4 Conflicting Signs of Anxiety: It Looks Different for Everyone

By Tatenda


Last Updated: January 5, 2023

Anxiety is by far one of the most common psychological issues.

Because there are several types and forms of anxiety, it also means that the condition is largely misunderstood.

Also, every person who has had or has anxiety has experienced it in a unique manner, and this also increases the likelihood of undermining other people’s experiences. 

Often, when we hear that someone has anxiety, we expect to see them in a state of panic, shaking a bit, tapping their leg uncontrollably, hyperventilating, and with sweaty hands to top it all off.

Yes, all these things can happen when someone is anxious, but not always.

And if you do not experience these common signs, it does not mean that you do not have anxiety or yours is ‘better.’ It simply means your experience is different. 

Despite how every person experiences anxiety, there is one common thing. For everyone, anxiety is an internally overwhelming and exhausting, yet crippling feeling. 



Common Signs of Anxiety

These can include:

  • Restlessness
  • Being irritable
  • Difficulties in concentration
  • Tense muscles
  • Poor sleep hygiene
  • Increased and irregular heart rate
  • Aches and pains
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Nausea
  • Hot flashes 
  • Teeth grinding



The Conflicting Signs of Anxiety 

Being withdrawn

Due to anxiety, some people are not comfortable with coming forward and being ‘present’ in a crowd. Especially when the people are new or when the crowd is big. These people withdraw, and that makes them feel ‘invisible’ in a way. To them, having less attention around them means they are less likely to be judged. 


However, anxiety can also look like Being overly loud

Some people with anxiety can not stand silence. To them, any silence is uncomfortable and should be filled. If no one is going to do it, they will do so. As a result, they tend to take on a lot of space and dominate the conversation. 


Saying ‘yes’ to everything

Because of the fear of being judged or losing friends, some people say ‘yes’ to everything suggested by their friends or family. They do not turn down any invitation or offer because they are scared that if they say ‘no’, they will be judged, and maybe no one will want to interact with them. 


However, anxiety can also look like Saying ‘no’ to everything

For others, social interactions, commitments, or responsibilities are a no-go area.

They will say ‘no’ to everything because they just can't handle social interactions. In some cases, they are also not comfortable with being in charge or responsible for anything as they are worried it might not go well. Consequently, they turn down any responsibility.


Feeling like everything is going too fast

For some people, time flies due to anxiety. The world seems to spin very fast, and they don’t see where the time goes. They are unable to get much done and just want everything to stop and slow down. 


However, anxiety can also look like Feeling like the world is too slow: 

On the other hand, some people might feel like everything is dragging and not moving at the pace that it is supposed to. One example is when someone who has social anxiety is on stage giving a 10 min presentation.

Those 10 minutes might feel like a lifetime. One might just need them to end so they do not deal with the uncomfortable feeling of being in front of a crowd or being the center of attention. 


Worrying about the future

Anxiety can result in one being paralyzed about the things that could possibly go wrong.

This intense fear can typically get in the way of their everyday life, thereby making it difficult for them to go through mundane day-to-day tasks.

It also makes it challenging for one to plan for the future, thereby increasing the likelihood of a negative outcome that could have been avoided by sufficient preparation.


However, anxiety can also look like Being worried about the past

Some people focus so much on the past that they are unable to move on and do anything else. They think of the mistake they made and how they could have done things differently.

They are so fixated on that past not-so-nice experience that they are unable to try the same thing again. For instance, someone who had a work interview and looked back at how they responded to some of the questions and realized that they could have answered the questions differently.

Consequently, this person then becomes scared of the possibility of going to more interviews. 

These are just some of the many instances where signs and symptoms of anxiety might seem different or conflicting, but are equally crucial and should receive attention. 



Conflicting Signs of Anxiety: All Types of Anxiety Should Be Addressed

The above-mentioned types of anxiety can coexist, and one does not necessarily have to present all the symptoms for them to think that they need to see a professional for help. 

We all have moments where we feel anxious, but when this continues and in worse scenarios, gets in the way of your day-to-day life, always look for help.

There surely are some things you can do to manage anxiety alone or at home, but in some cases, you need a professional to give you the adequate and effective tools you need. 

The most important thing is to understand that your experience will never be identical to that of another person, and it should never be undermined. It is also important for us to spread kindness and allow those around us to effectively heal from the things they might not be comfortable talking about.

Photo by Pixabay


4 comments on “4 Conflicting Signs of Anxiety: It Looks Different for Everyone”

  1. Thanks for the above re anxiety. It helped me realize more about myself.I constantly worry about getting older and what will happen if I can’t look after myself. During the pandemic I definitely don’t want to be treated like the elderly people who are so badly taken care of because of lack of staffing and management. I’m trying to overcome my anxiety about other issues and think moe positive about the wonderful blessings I have in life.Your motivational messages are a guide to my positivity along with my much loved daughters & g children. Thanks so much.

    1. That's a real concern, for sure, Mae. But good for you to try and stay ahead of those feelings, to be grateful and to take care of yourself. We are wishing you good health and happiness! 🙂

  2. Very true to life Anxiety is a co-dependency living to find self esteem and remove stress reactions my self having to deal with the overwhelm in situ when having to deal with the negativity in the environment due to stresses of those who live with being esteemed ego without resolve or working with resilience not silent conflict bias Conscious awareness reality

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