Thursday, 21 August 2014

Talking about anxiety

I can not tell you how many times i have wrote and re-wrote this post. Whatever i seem to type doesn't quite live up to how it actually feels.

First thing i want to clear up is that i am no way a professional in anxiety, so please take what i say with a pinch of salt. I am just your average woman living and battling with anxiety, and i hope to share some things that helped me, in hope that it might help someone else.

Anxiety takes form in many different people, men, woman and even children. It is completely normal to have anxiety, to feel nervous or worry before a presentation or an exam. But it's when it becomes more than that, and when anxiety starts to control what you will and won't do in your life. That is when you might want to look into anxiety disorders.

Unfortunately i believe that once you suffer with an anxiety disorder, it never truly leaves. You may be able to over come it and learn to deal with coping techniques but there will always be that little doubt of worry and anxiety ready to creep out, when you are at your lowest point.

So lets start with what i found helpful..

One of the biggest things i found helpful was to know what i was not alone. That anxiety is not abnormal and that there isn't anything wrong with me. It also helped me to know that what i was personally suffering with anxiety over, other people were too (i found this out by googling my own anxiety worries). This then made me put things into perspective and made me feel like i wasn't being ridiculous.

Anxiety is not ridiculous
Your feelings are not ridiculous 

If it gets to the point where you don't physically know what to do and you feel like your anxiety is starting to take control over your life, then please ask for help. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help. Unfortunately it took numerous attempts for the doctors to take me seriously and book me sessions with a councillor. But do not give up, keep going back and keep pushing them until you get what you what out of the appointment. I would not be where i am now without the help and guidance from a councillor.

Start to work out what you are anxious about the most. When does your anxiety arise? Is there a certain part of the day? Once you have identified that, you can start working coping techniques in. It may be that you never find out what triggered your anxiety right at the start, but it helps to know where you are at now.

Work in baby steps. This is not going to be an over night cure. I have given up so many times because i thought it was pointless and i was never going to get rid of my anxiety. Do not give up! 
Maybe start writing a list. The least anxiety provoking thing to the biggest, and work through the list slowly until you reach your goal.
Anxiety may be a part of you, but it does not control you!

Guilt. I really struggled with guilt, and that was one of the pain reasons i felt so down, upset, emotionally drained and frustrated. I felt guilty that my anxiety affected my family, that not only could i not do what i wanted to do, but it also meant they couldn't either. Sadly, i never found a way to deal with my guilt, i just put all my energy into beating my anxiety so my family and myself could live a life without being controlled by anxiety.

Positive thinking. There will be lots of people who won't understand your anxiety, and because of that they may offer negative comments (some not meaning to). But you need to be positive. I found three books really helpful..
To me, this woman is a role model, if she can overcome all she has had to face then so can you. I had more down days then i did good when i was really deep within my anxiety and these little affirmations really helped. I still look at them from time to time when i am feeling down.

This book is aimed at a lot of people, not just people suffering with anxiety. But i found this book so helpful and what i was reading was exactly how i was feeling. The idea of the book is that the 'chimp' is your anxiety.
"The chimp is the emotional machine that we all possess. It thinks independently from us and can make decisions. It offers emotional thoughts and feelings that can be constructive or very destructive; it is not good or bad, it is a chimp. The Chimp Paradox is that it can be your best friend and your worst enemy. The main purpose of this book is to help you manage your Chimp and to harness its strength and power when it is working for you and to neutralise when it is not" (page 8)

This book provides lots of difference exercise to help you heal your life. It helps you find your self-worth and works to build up your confidence, that may have been lost through anxiety. I also find it answers a lot of my questions, especially now that i am no longer in contact with my councillor i feel like i can go to this book and the answer will be in there.

Panic attacks
Probably the worst things in the world. What helped me was taking long and deep breathes. Telling myself i was overthinking the situation and that what i was getting anxious over wasn't worth feeling like this. Also if the situation allowed it, i would listen to an app on my phone called "Calm". It is free to download, and it offers a change to relax through mediation. 

