Anxiety Symptoms Vary But The Colossal Fear They Cause Never Does
Anxiety symptoms are an integral part of the bipolar person’s world. The frequency, strength, and duration may change but it is all an incredible burden to bear.
Anxiety equals panic, fear, terror, horror, dread, doom, despair and sometimes shame.
Anyone experiencing any of this, to whatever degree, would want it to end and might go to extreme lengths to do so.
Supporters of such a person may not understand the terrible power these anxiety symptoms possess. Imagine an entire tractor trailer being forced down your throat in two seconds and you’re beginning to get the idea.
These fears can be beyond large. They can drive a person insane or to suicide. At the very least, they incapacitate and make a person useless to themselves and others who depend upon them.
Here is an excerpt from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) website describing panic disorder, the ultimate combination of anxiety symptoms:
Panic disorder is a real illness that can be successfully treated. It is characterized by sudden attacks of terror, usually accompanied by a pounding heart, sweatiness, weakness, faintness, or dizziness.
During these attacks, people with panic disorder may flush or feel chilled; their hands may tingle or feel numb; and they may experience nausea, chest pain, or smothering sensations. Panic attacks usually produce a sense of unreality, a fear of impending doom, or a fear of losing control.
A fear of one’s own unexplained physical symptoms is also a symptom of panic disorder. People having panic attacks sometimes believe they are having heart attacks, losing their minds, or on the verge of death. They can’t predict when or where an attack will occur, and between episodes many worry intensely and dread the next attack.
Panic attacks can occur at any time, even during sleep. An attack usually peaks within 10 minutes, but some symptoms may last much longer.
Panic disorder affects about 6 million American adults and is twice as common in women as men. Panic attacks often begin in late adolescence or early adulthood, but not everyone who experiences panic attacks will develop panic disorder. Many people have just one attack and never have another. The tendency to develop panic attacks appears to be inherited.
The horror of these anxiety symptoms, at least in my personal experience, is that they can sometimes last for hours. I haven’t read much about others experiencing this as I did.
All of what you’re about to read, as well as all of the above, could hit me at a sustained rate of high intensity for two to three hours straight.
I used to pace the room, taking it, with the phone in my hand, about to punch 911, just wondering if they’d get there before my heart exploded. Here is my description of the symptoms:
- Pure terror that bursts forth without warning
- Fear of life in all its dimensions
- Drinking, smoking, drugging to “relax” in social settings
- Agoraphobia. The world’s just too big to consider
- Claustrophobia. And then it’s too small to get air from
- Intense fear of cops, guards, or authority figures
- Overwhelming panic when in crowds. Too much in all ways
- The fear of ever being geographically too far from an Emergency Room
- Dread, portents of doom, a surety that all will go horribly wrong very soon
- Shortness of breath, numb limbs, hyperventilation
- Paranoia and a state of being easily startled, nerves constantly on edge
- Dizziness and loss of balance
- Chest pains, pounding heart, racing pulse
- Impossibly huge fear of death/dying and the unknown
- Soaking wet with sweat or freezing with chills
- Racing thoughts, mania, mind cannot be shut down
- Anxious about losing control of one’s self; worry of becoming erratic or violent
- Fear of embarrassment if an attack hits in public
- Afraid of interacting directly or closely with others
- Coming apart at the thought of all your responsibilities
- And many more tragic daily occurrences…
The good news (and there IS good news, believe it or not) is that these experiences are signals of not so obvious, yet fixable problems. That does not mean a fix is easy, guaranteed, or doable at the moment but the potential to end all of this is great.
Understandably, they are a dangerous brand of communication but if enough tools are aligned to help a person understand the true nature of these anxiety symptoms, the healing can begin.