A video popped up on my TikTok today, an older one of Lady Gaga performing for her fans. In the video, she had to stop a couple times to throw up while her dancers tried to distract people and cover her.
She immediately carried on performing as if nothing had happened and I went straight to the comments (as you do) to see what other people had to say.
Some said she’s amazing for being so professional and continuing despite clearly not feeling well.
Someone else commented that she should have been able to stop her show, as our health should be our top priority and I very much agreed with this, as did many others based on the number of likes it received.
But then there were those comments that reminded me of myself, and our community, because I just know if you are reading this you are probably going to relate too.
Here were a few:
“I can’t wrap my head around this. When I puke, I am down for the count, shaking, sweating, the whole bit.”
“Meanwhile, I’m 33 years old and I still cry every time I throw up.”
“I’m 37 and if I throw up I’ll be crying, hyperventilating, shaking and grabbing my favorite blanket.”
Yeah… see what I mean, I bet you relate too!
Nausea and throwing up are big triggers for me.
The minute I start to feel nauseous, for any reason, I start to feel my anxiety levels quickly climb along with a feeling of impending doom.
Nausea genuinely causes this feeling in my gut like I am in serious danger and going to die. If nausea is a trigger for you too, or if you suffer with emetophobia then I know you understand.
It’s the same thing when I have a fever. I feel that same horrible sense of impending doom.
When you live with GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), you may feel this sick sense of anticipation in your gut all the time.
It may not be as intense as when you are seriously nauseous or sick with a fever, but it’s there all right, and it may feel like it could cause you to tip over into panic at any moment.
It’s kind of like when you first feel signs of nausea churning in your gut; that feeling of anticipation as you aren’t sure if this is going to tip over into full blown stomach flu or food poisoning so you can’t relax.
This is a side of anxiety that many people are not aware of, or perhaps they are, but aren’t aware of the extent of it.
I have spoken often about the very physical side of GAD, but what about the fears that come with them? That pit in your stomach as fear churns.
One of the most common feelings that comes with GAD (not to mention during panic, but I will get to that in a minute) is a constant, lingering feeling of anticipation, but you aren’t sure what exactly you are anticipating…
This is how some people have described the feeling on my Instagram and TikTok pages:
In fact, you’re so on alert that your brain starts to pick up on scary things around you (often stories of illness or sudden death) and you tell yourself that it has to be a sign and you try to link it to this feeling in your gut.
This is called frequency illusion.
It’s your brain looking to gather more information because it thinks that’s what you want. Your brain thinks it’s helping you.
If there is something very specific you are worrying about, perhaps you were unfortunate enough to come across a video of illness or sudden death, you may start to see these specific symptoms everywhere, but again, this is frequency illusion.
The problem is that we tend to think of it as a bad omen and so our fear, and this awful feeling in our gut, only intensifies as we believe these scary thoughts.
Why do you experience the feeling of impending doom?
When you are running on fear, your brain desperately tries to find something to grasp onto that can be considered as some way to have control over the situation, as fear can leave you feeling completely untethered and chaotic.
So your brain does what it does best.
It keeps you safe, or at least thinks it does.
When you have GAD, your brain is confused, not realizing the difference between true danger and perceived danger.
To keep you safe, it keeps you on alert, but the thing is, you are safe.
If you immediately feed into this feeling of needing to be on alert, by allowing fear to build, desperately Googling or hitching a ride on one of those terrifying thoughts, your brain simply sees this as confirmation of danger, as it is responding directly to how you are feeling.
And let’s be honest, you’re feeling major fear.
This is why understanding GAD and having awareness of how it manifests is so important. Your brain is looking to you for confirmation that you are safe.
If you are panicking, it’s going to believe you and start behaving accordingly, activating fight or flight. In fact, you may currently be living permanently on the verge of fight or flight, which is why you’re feeling so awful all the time.
I talk more about ways to let your brain know you are safe in this podcast episode.
