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Tips for Anticipatory Anxiety

Anticipatory anxiety is when you have an event coming up, or you’re planning to face a fear, or you’re planning to do something that often leads to anxiety and you’re anxiously anticipating how things might go. And most usually, you’re anticipating that things aren’t going to go well (cue the worst case scenarios). You anticipate that you’re going to be faced with feeling anxious, experiencing the symptoms, or experiencing a panic attack. And when you’re anticipating a bad outcome, you often actually experience the physical and mental symptoms and even panic just thinking about doing whatever the thing is that you’re planning to do.

Anticipatory anxiety is often filled with what-ifs... What if I experience panic? What if I can’t handle it? What if something bad happens? What if I have a bad panic attack and nobody is around to help me? What if I pass out?

If you struggle with panic disorder and agoraphobia, you probably often anticipate experiencing the symptoms or a panic attack everywhere you go. It's like your whole world revolves around how you might feel and whether or not you'll be able to "handle it."

When I was struggling, I was extremely scared of experiencing the symptoms and panic attacks and I would always try to prevent them from happening. I most frequently experienced the symptoms and panic attacks in cars, on public transportation, in public places, and being “too far” from home, and so I’d often avoid going places at all. Does this sound familiar?

This meant that I would often end up making up excuses not to do whatever it was that I had planned to do, or I’d bail on plans