Such a simple and common question and yet so widely debated, “Is anxiety normal?”
In a word, yes. Anxiety is a normal emotion that we all experience to some extent.
Anxiety itself is not a disorder, the ‘disorder’ manifests when anxiety becomes so intense or frequent that it interferes with your ability to cope with everyday tasks.
So how does anxiety become a disorder?
At some point along the way you became sensitised, perhaps by a traumatic event or a period of sustained stress or grief, and this caused you to become hyper-vigilant.
As a result your body is constantly releasing stress hormones (adrenaline, cortisol, etc) and these cause numerous symptoms and sensations in the body and a corresponding cycle of worry or panic, which then feeds back into the stress response.
In a way you end up developing phobophobia, or fear of fear. You become so afraid of anxiety, because it’s so uncomfortable, that you’re constantly on edge awaiting the next ‘attack.’ Unfortunately what this actually does is confirm to your amygdala that there is indeed something wrong so it continues to release stress hormones, keeping you locked in the fight-or-flight response.
The good news is, since your mind created this pattern, it is possible for you to break it.