Anxiety can be mild to intense feelings of worry or distress. We can feel a lack of control over these feelings making it hard to go about our life. The worry can be related to a real or perceived threat, event or situation.

Most people will experience anxiety at some point in their lives: it is part of our natural response to things that can harm us. However, when it becomes more than a passing feeling it can become a problem, and might stop us from functioning to our fullest.

How does anxiety feel?

“It feels like a constant heaviness in your mind; like something isn’t quite right, although oftentimes you don’t know exactly what that something is.It feels like acid in your stomach, burning and eating away at the emptiness and taking away any feelings of hunger. It’s like a tight knot that you can’t untwist.”
- Alivia Hall

"I have anxiety. And I’m treating my anxiety. I’m on medication for my anxiety. Why am I saying this? Because it’s a completely normal thing. It’s a biological problem. In my family there have been cases of depression. More and more people should talk openly about it. There is nothing shameful about it or something to hide. If you had a constant stomach pain, wouldn’t you go to the doctor? It’s that simple. I want to make this my mission, to take any shame out of this, to educate people about this."
Anushka Sharma

Anxiety isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ - it comes in many forms, some of the most common are:

1.General Anxiety Disorder

This is when we feel anxious or worried most of the time for more than six months. It can be about one thing or many, but makes it hard to get on with your life. It can be so overwhelming that you cannot get out of bed, or leave the house.

2. Social anxiety

This can occur when we are worried or fearful about situations with other people. It’s more than being shy or nervous, it’s something that can affect how we cope in everyday situations. These can include meeting people, feeling like we are being observed in work or our personal lives, or how we present ourselves on the phone or social media.

3. Trauma anxiety

This is directly linked to an experience of trauma and can result in you having problems like sleeplessness, night terrors, irritability, poor concentration, mood swings and feeling on edge.

4. Separation anxiety

This is a ongoing fear about being separated from people you care about. It's a type of anxiety disorder that can begin either in childhood or adulthood.


Anxiety affects everybody differently. Anxiety can cause a change in our behaviour and the way we think and feel about things.

You might be feeling:

Anxiety affects our body too:

We may think,

You do not have to tackle this all by yourself, if you wish for help. Feel free to give yourself permission to ask for support! If you would like to know more about how to get help, continue with the second part of the guide.

Getting better and seeking help

Disclaimer: This guide has not been put together by mental health professionals. It is not intended to be medical advice. It has been crowdsourced by survivors and volunteers of Chayn. Care has been taken in reflecting the experiences and knowledge of people around the world, including therapists but information in this guide should be taken instead of certified medical advice. Please seek professional support.

Getting better & moving on: A guide for mental healing after abuse and trauma by CHAYN is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.