First off, I should make clear that everyone with this condition (and most other mental health problems) experiences it differently. There you go, I made it clear.
I feel it in the depths of my stomach, just below my lower ribs. The burning sensation when copious amounts of adrenaline is pumped into my system isn’t the most pleasant thing in the world.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
You see, this will happen if I’m merely thinking about something worrisome, even if I’m comfortable at home; it will also occur if I’m in the situation itself, also.
Then when in the situation itself (when the perceived ‘threat’ is greater) there’s the other expected responses: sweaty palms, shaking hands and a thumping heart. At more extreme times I have an increasing inability to concentrate on anything except the anxiety-provoking stimulus, making me feel like I have ‘tunnel vision’ (now I’ve got the ‘chuckle-vision theme song stuck in my head, and now you do too).
There’s another problem (I’m pretty sure this is an anxiety thing), where seemingly mundane situations can suddenly become very anxiety-provoking. Basically, I think it starts because of the ease at which I’ll become anxious in a given situation. So then the brain (shoutout to the amygdala) marks that situation as ‘dangerous’. So then when I’m in the situation again, it’s almost like I’m anxious about being anxious again, with makes it worse, and makes my brain think the situation is wayyyy worse than it was last time.
I don’t really know, I’m just guessing.
For sure though, the spiraling out of control of thoughts and physiological responses is awful, as really normal situations suddenly become unapproachable.
But now I take medication for anxiety (and have done for a while now), I feel much better (although still not as good as I want to), it makes life easier to cope with.
So yeah, there’s my 2 cents on that.