GAD vs panic attacks
GAD can cause this uncomfortable feeling in your stomach to linger constantly, but panic disorder can intensify it to the max and you may feel like you are about to die as the feeling of impending doom overwhelms you during a panic attack.
I have felt this so many times during panic and I’d start to shake and feel nauseous, and this would only feed this feeling, as I genuinely thought I was about to die.
It was always especially severe during nocturnal panic, where I would wake up right into a panic attack and shake so uncontrollably that no one could convince me I didn’t have a fever.
This feeling, this sense of being in imminent danger, is hard to explain to someone who has not experienced it for themselves. Words don’t capture the intensity of the fear, you’d have to experience it to understand.
I am so sorry if you have been through this, whether it’s been once or too many times to count.
Why do I feel anxious when I am actually having a good day or am not experiencing physical symptoms for once?
God forbid you have a day where you aren’t feeling anxious.
Suddenly this feeling of anticipation may grow, as GAD makes you feel like you always need to be worrying about something.
So when you aren’t worrying, your brain actually sees this as danger.
This is because worrying has become your comfort zone, but you really are safe.
Usually when we think about stepping out of our comfort zone, we think of doing something really scary, but with anxiety, it’s the opposite; allowing ourselves to relax is a major step out of our comfort zone.
If it brings any comfort at all, let me tell you that this is one of the most common questions I get asked, as people can’t understand why a good day is still overshadowed by anxiety.
Fear vs logic
I have said it once and I will say it a million more times if I must; fear is not logical.
The minute we allow fear to rise up, to take over, we start acting from this place of fear versus a place of logic.
Fear based actions look like obsessive Googling, constantly needing reassurance, believing the terrifying thoughts our brain conjures up and seeing everything as a sign .
Logical thinking allows us to recognize that this is indeed anxiety and that we are separate from it.
This is why it’s so important to have awareness.
Awareness and understanding of GAD allows us to give ourselves space between the fear that rushes up and what we do next.
It allows us to take a moment to breathe and check in with ourselves, to tune in and trust that we are safe.
It takes time and practice and patience.
It also takes lots of love and gentleness with yourself, as you are doing your best and need to acknowledge this and give yourself some more credit.
One day at a time is my motto.
Even just one moment at a time.
We get through this moment and then we worry about the next one when it comes, but right now we are here, in the present and the only moment that actually exists.
As Eckhart Tolle calls it, The Now.
I hope this helps if you have currently been latched onto this feeling in your stomach, not sure if you should trust it or if it’s anxiety.
How can I tell if the feeling of impending doom really is just anxiety?
One thing I can say is that anxious thoughts are loud.
Your natural intuition is often clouded by those loud, scary thoughts, so when you feel symptoms/fears come up and take over, and feel yourself starting to spiral, the best thing you can do is to sit quietly with yourself and put all of your attention on your breathing.
Starting to find ways to connect to your body will allow you to better understand your body so you’ll naturally know when a symptom or feeling is related to anxiety.
The more you think, the worse you feel, and the worse you feel, the more you think. It’s an endless cycle.
I have lived with GAD for most of my life and can tell you that while this feeling is incredibly unsettling, it’s so normal with generalized anxiety.
I hope this helped you understand why you may been feeling this feeling of impending doom. Leave a comment if you have any other questions, otherwise, thank you for stopping by, and don’t forget to check in weekly for new posts!
Download my free PDF of over 100 GAD symptoms here.
I also have a podcast episode listing them all out for you if you’d prefer to listen.
If you’re looking for a daily anxiety resource, where you will find everything in one place then check out my Anxiety A to Z Encyclopedia ebook you can start reading right away! Get a coupon by filling in the form below.
Disclaimer: We have different bodies and present a unique set of anxiety symptoms that may occur in varying intensities and duration. You do not have to have all of the symptoms discussed on this website to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. You should also not use the symptoms discussed to self-diagnose. Please consult with your doctor who can differentiate between the symptoms being solely anxiety-related and other medical conditions.