This post is one I wrote a while ago but with my anxiety increasing tenfold at the moment – no idea why – I thought it would be a good idea to revist the subject.
Anxiety is a word that gets thrown around a lot. It’s thrown around without really knowing the debilitating symptoms that can sometimes come with real Anxiety.
Anxiety is fear.
In life fear is sometimes a good thing. Fear of a cliff edge or fire, for example will keep you safe. But fear of some everyday or perhaps unusual things can ruin your day, your job and even your life.
In my personal experience with Anxiety, it has been up and down.
There have been times when I wouldn’t even open my curtains or blinds through fear of people knowing I was home. I refused to open the door, even to the postman.
I would panic when my phone rang – or even when a message pinged through- I was so frightened I ignored my phone completely for hours or days at a time! I don’t even know what I was really frightened off, but it was pure fear that washed over and remained with me!
The way in which Anxiety effects me is also very physical and I can’t hide it. It usually starts with my mind racing but then I start fidgeting a lot, shaking and pacing up and down. My chest gets extremely tight, my heart pounds so loud I can hear it in my ears, my breathing increases to fast and shallow which will then lead to me not being able to breath. I will then panic about not being able to breath and have had panic attacks at this point or passed out!
This can happen over a matter of minutes!
I know this probably sounds melodramatic but this is how it truly effects me.
I have overcome this more severe side of my Anxiety but there are still rare occasions when it creeps back and I completely alienate myself but for the most part I function fine.
I do the weekly food shops alone. I collect parcels. Take my little boy on days out. I get on with my life! I even open the door for my lovely postman!
Anxiety really is tough. It’s real and it’s frightening.
Whether it is fear of talking in public, taking public transport, fear of answering the phone or something deemed more unusual. Know that it’s possible to get help and overcome them.
Over the past few years I have found a few things useful to calm myself and my anxieties down.
I have given these tips to to friends and happily they have found them useful too.
Firstly, I have to mention this – BREATH! OK, OK, so it’s simple and you hear it all the time but my therapist gave me a method which almost never fails.
You cup your hands over your nose and mouth and inhale deeply (as deeply as you can manage at this point) through your nose slowly counting to 5 then exhale through your mouth slowly counting to 10. Do this as many times as it takes for your breathing to slow down. I know it’s simple but I can honestly say this has helped me.
Secondly, and probably my most effective method of reducing Anxiety is questioning yourself and examining the facts.
If I am anxious I will literally question myself. A lot.
What am I stressing/anxious about?
Am I imagining or exaggerating the situation to worse than it actually is?
What is the worst that could happen?
If that does happen, then what? Is it actually that bad?
Can I get through it?
After a thorough investigation I will 99% of the time discover the issues were not that serious and my mind originally made out and I feel a whole lot better.
When I was first about to post my blog I was absolutely petrified! I have spent my entire life hiding my illnesses and now I was about to tell everyone the truth!
I tried talking to myself, calming myself down but on this occasion I felt I needed some extra help to talk things through with. So I spoke to my husband – the most laid back, chilled out man on the planet!
He really helped me to put things into perspective.
- What am I stressing about?
Putting my blog online. Everyone reading it! Or no one reading it!
It being crap!
- Am I exaggerating the situation? What’s the worst that could happen?
Everyone who reads it hates it! They don’t want to speak to me ever again and no one wants to be my friend anyone!
- Ok, then what?
Um, I just won’t post anymore. I’ll just keep writing privately. If I lose friends then maybe they weren’t that great to begin with!
Oh, ok, so now I feel much better. Yes still anxious and nervous but not panicked and stressed!
The last bit of advice was also given to me by my therapist and its as simple as:
Sounds odd I know but here’s what I mean:
No one reads my blog – So What?!
Everyone reads it and hates it – So what?!
This is something I do all the time now. And I usually end up laughing!
It goes without saying that there may be somethings or certain circumstances that will require more care perhaps from professionals but if you can, then give these things a go! You have nothing to lose! And let me know how you get on.
Lots of love to you all.