What Sets Off Your Anxiety The Most?

Is there one specific type of event or situation that really sets your anxiety level through the roof compared to others, or do most things just make you anxious with nothing specific?
When I go into a situation where I don't have a clear path of exiting, I get really anxious and nervous. So if I'm in a very crowded room and I don't clearly see the exit, I freak out. If I'm sitting in a crowd and I'm not sitting at the end of the row, I freak out. If I'm sitting in a classroom and I can't easily slip out of the room without disturbing a bunch of people, I panic. I also get really anxious if I'm staying overnight somewhere that's not mine, so if I'm like spending the night with a guy or something I would much rather him stay at my place, so if I need to get up and go to the bathroom or something like that it's not a big deal.
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  • I get anxious when I feel threatened. If I take a ride on the bus, and a really loud person who keeps cursing gets on, I get anxious because I feel like they will try to do something to hurt me. I do get anxious around policemen since they have guns, and I get anxious in large crowds because a fight could easily break out. This normally causes me to look around a lot, and I'll fidget a little bit, but nothing major. 
  • I don't know about through the roof. I know that sometime back my anxiety was at a peak that was related to some problems with my business. I had to do something about it and decided to make some executive decisions that made everything better. 

    My mom however, is always anxious because she's OCD about a lot of stuff. The other day she was talking about how much her ankle was hurting, she sprained of over a year ago and she said she was starting to get scared. I told her she shouldn't get scared about the pain from a sprained ankle because she knows why it was hurting and wasn't anything terminal. I have to step in a calm those things down every time they happen.

  • Social situations have set my anxiety off in the past.  It still does occasionally, but I can control it now.  For awhile it ruled my life.  I couldn't handle going to stores or being outside to get the mail.  All I could think of was people criticizing and judging me.  Moreover, when engaged in conversation I felt incompetent in my speech and being able to express my ideas.  I would end up stumbling over my words and repeating the same phrases.  Often other people could pick up on my sense of discomfort.  That usually made the situation worse because they would either become extremely uncomfortable or they would talk down to me. 
  • Definitely leaving my house and immediately going into a large group of people, or even a small group of strangers makes me incredibly nervous. I hate spending time with people face to face and it makes me incredibly nervous. And I don't mean this in a shallow way, but people's appearances sometimes make me very nervous. If someone is thin and beautiful I'll be very shy around them, even if they're nice to me because I feel horrible. Sometimes when meeting strangers I'll panic about tiny things wrong with how I look, like how I forgot to wear my hat or how the shirt I'm wearing doesn't match by a couple shades.
    Dogs are a close second for anxiety triggers, though. I'm terrified of them.
  • Being around lots of strangers (like when I'm riding the bus), or if I'm alone at home and it's dead silent. Even trying to fall asleep sometimes makes me anxious, not because of sleeping problems but rather just a fear of the dark. But I'm 21 and I'm not afraid to admit that.
  • I get really anxious over workplace situations, where I feel like I am out of the loop and people are having meetings behind my back or not telling me stuff, or throwing me under the bus for their own advancement. When people whom I feel I trust turn out to not be trustworthy at all, and I find out they were backstabbing me the whole time, that really throws me for a loop because I feel helpless, and pegged as being naive.

    I lost a job that I really loved, when the company was acquired by another company, and it was a several month ordeal with lots of secret meetings and stuff being decided behind my back. Two people in particular basically stole my job from me with the new company that was buying our existing company, and several years later I still haven't gotten over that.

    It just felt like all the hard work I had done there got flushed down the drain and they stole my title from me and took credit for years of work I had done.
  • The first thing that sets off my anxiety is either an email or an unscheduled call from my parents. Its fine if they just want to catch up or something along that line but the conversation usually makes a wild turn then the next thing I know is them taking their frustrations out on me simply because they can't say it to my older siblings directly. Then I'd be all irritated after the call and makes me want to smoke more. And I can't even smoke to relieve my stress because my girlfriend doesn't even know I smoke. 

    Another thing that often sets me off is the people at work. They can be quite unreasonable specially our accountant who refuses to use a better accounting software or even Excel to document frequent expenses. He says that he doesn't believe in technology BUT he wants everything done his way alone. Unfortunately our bosses doesn't stay in the country that long to see what is exactly happening and they believe the accountant's words more than ours. And now the inevitable happened, our bosses demanded a complete backtrack of records and expenses from June 2014. 
  • Being in a situation where I don't know where I stand makes me most anxious. I need to have a feeling of control, of knowing what people think about me, in a way -- or of being able to estimate myself if I'm better, or good enough, for these people. Most of the time, my inner dialogue is arrogant, the other half of the time, it sounds like I would be the last crap on Earth. It's weird, and definitely not helping me feel good in either situation.
  • It is bit difficult to describe to be honest...I feel my "hot button" would be seeing people doing better than I do academically, professionally, aesthetically or even creatively.  It is not jealousy, mind you. I don't want to have what they have or resent them for their achievements. I just feel like a failure when I see others' achievements, like I somehow lack or will lack something. I
  • What sets off my anxiety the most when I am unable to get things done.  I have a specific schedule depending on the day of the week.  Sticking to that schedule is when helps me get through the day.  But when it's offset by an unexpected event I freak out.  I do whatever I can to get back on schedule but when I'm unable to get back on track, I spend the rest of my day in complete panic mode and end up running around like a chicken with it's end cut off.
  • Usually worrying about the future, where am I going to get money to pay bills, will I still have a job. It usually happens when I am about to go to sleep and it stops me from sleeping.

