The Run-Down On Anxiety
Do you remember the last time you faced one of your fears. Doesn’t matter what the fear. One fear that people can relate the most to is public speaking. Do you remember how scared you were? Do you remember everyone’s eyes on you? Do you remember shaking? Now imagine feeling that all the time. Imagine that every second of your life is a presentation and the whole world is the audience. As you may or may not be aware I suffer from anxiety and have a panic disorder. This is the constant feeling I get along with other people that struggle with an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety is an uncomfortable, awful feeling that cannot be controlled. Feeling anxious is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at times, different levels of anxiety lye in all of us. Many people feel anxious or nervous when they are confronted to do something outside of their comfort zone like an interview or a test. However anxiety disorders are different, they affect people in all parts of their life. Anxiety is a serious mental illness that is very misunderstood. Anxiety is the body’s natural response to danger, an alarm goes off when you feel threatened, under pressure or facing a stressful situation. There is no one specific cause for anxiety, for different people it’s caused by different things. It may be a chemical imbalance in the brain, which means some people find it harder to deal with stress than others. It can also be triggered by traumatic and stressful experiences that has happened in your life. For others anxiety can be built up over a number of months or years, which can develop negative ways of thinking, this may result in making the problem stay or get worse.
Panic disorders and attacks is something I can personally relate to. A panic attack is a sudden feeling of dread, a sudden urge to push yourself to the nearest exit. In a second, without anticipation or knowing it’s going to happen your body releases adrenaline. This adrenaline is released as your body is preparing itself for ‘fight or flight,’ something our brains are programmed to do in a life or death situation. I have too many panic attacks to count and I do find it hard to talk about as not everyone understands and is accepting of it but it never gets easier, it frightens me just as much. What happens to me is I get light headed and shake. My digestive system shuts down causing me to feel sick. Panic attacks can last anywhere between 5 minutes- 20. It’s a feeling I will never get used to, not being able to breathe and in a way your body turning against you is one of the worst feelings I have experienced. The best way I can explain in simplest of terms why some people suffer from panic attacks is “you are like a car in the street, whose alarm goes off with the smallest gust of wind, whereas all the other cars take a good beating before their alarms go off.” Meaning you’re sensitive to the smallest of worries and stress.
One thing I find hard about living with anxiety is the hold it takes over you without you realising it. You get used to it and you get used to the way of living and you don’t see your behaviour is so varied from everyone around you. This is why it’s sometimes hard to address your anxiety. For a while I tried to ignore that feeling of dread was there but eventually it took over my life. There are many different treatments and support agencies out there that can help anxiety. Nothing will make it go away but you can learn to control it and overcome it. People most commonly think medication is the only way to reduce it. However this is not always the answer, for some people medication can become addictive and become reliant on them. There are many alternative treatments out there such as talking to a counsellor, hypnotherapy, and natural calming remedies. For me, talking to someone helps. It helps you to learn about your anxiety and the triggers. The simplest of things can work too, exercise and eating a balanced diet helps me to keep my anxiety to a minimum.
Having someone in your life that struggles with anxiety can be difficult but there are simple ways that can help. One of the simplest things you can do is educate yourself about anxiety, this way you can try and understand what they may be going through. I am lucky enough to have friends that have done this to try and learn about my anxiety and panic attacks. One of the biggest things that I can’t express enough is don’t try and treat people with anxiety like they are made of glass but don’t treat the anxiety like it’s not there either. There’s nothing more frustrating than people who treat anxiety like it’s nothing, like it’s not a big deal because to me and people that suffer it’s a part of our lives. In fewer words it is the little things that mean the most, simply being there to talk to, support and reassure them is the best way to help someone living with anxiety.
Now think back to that fear. Now do you understand it?