How to help a friend when they have a panic attack
Obviously i can't speak for everyone. But i have talked to a few people who i know who suffer with anxiety and panic attacks and there view on it is similar to my own. I find the best thing to do is just be there. Don't question what they are doing, why they are doing it. Just let them know that you are there for them, if they want to move away from the situation, then you will move with them. As at that point, all your friend will want to do is get out of the panic attack and the way it makes them feel. Once the panic attack has ended, your friend might feel embarrassed, guilty and a lot more things, so don't present them with questions, let them make the first move. If they want to talk about it, then they will.

If you want to know more about panic attacks then i recommend reading this blog post, click here.
Most common anxiety questions are answered, here.
You can hear a personal story, here.
If you want to know more about positive thinking regarding anxiety, click here.

You may ask why i have linked the same person on all the additional information. That is because i can not tell you how useful i found each and every one of them. It also helps hearing someone else taking about there views and how they deal with it or how it affects them, it makes you feel like you aren't alone, in this massive bubble called anxiety. 

You are never alone..
Anxiety is a part of you, but it is not who you are..
You can overcome anything you set your mind to..
Baby steps will lead to bigger steps..
Never give up.

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  1. LOVE this post! It's helped me so much as I also suffer from anxiety!

    1. Aww i am so glad that you liked it :)

      Katie x

  2. I agree, this is a really good post and it's nice to know that there's other people out there and you're not alone as I suffer from 'gad' (generalized anxiety disorder)

    1. Aww thank you! It took me a lot to write it but i am glad that i did :). Yeah, i think that was one of the worst things for me was feeling alone and that no one understood what i was going though or the people around me didn't see the logic in what i was doing or couldn't do. So i hoped writing this might help at least one person not feel so alone in the world of anxiety :)

      Katie x

  3. I admire you so much for talking so honestly about anxiety Katie, it's never easy to open up and be so frank (in fact it's bloody hard) so a massive well done to you sweet for being so brave and for sharing your thoughts and feelings <3

    It's only through blogging that I've actually realised so many of us are in the same boat in regards to anxiety, and although dealing with it is painful, it brings some comfort to realise, as you said, that you are not actually alone and it's a lot more common than most think. I definitely think your theory about anxiety never leaving is completely true; throughout my life I've suffered badly from it, (started when I was about 10 or 11 but from what I remember was always an anxious child), it's thankfully (fingers crossed) a lot better now, but it definitely seems to crop up throughout my life; when I've worked in previous jobs I hated, sometimes when socialising, but mostly I get thoughts that build up in my own head and turn into full blown worries. Thank you so much for sharing your book recommendations, they all sound so worth reading. Panic attacks are just the worst. I've heard CALM is a great app as well, and it's nice to hear it helped you :)

    You really are an inspiration and it's so touching to read how you've dealt with anxiety, and become a stronger person for it. If you ever need a friend, a chat or just a rant then always feel free to drop me an email at :)

    Sophie | soinspo xo

    1. Aww thank you so much, it was really hard and i think i rewrote the whole blog post a good couple of times until i was happy with the way everything sounded! As it's easy to speak about your own anxiety, and what helps you, but what helps you might not help someone else. I also thought i might get a few negative comments through writing it, but so far i haven't which fills me with more hope.
      Thats the completely the same with me, and its actually one of the reasons why i started my own blog as well. As when my anxiety was really bad, reading blog posts and watching youtube videos relaxed me and took me away from everything that was going on around me. So thats when i decided to start my own :).
      Thats such a young age to suffer from anxiety, especially when i bet you didn't really know what it was or what was going on - as i sure didn't and i think mine properly started when i was 17 years old. Yeah, i have always been an anxious person too, so maybe theres where it steams from and you more you dwell on it (which i do!) the more it gets bigger and bigger and out of control. I am so happy that yours is getting easier and its not as bad as it used to be, that just proves that you are such a strong person for not letting it control your life.
      Thank you so much for writing this comment, it really means so much to me. That is so lovely of you, thank you :)

      Katie x