    It helps if I listen to relaxing music while I am trying to sleep, it distracts me from these thoughts.
  • @lovepotionnumber9 I would say it's fairly common to have worries about the future. I have not yet had a job or had to pay bills or anything, but I'm always worrying about that first job, if I will succeed or fail. In my case I tend to either expect the worst and believe the negative, or hang on to the past events in my life. I never decided to live "in the now" because my mind is always racing with other thoughts.
  • When I have to hold a speech or talk in front of a crowd. I've always had this issue and it's a pretty big drawback. But I just hate doing it! I'm a very introverted person and I'm not a very big fan of crowds.
  • @nergaahl Ouch, well you aren't the only introverted person here. Speeches just really get me. I could never stand in front of a crowd much less my own family to recite something like a speech. I'm too shy sensitive and socially awkward to handle those kinds of things. One time I had to give a presentation for a class in high school, and I was on the verge of tears. I felt so embarassed, but not like anyone was laughing at me or anything, not like I kinda expected >.< I just hate that feeling of nervousness and then forgetting everything once the time actually comes. But hey, it happens to the best of us right?
  • @zalaria Yup, right. The only people I could give a speech in front of are my friends. They are just very understanding and I can feel comfortable with them. And even though they sometimes make jokes about my coldness, they are still the best people I've ever met!
  • Being around people I'm unfamiliar with really triggers my anxiety. I was diagnosed with social anxiety at around the age of 14, and I've been batting it since. I could take medications for it, but I refuse as I now dislike taking medications for anything.
    Because of this, every day when I leave my house I'm usually anxious. Though, when I'm around total strangers it isn't as bad. I think this is because these people don't know me, and probably will never see me again, nor will I remember them, so I'm not affected. 
    But it get's really bad when I'm near people whom I'm unfamiliar with, but still know enough to know their names. These are the people who know my name as well and can slander it.
  • Not having my space. I need my time if I don't get it I become very uncomfortable. I can feel the stress building then comes being anxious. I have to take a vistrel sometimes. Which I don't like doing I have several bottles that are prescribed to me. I don't take them like I should. I just take very sparely from time to time.
  • I also had an incident with a homeless guy one time, when I was walking around downtown taking pictures with a new DSLR I had just bought. Prior to that, I used to love walking around all over the place down there photographing everything. I would even go for rides out into the country and just pull over and shoot something if it caught my interest.

    He had started hitting he up for money, as they usually do, and in fact it was a guy in particular that I had given money to in the past. I didn't have any cash on me that day and he got really pissed off and started grabbing broken pieces of curb and throwing them at me. I was trying to shield my equipment the whole time, because I was walking around with a couple grand worth of cameras and lenses.

    After that incident, I became really paranoid about walking around cities or anywhere for that matter and taking pictures. I always feel like everyone is staring at me and watching me the whole time, and I am too scarred of someone approaching me again like that now.
  • Close spaces and two many people in one place make me very anxious.  I go to the grocery store when the doors or not at all.  I find it hard to be in the store with people bumping into me and blocking my path with their stuff, I have actually left the basket full of food in the store and gone home with the intention of going back early in the morning.  If the train has too many people on it I will wait for the next train too many people in a small space.
  • I have a few in mind.  The first thing is a sudden call or text message from work during my day-off.  Unsolicited calls from my boss gets the best of me, especially if it is a request for an overtime that I do not want to spend.  Next is the request for money from my mother.  Right now, I am a bit in a financial bind.  It will be cleared up next month, but I have to be careful with my expenses. 

    Third, bills.  Seeing my bills make me feel anxious, since I already mentioned the bills on the previous statement..
  • I hate being in places where a lot of people gather. Strangers frighten me and the idea of someone coming in a shooting a lot of people, whether that's in a lecture hall, a mall, or a theatre, really frightens me. As well, financial matters give me great stress. I am well-off but if my housemates are reckless with our utilities - leaving the lights on or forgetting to turn the oven off- it really bothers me. 
  • For me, it would be when I have to talk with people, specifically strangers or anyone I'm not too familiar with. It gets worse if I have to talk about something that I'm unsure of also. I know its a common fear but I find that it prevents me from doing what I want to do.
  • I hate large groups of people or parties. Everyone always seems to be chatting in groups and I can never find a way to join in. Even if I do, I just end up not knowing what to say to people. I'm usually fairly confident but there's just something about parties which fills me with dread. 
  • Something that's been driving my anxiety levels way up lately is phone calls. For example, today I had to call two of my students to get their information about getting them the notes, since that's my second job at the moment, and I was freaking out. I had a sigh of relief each time when I got their voice mails. But even if people call me and I don't answer, I panic.
  • I get
    anxious when I am to present something in public and face a large crowd. I have
    stage fright since I was young and I sort of overcome this already but the
    anxiety returns after how many weeks or months that I am not exposed again to
    public speaking. A constant exposure would get rid of my anxiety. I find ways
    to try and communicate even to a small crowd just to make myself immune from


