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By Megan Erwin


The quickening thrum of your heartbeat against your chest, the rush of panic that seems to cut off your breath, the sting of tears in your eyes as you want nothing more than to escape and hide away- the feelings are all too familiar for so many of those who experience sensitivity due to anxiety.

Anxiety-based sensitivity can affect those with a wide spectrum of anxiety disorders and have many different meanings depending on the person, and can manifest in a physical or emotional sense. For example, physical reactions to anxiety such as feeling overwhelmed by your surroundings and outside stimulation can result in panic attacks and bouts of stress, sadness, and irritability. Anxiety sensitivity- the fear of anxiety itself and its symptoms- can additionally lead us to believe that our responses are too ‘emotional’ and that we’re being too sensitive. This can further wear down self-esteem and lead to self-judgment and panic over symptoms, which only exacerbates anxiety and anxiety sensitivity.

Living with anxiety can be an extremely isolating experience. Sensitivity surrounding anxiety can be especially overwhelming to communicate to others. We often tell ourselves that our reactions are disproportional and won’t be taken seriously, so we subsequently try to repress any negative feelings for fear of others’ perceptions, which can lead to a vicious cycle. Practicing self-compassion and allowing ourselves to truly experience and accept our negative feelings as opposed to dismissing them as us merely being too sensitive, despite being challenging, is an important step; it can help us begin to identify our triggers and better manage our symptoms, whichever way they manifest.

According to the NHS, more people than ever are taking advantage of talking therapies. Receiving help from professionals, support groups, online or in-person communities of people with similar experiences, or other services provided by Anxiety UK can be a very effective way of coming to terms with sensitivity due to anxiety. You can also find a safe person, whether an aforementioned professional or volunteer, or a family member, friend, teacher, or colleague, to share your struggles and experiences within a non-judgmental environment.

However your anxiety affects you, it doesn’t need to be faced alone.

‘Hi, my name is Megan, and I have suffered with depression and anxiety for several years. I have only recently begun receiving treatment for my mental health, and it has changed my life more than I can describe. It’s so easy to feel completely alone with whatever you’re going through, and through writing with Anxiety UK I hope to be able to provide at least a bit of comfort to whoever happens to be reading that you are seen, and you matter.’

The views expressed by the contributor are not necessarily those of Anxiety UK, nor can we guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. If you would like to write a blog for AUK please email [email protected]  for more information.

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