When I was first diagnosed with anxiety, I had this idea of what it was, but I didn’t really understand all the ways it could impact my life. I knew I felt panicky a lot and cancelled plans because I was too anxious to walk into the building alone or felt unsure about my outfit. I knew my heart rate could go all over the place and I could feel like something terrible was about to happen without being able to explain why I was feeling that way.
I didn’t realize how many different ways anxiety could impact me physically.
My anxiety and stress level go hand in hand. When one increases, the other follows. I’ve known for a while that stress migraines were a thing, but I had no idea I could end up getting anxiety migraines. Those are the worst. I panic so much that my head just starts to hurt. My pain level gradually increases until it feels like someone is constantly stabbing me in the head. There’s so much pressure and pain and all the while, I’m extremely anxious and feel unable to calm down. I’ve been able to get these headaches under control more than they used to be, but every once in a while, I’ll have one that lasts a few days and prevents me from being able to get enough sleep at night.
The duration of these “anxiety migraines” is not dependent on the length of my “panic attacks” either. The side effects can last a couple hours or even days after I have managed to calm down. I never expected anxiety to affect me this way, but it’s something I have been learning to cope with slowly. I have medications to prevent and stop migraines and I have better coping mechanisms than I used to have for my anxiety. Finding techniques that work for you in managing your anxiety will help you manage and minimize your stress level and your physical symptoms of anxiety and stress. I have a mental illness, but my symptoms are not in my head.