So I’ve mentioned in the About Me section that I suffer from Anxiety. I thought I’d share some information about Anxiety and how it can affect you.
I felt this was needed as a lot of mental illnesses are still misunderstood and if you haven’t suffered from it before it can be hard to understand.
Also, it took me many years to realise that I suffered from Anxiety and wish I’d known the warning signs before.
So here are a few things to have a read of if you’re interested, you’ll be surprised how common the symptoms are! I want to show everyone that mental health is not what it seems. This is for those who suffer from it, and for those that don’t.
So what is anxiety?
Anxiety is caused by adrenaline which is released when under stress. It can cause both physical and psychological symptoms.
Physical symptoms include:
– Increased heart rate
– Change in breathing
– Change in heart beat
– ‘Butterflies’ in the stomach
Psychological symptoms include:
– Difficulty sleeping
– Not being able to concentrate
– Feeling of being on edge/nervous
– The feeling of not being able to relax/restlessness
Anxiety affects everyone differently however all of the above symptoms I would feel. I have it under control with medication now however I would experience the majority of these feelings on a regular basis.
I thought it was what everyone felt and that I was just a nervous kind of person. Oh how wrong I was!
The above feelings can accumulate and spawn as a panic attack. These are frightening experiences and usually cannot be explained at the time.
It was only after speaking to other people, as well as not being able to go to work one day that I realised it was more than that.
What is a panic attack?
The NHS describes a panic attack as “a rush of intense psychological and physical symptoms. These symptoms of panic can be frightening and happen suddenly, often for no clear reason”. The experience can last between 5 minutes up to an hour.
It is not a pleasant experience and can feel like you are dying but you can’t harm yourself by having panic attacks. Try to remember this when having a panic attack!
Slowing your breathing can really help if you find yourself in this situation. If it isn’t you having the panic attack, try and get the other person to mimic your breathing and to take long deep breaths.
I can say however that the feeling of anxiety is healthy and can be good in certain situations. It can make you more alert and improve concentration levels. But it is when these feelings are occurring the majority of the time that isn’t healthy.
It can also be a sign of someone staying strong for a long period of time which has to end eventually. I don’t know about you but my personality means I am stubborn and hate asking for help; I feel this has probably led me to suffer from anxiety now but oh well!
It also means I am a bit of a perfectionist – I ensure everything I do is completed to 100% for the fear that someone discovers something wrong with it later on. Sometimes I also find change difficult so having a good schedule really helps me.
If you have noticed you suffer from some if not all of the symptoms above, it may be worth speaking to friends and family, and your doctor.
I am in no way a doctor and cannot advise on this area but taking the plunge and speaking to my doctor was the best thing I ever did.
We worked out a plan and discussed diet and exercise to ease anxiety (exercise is wonderful for stress relief) which was really helpful.
Here are a few links to resources that may be of benefit to you:
Moodjuice self-help guide – I’ve only just found this today but I love the part which explains events which cause anxiety. I can certainly see myself in all of the areas covered and you might find this useful.
Breathing exercise apps for your mobile – There are many apps you can now download which have breathing exercises for sufferers of anxiety and can be useful in the time you feel a panic attack coming on. Anxiety Coach also has breathing exercises here which are also particularly useful.
Learning relaxation techniques can be useful for panic attacks and anxiety in general. The NHS has a page here devoted to relaxation techniques. Here is another page about relaxation techniques in a bit more detail.
An article written by me on how being organised beats anxiety.
All I’d say on anxiety, whether you suffer yourself or know someone who does, is research.
The more you know about the condition the better. We shouldn’t be shying away from this as it affects so many of us. I want us to come together and challenge anyone who contributes towards the stigma. It’s just not ‘all in our heads’.
How do you deal with your anxiety? What steps have you taken to cope?