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anxious woman in cornerWe all experience feelings of stress and anxiety every now and then.

In fact, it is extremely normal to feel anxious before events that are important to us such as an interview, delivering a public lecture, first day at work, or the wedding day.

However, you know something is wrong when your anxiety grows to a level where it starts to interfere with your day to day life.

Sure there are ways to tell when this normal feeling turns into a mental disorder. But it isn’t always easy to spot the signs of anxiety disorder.

Anxiety manifests itself in different ways like panic attacks, phobias, and social anxiety. Unfortunately, the difference between a medical diagnosis and normal anxiety isn’t always clear.
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Internet TrollComments are an essential part of this website’s success.

There has grown up a community over the years that support each other and new commenters.

Unfortunately, there has been of late a flood of “comment trolls” touting everything from fake Vuitton bags to aluminum siding (really!) to enlargement pills for your err… umm… member. These clog up the comments and are a pain to delete daily.

To combat the trolls, I now have comments moderated. This means that I have to approve every comment before it is posted. Don’t worry, I check my email many times daily and will approve legitimate comments quickly, usually within an hour.

I regret that I have had to take this action, but in my opinion it is better than the comments being inundated by comment trolls. I value and welcome your comments on this issue.


panic attackThe article I’m Dying: What a Panic Attack Feels Like is one of the most popular posts on this site, with over 350 comments.

Many of the comments–some are very long–are heartbreaking: relationships wrecked, jobs lost, fear trailing like a shadow.

Over and over people describe how panic attacks affect them:

  • In response to heart palpitations: “I’m going to have a heart attack,” or I’m going to die.”
  • In response to choking sensations: “I’m going to stop breathing and suffocate.”
  • In response to dizzy sensations: “I m going to pass out.”
  • In response to sensations of disorientation or feeling “not all there”: “I’m going crazy.”
  • In response to “rubbery legs:” “I won’t be able to walk” or “I’m going to fall.”
  • In response to the overall intensity of your body’s reactions: “I’m going to completely lose control over myself,” or “I’m going crazy.”

Panic attacks are an intense “fight-or-flight” reaction occurring in a situation that poses no obvious or life-threatening danger, such as sitting quietly at home, driving a car, or attending a social event. Because there is no obvious, external danger, your mind tends to invent or create danger to match the intense bodily symptoms you’re going through.

Your mind can very quickly go through the process: “If I feel this bad, I must be in some danger.” And so it’s very common when experiencing panic to invent any or all of the “dangers” listed above–or more.

The ironic thing is that this reaction is absolutely and always false. Panic attacks are not dangerous. They cannot hurt you physically. Ever.

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