  • Well, I suffer from OCD so many things trigger my anxiety sometimes.   Anything that has to do with bodily fluids freaks me out, I used to freak out also when I cut myself in the past, but not anymore.  Now anything legal related triggers my anxiety, like for example when I have to get something important done, like for example gather documents for an official form...
  • I get extremely anxious when I have a bill to pay and can't get it paid in a timely manner, it literally sends me into a full blown panic attack because I start to get unrealistic fears and everything else. I also start to shake when I get into some sort of trouble at work, or if I am in a large crowd. It gets kind of embarrassing and makes it hard for me to function.
  • I get anxious when I am reminded of certain events in my past and although I know I shouldn't dwell too much I can't help but be affected when they pop up in my mind. Also, I get highly anxious when I am forced to deal with people I don't like and thankfully these days it doesn't happen for me as often anymore but on the few occasions that it does happen for me it still affects me a lot too.
  • I think small spaces or no obvious way out is quite a common problem when it comes to anxiety. Heights is another fear that a lot if people have and they'll panic if they have to climb a ladder for example but that doesn't necessarily mean you have anxiety issues that need to be addressed.

    If it's affecting your everyday life then it might be something to look into, but for most people they can live a perfectly normal life by just avoiding the situations that get them anxious in the first place.
  • sometimes when going into meetings and gatherings especialy when I'm meeting attractive people for the first time I fear that something's wrong with my look or behavior...
  • I get anxious about not being able to work. Like if I miss a day of work or I don't meet some quotas, I feel anxious. I cannot think of or concentrate on other tasks and I have to go online to do some work first. This sometimes happens when I fall asleep suddenly since I work at night and take care of the house during the day. I have to work or else my whole day will be ruined and I can't do household work.
  • My terrible living situation. I might be fine, but if someone makes a comment about how we don't have money for this or that, or that we might not eat a dinner tomorrow, I get triggered. Along with overwhelming anxiety either come tears or anger...  I completely fly off the handle. 
    Last week has been especially difficult. I just want this nightmare to be over and live like every other 24 years old girl from my neighborhood. I want to enjoy being young, instead of being constantly crying or terrified!
  • My anxiety is usually set off when I feel like I am losing control of a situation. When I feel like I am sinking and I can't get up. I start feeling anxious and scared and I then the anxiety sets in. As long as I have control and I know it is in my hands I can face anything but once I lose that then I am quickly on a downward spiral.
  • My anxiety is worse when I have an SVT episode. It's when my heart just starts fluttering and goes up to 200 or more beats per minute. I have to call ambulance and get adenosine shot to get it to go back down  That scares me to death. I have been dealing with it over 10 years. Sometimes it will wake me up out of a sleep. They say it's caused by an extra pathway in the heart. I always think I'm going to die or have a heart attack or something. It gets hard to breathe and everything. So many things can set it off. I'm not sure if my anxiety sets it off or if that sets off my anxiety. 
  • i have to have an exit path too....this is why i will go to outings in my own car, separate from my partner (most of the time), so i can leave when i feel like it...not "stuck"..b/c if i feel stuck, anxiety rises.... i also get anxiety when i don't know what to expect....maybe i feel out of control when that happens..and that makes me anxious..

    always working on this.
  • I literally begin to feel physically sick when I hear someone call my name, so starting off from that I guess you can figure I'm not very adjusted socially. I'm sure it's a shared phenomenon to feel threatened in certain social situations, and I really emphasize with the need to 'escape'. I don't necessarily erupt into physical panic very often, but the feeling is lingering, like someone's holding up a magnet to my chest while my lungs are full of metal shavings (God, I hope that's not a bad analogy...)
  • Change is one of the triggers for my anxiety. I do not feel comfortable with change since it is not predictable.  I like having a set schedule and knowing what is coming up next. Not knowing, sets my anxiety level soaring and this sets off other problems for me. I take medication for depression and anxiety but sometimes it does not help that much. 

    Another trigger is social situations in which I do not know very many people. A prime example is when a girl that I worked with got married, I was going to the reception but I wanted to meet other people that I knew there because I do not like going into a building or room by myself. Well, no one would give me a specific time so I waited in the parking lot hoping to see someone I knew. I sat in the parking lot for two hours because my anxiety would not let me go in. Ridiculous, right? That is how I feel too.

    Sometimes, I just want to curl up in bed and stay there for the rest of my life so that I do not have to do another thing to cause my anxiety level to go up ever again.
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