Well hello to you my reader chums!
I've been very hesitant on writing a post like this for a while now. I've created and deleted one previously thinking it was a silly idea and that it would look like I'm attention seeking or being over dramatic. However I've come to the decision on writing this post as my blog is an area where I share my thoughts, favourite things, life events and anything I like as it's my little space on the Internet. Therefore, since I suffer with anxiety, it's an element of my life I want to write about. Writing is something I find very therapeutic and therefore sharing an issue I deal with constantly will take a small weight off my shoulders. I hope by talking about this, some of you can also relate and not feel alone in the matter.
What is anxiety?
By definition anxiety is 'a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome'.
For me this is the basis of what anxiety is and from there it just spirals out of control. I find it to be a very overwhelming feeling that's hard to pinpoint what's wrong. At times there are reasons which trigger feeling anxious, making the situation easier to cope with. However at other times, the sensation just comes instantly for no apparent reason and these moments are the hardest to deal with. Personally it comes in different waves, for instance there's a panicky type of anxious where I have panic attacks and get very worked up, leaving me shaking/crying or a more full body overwhelming sensation where my mind overtakes with thoughts, I'm just sad for no reason and just can't mentally function without wanting to cry. The panic anxious me tends to loose my appetite, feel sick, have a dry mouth and overall feel rather unwell. Yet this side of my anxiety is easier to control as I'm able to calm myself and normalise my breathing pattern. With the overwhelming side, it's harder to push myself out of it because one thought leads to another which escalate, causing my mind to think up the worst possible thing, resulting in myself being an emotional mess.
Anxiety is something I truly wish I didn't have because day to day life can be a struggle. Minor 'normal' things every other person can do for instance making a phone call, going out on their own, travelling/visiting new locations or even heading out with friends can be difficult. I know everyone has little anxieties which come before a test, or performing in a concert or going to the dentist for example, but an anxiety disorder is much more than those typical worries. It's these normal worries plus thousands of other thoughts, little things built on top of that with the feeling of doubt, fear and not being good enough mixed into one. I have good days and bad days with it, the good days are always fab as I feel free and happy, although the bad days aren't fun at all. Certain bad days I can cope really well with how I'm feeling and therefore am able to get on with my day, focusing on the positives, laughing away with my pals. However there's those odd few really bad days where my anxiety gets too much, I become overwhelmed with emotions and getting increasingly frustrated. I start to believe the way I feel ruins my relationship with others and hinders my everyday life; a very upsetting thought especially when anxiety has already taken over. Looking at it, there's ways in which it's prevented me from a lot of things, yet there are times that I battled through it and am proud of myself for getting there, being able to enjoy those moments.
As I said previously, certain situations it's unknown why I begin feel anxious, yet there's a series of things which can set me off. One of the main triggers is not feeling safe. Wherever I go and whatever I'm doing I need to know I'm in a safe environment otherwise I get extremely anxious. This is the reason that when I attend parties, pubs or over crowded locations, I like to have my best friends with me as I know they'll always look out for me. Obviously with every aspect in my life they can't be with me and these moments I therefore have to cope on my own, however I do know they're only a phone call away which puts me at ease. Continuing on from feeling safe, crowded places is another significant factor on feeling anxious as I can't stand the feeling of being trapped and not having the chance to escape; it's honestly the worst experience ever. Other elements like heading to a new place or stepping out of my comfort zone are not easy as it's a situation where I'll think and over think till I'm worried about every bad thing that can happen in that location. From the above I've mentioned, there's a collection of other situations as well where I can begin feeling like this.
Dealing with anxiety is a tricky task, personal to each individual on how they cope. I can't pin point exactly what relieves this situation but there's an array of exercises that help me feel better. On the moments where I begin to panic and feel a panic attack coming on, there are ways that help me calm down. Firstly I try to normalise my breathing and to only focus on me, pushing everything around out of my focus. An app which guides me along this is calm.com. I use this whenever I need to just breathe and feel calm for the day. With someone advising you when you're feeling anxious it truly helps because they're going along that journey with you, therefore if panic attacks are something you struggle with I'd definitely recommend some sort of calming app or even soothing music. Another method which helps me is talking to my friends or those I trust who reassure me. This can be through text, call or in person, which ever way is accessible for you. Telling someone about how you're feeling can be difficult initially but if you trust them, I can guarantee you they'll want to help in every way they can. Explaining can be the trickiest part as others may not understand, however through time and learning what is wrong, your close ones will understand how to assist you at these times and make you feel better. I'd also suggest distracting yourself somehow with other interests, for instance watching a film, reading a book, listening to music or having a bath, pick whatever one works for you. Although if it's got to the point where there are no coping methods that are helping, it's important to seek advise from a Dr, either undertaking therapy, counselling sessions or any other options available. Mental health is a serious topic and despite if you think your issue isn't as important as a physical one, your health is a significant factor especially of the mind as is can prevent you from numerous things including your own happiness. Anxiety can be awful to deal with in everyday life and gaining that relief can really benefit you by not having this constant worry over you always.
For advice or to talk to someone about the issue you're facing, here's a link of an assortment of mental health helplines.
I hope you found this more serious post informative and could relate if anxiety is something you struggle with. It's quite a long one but I've touched on everything I wanted to discuss. If any of my readers do want to chat whenever, all my social links are on my blog, I'll happily listen and advise you the best I can!
Are there any tips or exercises you do to help cope when you're feeling anxious?
Thank you for reading <3