In daily life, most of us will find ourselves in situations that cause anxiety.

Being anxious, that feeling of being unsettled, uneasy or scared, is a natural human response to stress, and is designed to protect us from a perceived danger – this is often known as the fight or flight response.

Usually, we can manage these feelings and they pass over time, but sometimes they can become overwhelming, affecting our ability to get on with our lives.

Anxiety can take many forms and, If you are worried about it, we can talk to you and help you to access support.  

Why do we get anxious?

There are lots of things in daily life that can cause anxiety.

This could be linked to something specific like:

  • studying for a big exam
  • preparing for a job interview
  • meeting someone new for the first time – either as a friend or on a date
  • big life changes like moving house
  • dealing with a traumatic incident such as car accident or being a victim of crime  

However, in many cases, you might not be able to identify what’s making you anxious.

Many of the services that are there to support people with mental health will be able to work with you to identify the factors that contribute to your anxiety and help you work through them.

How do I recognise anxiety?

People who are experiencing anxiety will often experience symptoms that affect them emotionally and physically.

Many of these symptoms are normal responses to stressful situations, but could indicate a mental health issue if they are experienced either over a prolonged period of time (weeks and months), or particularly intensely.

You may find that:

  • you worry all the time, sometimes with no good reason, or out of proportion
  • you notice physical symptoms like feeling sick, losing your appetite, struggling to sleep (or oversleeping), losing interest in sex, feeling your heart racing in your chest, changing toilet habits, pins and needles
  • you may feel your mind is racing with many thoughts – some of which may be unpleasant
  • you have panic attacks – intense and sudden feelings of fear or discomfort, often accompanied with shortness of breath, nausea and a feeling of ‘losing control’
  • you have a tendency to always see the negative things in any situation
  • you avoid everyday situations that’s you may find difficult

Anxiety takes many forms, and services that are there to support people with mental health will be able to work with you to identify the factors that contribute to your anxiety and help you work through them.

Anxiety and gay and bisexual men

As with other mental health conditions, gay and bisexual men are disproportionately affected by issues around anxiety.

Gay and bisexual men’s experiences of mental health are closely linked to the challenges we face as a community, from experience of homophobia and discrimination, to accepting our own identity and the pressure to conform to a heteronormative society, sometimes known as minority stress.

Our mental health is also shaped by other health inequalities facing gay and bisexual men, from higher rates of poor sexual health and drug and alcohol use, to pressures within our own community, such as body image and age.