I’ve talked before about my depression, health conditions and I’ve mentioned my anxiety before but I haven’t dedicated a blog post to what is a big part of my life and that is, you guessed it, anxiety! *Insert clapping*
Anxiety is a tricky thing as it’s different for everyone who gets it and the symptoms that people experience with anxiety will also be different. Sure, anxiety sufferers might experience SIMILAR symptoms but they will never be EXACTLY the same. There are two main types of anxiety that I’m aware of and they are generalised (you get anxious about everything and anything) and social (you get anxious about going outside, seeing people, talking to people ect) anxiety. I have both generalised and social anxiety.
I can’t tell you which is worse as they are both incredibly bad and somedays one will be worse than the other and then other days they’re both at the same level of anxiousness. My anxiety has definitely gotten worse over the years and now I have a hard time leaving the house just to take the rubbish down. When I’m sleeping I have anxious dreams because of my PTSD and when I’m awake I’m sometimes shaking with anxiety doing absolutely nothing, so basically I am just one big ball of anxiety.
I’ll talk about my social anxiety first:
There’s a big difference between being nervous about going somewhere new and being anxious about going somewhere new. Being nervous is normal and a useful human emotion but being anxious takes it past the level of being useful and a good human emotion to being a draining and fearful experience where there is no need at all to be fearful and to act and feel like you’re being chased by a lion about to be eaten!
I’d like people to stop using the term ‘anxiety’ so loosely and about everything when in fact, they are just NERVOUS and or excited NOT anxious.
A lot of my social anxiety revolves around how I think I look because of my weight which makes going out anywhere incredibly hard. I have a hard time going out and eating because I feel like everyone will be looking at me and judging me for eating. I can’t stand crowded places with too many people and loud noises and I have a very hard time talking to people like shop assistants when I’m out. I have a constant monologue of unhelpful thoughts running through my head the whole time I’m out and some of them are: “That person is looking at you because you’re fat” and “People are looking at you because you’re fat and eating” and “People are looking at your acne and that’s all they’re seeing.” As you can see, those thoughts aren’t nice or helpful and yet no matter how hard I try I can never stop them while I’m out. I’m always fidgeting and looking like I’m going to hurl and I know these thought aren’t rational but in a society where it’s openly known that you’re judged on the way you look, it’s hard not to have those thoughts and it’s even harder when you have no self confidence at all.
My social anxiety really inhibits me from doing a lot of things like going out with my Mum and spending time with her or going out and trying to find some friends. Social anxiety is not fun at all and I hate it, I hate everything about it because we know that it’s not rational to be so scared of seeing and talking to people that you want to cry, throw up and run away (all at the same time I might add) and yet you can’t stop feeling like that. Pushing past all those anxious feelings is really freaking exhausting which is why after I come home after going out anywhere I have to have a nap 😂 Not only is pushing past those anxious feelings to actually go somewhere exhausting but consciously challenging all those anxious and unhelpful thoughts is exhausting as well, it almost feels like a full time job…
And as I right this blog post about anxiety I am starting to get anxiety… how effed up is that?! 🙄
Now I will talk about my generalised anxiety:
Having generalised anxiety means that I am anxious nearly all the time and usually about nothing. I could be sitting on the couch watching TV and feel like I can’t breathe and my heart is racing and yet there’s no reason for me to feel anxious at all. Even when I’m sleeping my dreams are anxiety inducing and so I wake up with anxiety. I always feel like I am in that fight or flight state and that I can never properly relax, I am always on edge and always ready to go go go (even though I have no energy).
Continuously feeling anxious for no reason is hard work. I can sit somewhere quietly and do my breathing exercises or distract myself but I still can’t seem to quit being anxious. Being anxious has become part of who I am now and I hate it. I don’t like feeling anxious all the time about nothing and never being able to relax, I want to be able to sit down and give my body a rest.
I get anxious about making plans for the day, taking the rubbish out, Mum going anywhere and sometimes I get anxious just looking outside my window…
Nearly everything causes me to have anxiety and therefore continuously makes my body react like there’s danger and release that adrenaline and cortisol that your body produces when it’s in danger and yet, there is no danger for me at all. My body and mind are always on high alert and can never get a proper rest unless I take my anti-anxiety medication. I’m not against medication at all but I don’t want to take my anti-anxiety medication everyday just so I can get through the day without having all the feelings of anxiety and the starting symptoms of a panic attack, I want to be able to get and work through my anxiety myself but everything I try just doesn’t work. I have worked with many counsellors and psychologists to try and help me with my anxiety and apart from them all giving me the same techniques to use, they just don’t work.
My anxiety also makes all my other health conditions worse. When my anxiety is worse it makes my depression worse which then makes my health conditions worse which then makes my anxiety worse and it’s a cycle that I can’t get out of.
Here’s a little chart I made:
Living with anxiety is a daily struggle that I have been dealing with for nearly 5 years now and you’d think that I’d get use to it by now but I haven’t, I’m still surprised over the level of my anxiety sometimes and how I can have anxiety for no apparent reason. I will continue to fight it and maybe one day I won’t have it anymore but for now, It’s making my life 1000000x harder and its just another thing that I have to deal with.
Keep safe everyone and know that you are not alone with your anxiety.
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(Featured image: https://www.jmrocketreporter.org/arts-entertainment-2/staff-columns/2017/05/18/stress/)