M, 58: “Sometimes I get anxious about having another panic attack. The first time it happened, it felt like it came out of nowhere. Second time, same thing. I landed in the ER both times, thinking I was having a heart attack. It wasn’t until after I had the second one when I realized what was happening. My heart is fine.
“I hope this never happens to me, again. But if it does, I really hope I can manage the experience without freaking out too much.”
Josh, 32: “I have so many things that I’m anxious about. But if I had to look at the root anxiety, it’s based on performance. . “I think I’m always anxious about who I am, and how I interact in the world, and how other people perceive me. . “I’m anxious about doing well at my job. I’m anxious about helping other people. I’m anxious about making the world a better place. . “It’s something that never leaves me.”
Audra, 32: “Answering the phone makes me very anxious.
“I’ve never been a fan of talking on the phone anyway, and so if a person calls me, even if it is a relative, or a good friend, I probably won’t answer the first time, because I have to mentally prepare myself before I talk to them and call back.
“I hear the phone ring — and I start to feel uneasy.
“Oh! And I absolutely can’t stand when somebody hands me a phone. If they’re on the phone, and they hand me a phone — it kills me inside. I get so anxious. I get uncomfortable, aggressive — it’s just a horrible experience for me almost every single time.”
On the spot
Marlene, 60: “My anxiety is being on the spot: All of a sudden having somebody come and say, “WHAT ABOUT THIS?” or, “DO WE HAVE THIS?” or “DO WE HAVE THAT?” Or “PLAY THE PIANO RIGHT NOW IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY!
“On the spot.
“So I tend to over-prepare. I try to think of everything that can go wrong and make sure everything’s in place to avoid that.
“I realized recently that I don’t want to be caught off guard and put on the spot, because it makes me freeze, and I get very anxious.”
Anonymous’ fear, 14: “Getting low grades and failing school.”
Too much s*** to do
B, 36: “I have massive anxiety that I’m never going to dig myself out from out from under THE PILE OF S*** I HAVE TO DO. . “This usually wakes me up at like 4 in the morning. Like, right in that hour that you can’t actually function, but you have so much to do that you can’t actually sleep either.”
Talking about anxieties
Erin, 38: “My latest anxiety is talking about my anxieties.
“I started going to a counselor, again, and having to tell somebody else your whole story … I thought I was over some of those, and I was wanting to move forward, but I feel like I’m going backward.
“I thought I’d be talking about more spiritual things, and then having to backtrack and give the history of me, is like … I don’t want to. But I guess, obviously, it needs attention. I need to give it attention.”
Up at 3 a.m.
Up at 3 a.m. Again.
Julia, 31: “I am currently a graduate student who is living a relatively ‘normal’ life right now. However, unlike most people my age, I am also a brain injury survivor who lives with chronic pain.
“I am challenged both physically and cognitively every day. Most of the time, it doesn’t faze me too much. I’ve learned to adapt, and rationally know that I will continue to do so as I grow older and face new challenges and fears. …”
Ella, 14, addressing her fear of vomiting: “I've had this fear since I was 5 years old, and it can be crippling. I have heard that most of the people with this phobia are girls because of the societal expectation that females should be clean.
“My main fear is of other people being s**k, and it has stopped me from going in aeroplanes and boats a couple of times. I am quite embarrassed to tell my friends about my phobia. It affects so many areas of my life: traveling, theme parks, food, parties ... And alcohol (in the future).
“Also in the future: children — because of morning s**kness and if they get ill, injections, medical things ... the list goes on.
“It causes me so much fear and anxiety, and lots of panic attacks. It's so sad (but also reassuring) to know that it is the fifth most common phobia.
“I hate it so much though, and I wish it would just disappear. Sometimes it feels like my whole world revolves around this one phobia.”
K, 55: “My mother has been on this slow journey of losing her eyesight to macular degeneration. Her mother, my grandmother, lost her sight as well — in fact, many of my grandmother’s sisters, my mom’s aunts, lost their sight as they aged.
“My fear is that I will someday follow the lonely path toward darkness. Imagining never seeing the springtime flowers bloom, the snow fall, the blue of the sky, faces of those I love, the waves hitting the shore, or reading a joke, or watching a movie, or seeing an expression on a stranger’s face — that’s my fear.”
Sara, 22: “Not knowing what tomorrow holds is quite scary. No one knows how their life will play out. We need to value and cherish what we have now, because at any time it could all be taken away from us.
”There is so much we think we know, but really we have no idea.”
Shannon, 29: “A fear that affects my life is the fear of my son drowning. I have had nightmares where my son goes into dark water, and I dive in to save him.
“In the past I have not let my son go night fishing because of my fear.
“When we went to the ocean, I would not let him get farther than 10 feet away from me in the water.
“At one point we had to get out of the water because the waves were pulling my son and my nephew on their boogie boards, and it was too stressful to make sure they were both safe.
“We left the ocean and went to the pool where I felt they were safer.”
Molly, 23: "I just get really uncomfortable in elevators. I guess my biggest fear about it, and what makes me the most anxious, is the idea of getting trapped in it. If there's a really crowded elevator, I always think, 'If I get stuck on here, what are we gonna do, cramped in this really tight space? Are we going to run out of air?' It's just really stressful for me to be in elevators.
"When I was in middle school, some of my friends knew that I was really freaked out by elevators, so they stopped it on purpose — and left me in it for, like, five minutes, which was really horrible, actually.
"They thought it was funny, but I totally lost it. And I got off, and they realized, 'Oh, she's really freaked out. We shouldn't have done that."
Kristina: “I fear my cancer will come back, and I won’t be able to beat it a second time.
“I used to think I’d live to be 100. Now I know too much.”