Anxiety…This is the word that suddenly gets everyone’s attention, but not always for the right reasons. When you start up a conversation with someone about anxiety, it can go a few different ways. They may think you’re trying to attention seek or may judge you for the topic you’re talking about. I must admit, I used to have a stigmatized view of this disorder and would think to myself, ‘Well why would someone have a panic attack when they’re just sitting in a coffee shop, what have they got to panic about?’ That was until the day I started to see and feel my mind & body in a whole different way.
The pounding heart, body temperature rising, the terrifying thoughts, the dizziness as if you’re just going to collapse at any moment and the ‘elephant sitting on the chest.’ These are just some of the long list of symptoms that I feel on a daily basis as quite often people don’t realise that anxiety is also a very physical condition. Anxiety is a vicious cycle, you start to have the scary, overwhelming thoughts, so your physical symptoms start, so you then start to panic about the physical symptoms, which increases the mental effects. For people who suffer from this, it’s a very exhausting and draining battle.
I was always quite an anxious child growing up, but it always seemed manageable; it was never really ‘out of control.’ This was until a life event in the late months of 2015. I think this started my main battle with anxiety and although the event didn’t leave me badly affected physically, it was the mental side of it that was the main consequence. I was always having flashbacks, I’d be bombarded with horrible thoughts, especially when I was near roads, in the car, walking on pavements or when I knew family members and friends would be out in their car. This continued for a while until two more traumatic experiences happened and everything came to a head. Professionals think this was the result of never properly dealing with the first experience.
I never imagined myself to be in the situation of not being able to leave my house alone and even with others. I was constantly on edge and anxious about what might happen. People may think it’s silly to not leave the house for whatever reason, but when your mind is always imagining the worst and replaying past experiences all the time, it becomes very easy to let your mind control you. I slowly started to build up going out a little more each time, despite the fact that for a good few weeks in early 2017, I would cry as soon as I woke up and throughout the day, everyday for a short while. Some days I felt like I was going crazy, and I just wanted the world to stop for a bit while I caught back up.
Fast forward to early 2018 and my anxiety is still to a large extent controlling my everyday life. I’m not fully up to working yet mentally, however I am working on this. I continue to learn new techniques in order to help me deal with my anxious thoughts & also learn more about the triggers. I still find certain places hard to go to, either in transport or by foot, particular streets trigger me or cause me alarm, and incidents in the news can also be triggers for me. Every day is a struggle, and it’s like having a devil and an angel on your shoulders. The devil is constantly telling you the bad things that could happen, whilst the angel is trying to shut down the devil’s thoughts by thinking of more positive ideas to try and replace the bad thoughts. Everyone has anxiety within them, it’s needed to protect us at times in life, hence the fight or flight, but when it affects you 24/7, that’s when it becomes an issue. Some days are still very difficult and quite often, I’m left very tired but I’m making progress all the time. I hope this article helps at least one person to realise that no matter how their anxiety affects them, they are never alone in the fight against our own minds.
Author: Amy Marsh
Author Bio: I hope that by sharing my experiences of my mental illness in my writing, it helps other people.
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