly frustrating when you work in the customer service industry, which makes me wonder why I’ve been such a success in this field. I think there may be sound reasoning behind why anger does this to me, but I won’t go into that now.

If the anger is directed at me, I shut down completely. If someone is shouting or talking down to me, I cannot stick up for myself…at least right away. In the moment, I feel an overwhelming sense of failure and embarrassment. It feels like if I just agree with them, it’ll smooth things over and the anger will stop. I cannot look them in the eye, and there’s a pain in the pit of my stomach that slowly grows like an inflated beach ball. I cannot catch my breath, either.

If the anger is not directed at me, I still have a fight or flight reaction. If the anger is directed at another person, I think I feel empathy for that victim. That brings about the same reaction, and I have to run away from it.

When the attack is finally over, I am exhausted. My brain is fogged out and my eyes have a hard time focusing. I sometimes still feel that pain in the pit of my stomach. During my serious attacks, I have felt weak in my muscles too. All I ever want to do after an attack is lock myself in a dark bedroom with comfy pillows and hide under thick blankets.

Wow, it’s really strange seeing this all written out. I’ve never written out the details of everything that bothers me. Trust me, there’s more I could talk about. I’m going to leave the details of my personal anxiety battles at this.

Today at work, I set out to keep my life under control in hopes to avoid further anxiety. I made to do lists, kept my desk organized, and managed to stay focused all day. I may also start keeping a personal journal again to keep my thoughts together. Oh yes, and I have been keeping updated calendars of all events at work, at home, and on my phone.

I would really like to shine a light on this problem. It’s not just present in adults. I have seen it in elementary age kids,too. I would like to note that don’t really believe that we need to heavily medicate those who have this, but maybe we need to realize how common it is so the people who suffer don’t have to suffer in silence.

Do you suffer from anxiety? Or do any of these situations sounds familiar to you? Or do you have questions? Please feel free to begin a discussion in the comments below.

As always, I thank you for your time 🙂

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Shining a Light on Anxiety::Unnecessary Fight or Flight Response

  1. Alyssa, I see people with these problems every day. I love that homeopathy can relieve many people of problems with anxiety without suppressing it like conventional medications and with no side effects. You are definitely not alone with this.

  2. Thank you for sharing! I very much enjoyed the sense of honesty and earnestness I experienced in your post. I look forward to reading more!

  3. Ohhh, Lyssa, we have so much in common.
    Don’t question the phone thing. It’s ok to NEED to have a lifeline to the people you love, all the time. I have gone back for my phone when I’m 30 miles from home, rather than fret all day.
    You’re doing great, Toots.

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