5 Graphs to Help You Understand What Anxiety Feels Like

Ed. note: This blog post has been adapted from a BuzzFeed post. The original post was posted on July 29, 2015. Read the original post.

Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, worry, or fear that helps you cope with an event or situation. It's a completely normal response to stress. But when it negatively affects your day-to-day life, it can be disabling. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the United States — and affect more than twice as many women as men. How an anxiety disorder is treated depends on the person, but there are some things that many people with anxiety disorders have in common.

Anna Borges created some simple graphs to help people who don't have an anxiety disorder understand a little more about the experiences of people who do.

  1. So many stereotypes:
    Two pie charts showing the difference between who people think can have anxiety disorders and who can actually have anxiety disorders. The first pie chart illustrates that it's a common misconception that only shy introverts can have anxiety disorders. The second pie chart shows that anyone can have an anxiety disorder.
    Anna Borges/BuzzFeed
  2. When your mind and body don't care about what's rational:
    A venn diagram showing that people with anxiety feel anxious regardless of whether or not the situation warrants being anxious.
    Anna Borges/BuzzFeed
  3. If you had a nickel…
    A bar chart showing common phrases people with anxiety hear, such as Just relax!, and It's all in your head!
    Anna Borges/BuzzFeed
  4. It's not all in your head:
    Two pie charts showing the difference between what people think anxiety feels like and what it actually feels like. The first pie chart shows that people often think anxiety is worrying about everything all the time. The second pie charts shows that anxiety has a lot of different symptoms, including sweating, trouble sleeping, muscle tension, and more.
    Anna Borges/BuzzFeed
  5. And in case you need this reminder:
    Two pie graphs showing that while people with anxiety may often feel like a broken mess, their anxiety does not define them and there is much more to them than anxiety.
    Anna Borges/BuzzFeed

Images and content courtesy of Anna Borges and BuzzFeed. Reposted with permission.