Recently, I asked my Instagram community to share some of their most feared symptoms of anxiety. From their responses, the three most popular feared symptoms were dizziness, depersonalization/derealization (DPDR), and heart palpitations. And when I got their feedback, I wasn’t shocked. Because at one point, I struggled with accepting these weird (and scary) anxiety symptoms, too! Whether you’re struggling with anxiety, panic attacks, or agoraphobia, you’ve likely experienced some symptoms you weren’t the biggest fan of.
I know how scary and uncomfortable these anxiety symptoms can be, which is exactly why I want to talk about them. I want to provide you with some assurance, tips, and advice, to help you push past the anxious thoughts and fears! But before we start, I want to make it very clear that going to the doctor for your annual exams is important. If you’re experiencing a symptom that’s new or worsening, it’s definitely worth getting it checked out by a medical professional.
Experiencing dizziness is not fun! It might feel as though you’re off balance, light-headed, or like everything is spinning. This symptom used to scare me, too! Dizziness can lead to so many anxious thoughts that can be disruptive to your daily life. For example, you might feel like you need to “fix” the dizziness by leaning against a wall, holding onto a cart in the store, or relying on a safe person when leaving the home. The good news is you don’t have to do any of this to be safe.
Although dizziness can feel like an emergency, I have some assurance to offer you! Dizziness caused by anxiety is never an emergency. And if you find yourself feeling dizzy or off balance when you’re anxious, it’s largely due to changes in your breathing rate. When you become anxious and the fight-or-flight response kicks in, your breathing can become shallow or uneven. And often, this causes us to feel some dizziness.
So the next time you’re dizzy, I want you to think back on these tips…
Pay attention to how you respond to the dizziness
Try to not give the dizziness so much attention
Don’t change your actions just because you’re dizzy
It can be difficult to practice these tips at first, but taking small steps in the right direction can be so helpful. Over time, you’ll learn that you really can trust yourself to navigate anxiety symptoms on your own.
Depersonalization and Derealization (DPDR)
Depersonalization and derealization (aka DPDR) are some other weird anxiety symptoms that can feel so uncomfortable. There’s a slight difference between the two…Depersonalization tends to feel like you’re detached from your body, thoughts, and feelings, while derealization feels like you’re disconnected from your environment. Both can feel really, really scary. And when I was struggling, I hated these symptoms!
When you’re experiencing depersonalization and derealization, you might be scared that you’re going crazy, or losing touch with reality. But it’s important to remember that you’re not going crazy and that these symptoms aren’t an indicator that you are! When you experience DPDR, your brain is simply trying to remove itself from an extremely stressful situation. It’s your brain’s way of protecting itself, even though it might not feel like it!
So the next time you experience DPDR, remember…
This feeling is temporary, and it will pass
Experiencing DPDR doesn’t mean you’re going crazy
DPDR can cause your memory to feel cloudy, and it’s okay if it does
Heart sensations are the worst! And like the other symptoms, they can feel pretty scary. Whether your heart is racing, pounding, or skipping, you might feel like this anxiety symptom is dangerous to ignore. But when the fight-or-flight response kicks in, your heart rate will increase. And when it does, you’ll likely feel some changes in the way your heart feels. I want to remind you that this is extremely common for those struggling with anxiety. An increased heart rate is not a sign that you’re in any danger.
When it comes to anxiety symptoms, especially palpitations, you might find yourself asking “What if it’s not anxiety?”. And, of course, attend your annual exams and speak with your doctor first. But here’s the thing…most often, we’re looking for certainty when we’re anxious. And, unfortunately, certainty doesn’t really exist! Leaning into the uncertainty, especially when you’re experiencing scary anxiety symptoms, can help you to see that you’re not in any danger, friend. You are safe to experience it all.
So the next time you’re experiencing palpitations, remember…
It’s normal for your heart rate to increase when you’re anxious
Practice tolerating and accepting this symptom
Avoid checking your heart rate for reassurance
Practicing Self-Care to Minimize Weird Anxiety Symptoms
Taking good care of yourself is key to anxiety recovery! And although the goal of recovery is not to eliminate anxiety symptoms entirely, self-care can minimize some of these symptoms. So while you practice taking healthy action, I want you to prioritize things like:
Fitting daily movement into your schedule
I want you to remember that the only way to stop fearing the weird anxiety symptoms is to allow yourself to feel them. It’s uncomfortable, and it’s not easy, but this healthy action will help you learn to trust your body. And when you trust your body, there’s no symptom or sensation that will stop you from living a life filled with peace, joy, and freedom.
If you’re looking for some extra support on overcoming panic attacks and anxious symptoms, sign up for my masterclass and I'll teach you how to navigate the symptoms and panic attacks to gain freedom from them!