Being Anxious vs. Anxiety Attacks

Written by ProjectBlissful

What’s the difference between being anxious a having a full-blown, debilitating anxiety attack? 

Every survivor of narcissistic abuse will have times when we get anxious, and this is true during and after the toxic relationship. It makes sense, if you think about this from the perspective of a scientist. A bit of news to share: over the next month, I’ll be publishing a new series on this blog to help survivors of narcissistic abuse to work through their anxiety issues that are related to C-PTSD and the after-effects of a toxic relationship. In this post, I’ll share with you how to tell the difference between everyday, normal anxiety, full-blown panic attacks and the kind of anxiety related to our abuse that we can manage on our own.

What is anxiety exactly?

Anxiety is a natural reaction to a perceived future threat. It’s intrinsic for every human. But for survivors of narcissistic abuse, it can become debilitating and overwhelming. Sometimes it’s simply the fear of the unknown. Sometimes we’re afraid that we’ll embarrass ourselves or that we disappoint someone we love.

And sometimes, anxiety can be a good thing. NO, REALLY! Sure, it’s uncomfortable, but it can also be a good way to motivate you to create positive change in your life, if you allow it to do that.

What about panic attacks?

How do you know you’re dealing with anxiety attacks and panic attacks? Well, first you have to remember that just having occasional feelings of anxiety is pretty normal. But when we’re talking about the kind of anxiety attacks that overwhelm and cripple us, our physical health can be affected, and that’s why it’s so important to take notice and do something to stop the attack.

When anxiety spirals out of control, our bodies release stress hormones. Other severe physical symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, migraines and more. If you suspect you’re suffering from this, you may need more help than the internet has to offer. I suggest visiting your primary care physician and getting checked out to ensure that nothing else is wrong before you proceed to work on dealing with the anxiety.

But there are things we can do to deal with some of our trauma-related anxiety, and that’s what we’re going to do starting tomorrow. But first, you should know if this challenge is for you. It is, if:

  • You are worried and anxious frequently and it’s starting to have an impact on your quality of life and your health, without yet being a serious medical problem.
  • If your anxiety if impacting your sleep, your ability to relax, to enjoy life with your loved ones.
  • If you are otherwise healthy, for the most part. Ask your doctor if you’re not sure. While I am not a medical professional, I highly recommend that everyone get at least yearly checkups with their primary care doctor. This is your right and your responsibility and it’s one more way you can easily engage in self-care.

As the month goes on, I hope I can give you some tips and ideas to help you reduce it. Give this challenge a try, but if at any time you feel yourself spiraling out of control and towards severe anxiety attacks, don’t hesitate to get help from a medical professional.

Bliss Missions Coming Up: 30-Day Challenge for Dealing With Anxiety After Narcissistic Abuse

Psst! You can keep up with these challenge posts (and all of our posts) by subscribing to our free daily email newsletter. 

As a fellow survivor of narcissistic abuse myself, I will teach you how to relax, how to put your thoughts into perspective, how to calm your nervous system down, and how to change your attitude from constant worry and fear to looking forward to what the future brings.

For today, prepare for this month of personal change by reflecting on how often you’re feeling anxious on a given day, in a given week, or even a month.

Between the spectrum of feeling a little anxious every now and then, and debilitate chronic anxiety, where do you think you’re at? Grab a journal or a text app and start writing down your thoughts.

Figure that out and then decide if this challenge could be helpful, or if you need more help.

If you’re on the fence, give it a chance and see how it goes. You may not feel like you need to change at all, but I promise you that in this day and age we can all benefit from a little less stress & anxiety and more relaxation, am I right?


  • ProjectBlissful

    Regardless of your age, sex, race, weight, nationality or financial situation, you can begin to affect change throughout your whole life by taking some very simple steps. A hint? It all starts in your head–and your heart. Project Blissful is a movement toward whole-life healing, growth and improvement. It’s more than a movement–it’s a real whole-life project that anyone can join and participate in at anytime.

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