We may have a fear of anxiety, a fear of being anxious and that may bring about fear and anxiety. With Autism you get to deal with both.
Fear is an emotional response to a definite or known threat. When we are faced with fear, most of us will experience the physical reactions similar to anxiety. Fear causes anxiety and anxiety can cause fear.
Symptoms can overlap, but our experiences with both emotions will always differ depending on their context. They are not interchangeable. Where fear relates to a known threat, anxiety follows a poorly defined threat. They can both produce similar responses,
Fear is associated with an increased heart rate and shortness of breath, followed by a fight or flight stress response, anxiety is a response to an unknown threat which comes from our mind’s interpretation of the possible dangers that may immediately arise, or we’re uncomfortable with.
Although anxiety starts with an unpleasant, vague sense of apprehension, fear and anxiety create a sense of foreboding, but it is our response to both that creates the fear we feel.
In either response it is important we stand back, rather than act on the symptoms of either response. It is fear over anxiety that is more harmful.