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6 Unexpected Signs That You Might Have Anxiety

6 Unexpected Signs That You Might Have Anxiety

I have anxiety. I knew something was not quite right when my husband popped a paper bag across the room behind me. It wasn’t malicious, he didn’t even do it to scare me, it was just one of the fun little things he did to amuse himself while putting away the groceries now and then. But the loud pop turned me into a trembling, weeping mess curled up in a ball on the lounge unable to be touched until I managed to calm myself down an hour or so later.

Realising that this was definitely a “me” problem rather than an “everybody tiptoe around Mum” problem, I arranged an appointment with my lovely GP and soon had a prescription for some awesome meds that stopped me jumping at every little noise and quietened the emotions that I couldn’t help but feel at times.

Looking further into my experiences, I realised that there are many lesser-known symptoms of anxiety and that I had shown signs of a few of them. It wasn’t just excessive worrying and irrational fears. There are a lot of other unexpected signs, too.

Skin picking, or dermatillomania

Most people pick at their skin from time to time, but when it becomes an obsessive thing that you just can’t keep from doing, it is a symptom of anxiety. This condition is believed to affect one in 20 people. Whether it is skin on your fingers, hands, feet, lips, or anywhere else, obsessive skin picking can be a relieving outlet for anxious thoughts.

Chronic indigestion

Sometimes, anxiety can cause more than a “butterflies in your stomach” feeling. Digestive issues like nausea, diarrhea, and indigestion, are some of the main complaints linked to anxiety disorders. Breathing deeply and participating in regular exercise can help lessen the pain, but only seeking help for the cause of the digestive issues will resolve it.

Heart irregularities

Do you ever get the feeling that your heart is racing for no apparent reason? Have you felt like your heart is pounding out of your chest? While skipped heartbeats and palpitations are common, this symptom is one you don’t want to ignore, especially if it persists.


If you are constantly judging yourself or you have a lot of anticipatory anxiety about making mistakes or falling short of your standards, then you might have an anxiety disorder.

Sleep Problems

Stress and anxiety can cause sleeping problems, or make other issues, like falling and staying asleep, worse. It’s also a Catch 22 — sleeping disorders can lead to anxiety and anxiety can lead to sleeping disorders. If this is one of your symptoms, it is best to book that doctor’s appointment and get it sorted out.

Muscle Tension

Whether it is clenching your teeth and jaw, hunching your shoulders, balling your fists, or flexing other muscles in your body, near-constant muscle tension is a sign of anxiety. It is also exhausting, which doesn’t help our sleeping problems!

While anxiety disorders are often hard to pinpoint and require an accurate diagnosis from a medical healthcare professional, these signs and symptoms are commonly associated with anxiety. There are plenty of other anxiety habits, behaviors, and symptoms. This list is not exhaustive or inclusive.

Help is available. Please see your doctor. Working together you can get through this, just as I, and many millions of others, have.

You got this. 


You can find more information on anxiety disorders at Black Dog Institute, Lifeline, and Beyond Blue.



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Jill Slater

Jill Slater

Jill is a busy wife and mother of four young children. She loves nothing more than making people giggle, and loves to settle in with a glass of wine (or four) and wander about the internet. Feel free to follow her to see all the cool stuff she finds!

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