10 things people don’t realize can be caused by anxiety

I have suffered from major anxiety for most of my life, even as a child. Looking back, there were a lot of signs in my normal day-to-day behavior pointing to my anxiety. Today I am talking to you about signs people don’t realize can be due to anxiety.

Feeling like the odd one out is my constant reality. However, I did not realize until a short time ago that a lot of it stems from anxiety. In my case, I think anxiety comes from the way my family made me feel when I was growing up, especially as a young child. Some of the things that I consider “normal” are actually behaviors I unconsciously developed to deal better with the anxiety I was feeling. 

Photo by boram kim on Unsplash


1. Sleep issues  

I think most of you may already know this one. Anxiety can trigger an array of sleep issues, from insomnia to sleepwalking. Personally, I have huge issues falling asleep and once I finally manage to fall asleep, I have problems staying asleepI also experience very vivid dreams and often have nightmares. It’s been like this my whole like – my mother even got me checked twice because I had issues sleeping as a child. What I did not realize is that these issues were due to anxiety. 

2. Shortness of breath 

I was diagnosed with asthma as a young child and I still notice changes in it due to allergies or a sudden change of weather. However, I haven’t had an actual “attack” in over a decade. Shortness of breath, however, is something very present in my life. Luckily I can handle it without having to take any medication. 

3. Canceling plans or avoiding social situations

Like most people, I often make plans when I am in a good and positive mood. But as the time gets closer, I start feeling like I don’t want to go. This is a recurrent thing, regardless of whom I made plans with. Be it with my best friend or an office party, I always feel this way. For a very long time I wasn’t aware this was due to anxiety and now that I am aware, I always try to understand my feelings. Sometimes I do cancel the plans, depending on how I really am feeling. But the best part? I always end up having fun when I do go out! 

4. Nervous ticks 

Sure, the name already has “nervous” in it, but have you ever really noticed your ticks? I often bounce my leg up and down when I am feeling particularly anxious. Or I go and check my phone. It may seem weird to you, but checking my Instagram and exchanging messages there does calm me down whenever I am feeling anxious in a social situation. Particularly if it is with people with whom I do not feel comfortable with. 

5. Not making decisions

As a mom, it feels like I have to decide everything about Benjamin during the day. In my job, I also have to make some decisions. When it comes to this blog, my social media platforms of articles I may write/proofread for other platforms, also decisions I have to make. Those things come easy to me, I really have no issues when making those decisions. Things are different when it comes to what to eat, what to wear, where to go or what to do on the weekend. On those situations, I just freeze, feel extremely anxious and would preferably not have to make any goddamn decision for myself. 

6. Having stomach issues 

I don’t think I have had a healthy stomach in like…ever. Seriously, this isn’t me exaggerating. I have had stomach issues since my teenage years. Feeling nauseous is the most common, but about 10 years ago I also developed IBS. Since then I have noticed my tummy gets bloated, seemingly for no reason, a lot of the time. Although I am going to have a blood test done to check for food intolerances, I have noticed it gets a lot worse the more anxious I feel.

7. Chest pain and/or heart palpitations

This was one of the scariest for me because I used to think I was having a heart attack. Truth be told, it’s still the first thought that crosses my mind. Usually followed by a mental check of other heart attack symptoms – which always come up negative. Whenever I start feeling pain right between my boobs, I know I need to deal with something that has been making me very anxious. 

8. Accurate memories of conversations

I have a perfect memory of conversations (be it in person or written) that I have with people. Especially if it is with someone I don’t feel very comfortable with or who is often not very nice to me. While this is great in the work environment, it can end up being negative when it comes to relationships. No one likes being reminded of what they said when in a fight. My close friends already know and come to me whenever they can’t remember something that was said when I was present. 

9. Getting sick very often for no reason

If you are often fighting a cold – and don’t work with sick people or kids – chances are anxiety is to blame for them. I used to be in a loop of cold-allergies-cold. Things have gotten better since I moved to Austria (away from certain causes of anxiety), but I notice I still get them more often. 7 out of 10 times, for no apparent reason. 

10. Eating disorders

It is no secret on this blog that I have struggled with an eating disorder for most of my life. I can roughly pinpoint its start to the beginning of my puberty – which was very early at 8/9 years old. What I hadn’t noticed was the pattern that it has. I always have more issues with it whenever I am not feeling well or am extremely anxious. It’s a way of trying to “control” my life, when I feel it’s out of control (or others want to control it for me). According to a study made in 2016 by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “eating disorders commonly co-occur with anxiety disorders and can make symptoms much worse“. 

Did you know these could be signs of anxiety? Next time you experience one of these things, take a moment to reflect. Maybe you’re anxious and it is coming out that way. Or you may just have caught a cold from that annoying co-worker. Nonetheless, it’s worth knowing these 10 things can be caused by anxiety!


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