I have suffered anxiety for as long as I can remember. I think I probably picked it up as a learned way of being from my mother, whose baseline existence often appears to just be a ball of nerves. I didn't identify it until I was in my early 20s. Knowing is half the battle.. being able to identify the phenomenon as simply a bodily experience, like a headache or the hiccups, really helps take the fear and power out of it. It's literally the physical response to a threat, so it's easy to get caught up and think something is very wrong when going through it.
It manifests in various ways...I tense up in my solar plexus, my ears ring, my head spins, my heart races and my hands get clammy. I am a habitual picker, I feel through my hair and skin for irregularities and try to get rid of them. I get irritable and impatient. Sometimes if I'm not mindful about what's happening I'll mentally latch on to the worries tumbling through my head and point my finger at each of them as a reason for what I'm feeling, whether it's accurate or not.
Being productive helps. So does yoga, mindfulness and talking it out with good friends. A drink usually helps too, however hangovers make it worse. So does PMS. I keep a stash of (prescribed) Xanax on hand for the rare occasion that all my go-tos don't have it covered. I find that I need them far less since I left my marriage, but I still like to have it available, just in case. I liken it to alleviating a medical issue with lifestyle choices. Like.. if you get migraines sometimes but more often when you eat chocolate, you stop eating chocolate. But not eating chocolate doesn't mean you NEVER get migraines, so you keep your medication on hand for when a you get one, chocolate or not.
I don't get migraines, so I can't really confidently make that analogy, but.. it'll have to do.