First of all, it’s important to understand a number of things about anxiety:
- Everyone experiences some kind of anxiety sometimes.
- Anxiety manifests itself differently in everyone, so no two people will experience anxiety in exactly the same way.
- Anxiety is an important human emotion that helps us get things done in many instances, and has been necessary for human survival.
- There is a difference between the anxiety everyone may feel on a daily basis, and anxiety that is pathological and prevents us from functioning optimally.
- Anxiety is experienced on a wide spectrum that ranges from not anxiety to completely paralyzed or psychotic.
So, in effect, your question can be answered in endless variations and scenarios, due to the many ways people experience anxiety, and the many ways people approach situations differently.
Let me see if I can simplify it so that I can give some kind of direct answer.
A relatively high functioning person approaches a situation, and is able to adequately assess the numerous variables, so that they can respond appropriately.
A pathologically anxious person’s anxiety will prevent them from being able to adequately assess a situation, and this cannot respond appropriately.
- They might be too much in their head, thinking about all the things that might go wrong or right, to such a degree that they don’t actually know what is realistically happening in the here and now.
- They might be worried about various consequences.
- They might be focused on their own feelings of inadequacy.
- They might be paralyzed with fear without knowing why.
- They might feel like they are dying and having a heart attack.
- They might be fighting a powerful desire to flee.
- They might be experiencing dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain.
- They may be too afraid to leave their home,
These are only some of the possibilities. They ways that it might manifest are endless.
One person walks to the train, gets on the train, gets off, and goes to work. Another can’t get out of bed.
One person plays sports. Another must wash their hands every few minutes.
In short, one person may have relatively few obstacles, and another must climb the equivalent of Mount Everest.