“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” – Charles Spurgeon
Anxiety? This is a post that a couple of years ago, I never thought I would be writing about because I didn’t think I would ever be dealing with anxiety or depression for that matter. So many people these days do not even realise that they are suffering from anxiety as they would always put it down to other things like being silly, stressed out or over-reacting. I was one of these people who used to think that I was really stressed out from the problems that life accumulates. It wasn’t until the anxiety and depression took over last year that I got some counselling and then found out that I was indeed struggling with anxiety in many forms.
So what exactly is anxiety?
“Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.”
Having anxiety can be very tough, some days will be better than others. Certain things you will be able to do just like that whereas others you will find that you can’t do because of crippling anxiety. For me personally, my anxiety for the most part is manageable. Through counselling I have learnt how to deal with my anxiety and it comes naturally to me now. Though in some cases, all the techniques I have learnt through counselling go straight out the window when my anxiety gets bad.
I criticize myself a lot and I always want to try my best at everything even if I have never ever done it before. I always assume to myself that I should be able to do this and get anxious when I can’t do it. This is one part of my anxiety that I really struggle with, no matter how much mindfulness I try to follow or however much I tell myself that I should be gentle with myself, I always find myself doing it. Right now, I am trying to learn how to do brush lettering and some calligraphy along with it. I’ve tried numerous of pens and I am still struggling with it. I usually end up giving up because I’ve assumed that I should be good at this and I don’t give myself enough credit. This is what anxiety is like, I get anxious because I’m not able to do it.
Writing this blog post is hard for me because I want to make sure that I get all the information right and let people know what it’s like coping with anxiety and how it really effects people’s lives. Sometimes you wouldn’t even know that someone is struggling with anxiety because for the most part, people are good at covering it up.
My boyfriend, sister and my best friend both struggle with anxiety as well. Between the four of us, all of our anxiety is different in many ways. My sister struggles with it in certain situations like me. Our family situation is a big anxiety trigger for the both of us. We both really struggle when visiting my dad and my brother. Usually after a visit to my dads, I have great difficulty getting my anxiety under control. I am anxious before I get there as I know what I’m expecting and I’m usually anxious all the way until a day after I get back from there so it’s a long time.
So what does anxiety feel like? What is it like when you are so anxious that you don’t know what’s going on? When you can feel it coming on but you don’t have any way of dealing with it?
Anxiety feels like your mind is totally clouded over especially when it is very bad. Anxiety for me is having to answer the phone or going to a new place which I have never been to before, visiting my dad, trying new things, change really triggers my anxiety, things going wrong also triggers my anxiety a lot, being late, loud/aggressive environments. There are quite a few triggers for me. For the most part, I can control it but certain triggers really push my limits and I lose all control. When I get anxious, my stomach starts to get fluttery and then a sinking feeling comes along. Usually before this, my heart rate speeds up a bit and my mind goes a bit all over the place. Sometimes when I’m anxious, I’m very quiet or I can be very snappy or moody. It all depends on what has triggered it off. I also tend to speak rapidly when I’m anxious as well because I want to get it all out without messing it up which causes more anxiety. If someone could get inside my head when I’m suffering from anxiety, you would find me talking to myself rapidly as well. I couldn’t tell you what I’m saying because it’s so fast and jumbled that I don’t even understand it myself.
Coping with anxiety can be hard work, some people can get the anxiety under control quite easily whereas other people can’t do that. I have had counselling for some time and still struggle with my anxiety despite using mindfulness and techniques to try and avoid my anxiety getting bad.
When I am anxious, I normally give myself a “pep talk”. If anyone could get inside my head then you’d hear me talking to myself when I’m anxious trying to rationalize that it’s not something bad and that it’s ok to be anxious but I’ve still got to get through it. If my anxiety is pretty bad then I do usually get quiet, I will just try to block out whatever is making me anxious and I do this a lot when visiting my dad as that’s the only way I can cope. I journal a lot now that I have had counselling, writing down whatever is making me anxious always helps me to relax a bit and feel a bit more sane! Talking to a close friend or family member is always another good way to help reduce anxiety. I know my best friend gets the brunt of my anxiety when it’s quite bad as I’ll go straight to her and we’ll talk about it. For me personally, talking about it if you can is a good thing.
For people suffering with anxiety, people will tell you to take a walk or listen to some music but that doesn’t always work for everyone. I have found the “pep talk” and journaling more helpful than taking a walk as I don’t feel like taking a walk when I’m anxious. I don’t know about anyone else but I struggle to do anything when anxious?!
Anxiety is not something that we should be ashamed of or that we should hide despite most people hiding it without thinking about it. I hope that this helps anyone with anxiety, to know that you aren’t alone and sometimes all the things you read on the internet aren’t real!
If you have any other tips for dealing with anxiety then I’d love to hear about them 🙂