Understanding Anxiety – From a personal perspective

Today I will be writing about Anxiety as it’s something I struggle with personally and I find that it’s not spoken about as much as it should be (as a means of raising awareness and increasing understanding.)

Anxiety: A feeling of worry, nervousness or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.

We cannot always be sure of what triggers out Anxiety, but we can learn and we can have coping mechanisms in place to assist during these times.

I have suffered from Anxiety throughout the entirety of my young life and, due to my diagnosis of Autism, I will always have that slight ounce of Anxiety inside of me that will never go away. I feel like Anxiety is very misunderstood and I guess it’s hard to acknowledge why certain aspects of life could be difficult for somebody, if you’re not suffering from Anxiety personally. I mean, how could somebody possibly understand why it’s difficult to get out of the house or to give public presentations if I fail to understand it myself?

Sometimes, Anxiety gets mistaken and people are judged for being ‘lazy’ or ‘unwilling’ to do things. People fail to understand the concept of being unable to do something, it isn’t just because you don’t feel up to it. It’s because of the gut wrenching feeling in your tummy and the rise of uncertainty in your head.

Symptoms of Anxiety

  1. Dizziness
  2. Tiredness
  3. Irritability
  4. Difficulty concentrating
  5. Restlessness

Physical symptoms of Anxiety

  1. Dizziness
  2. Tiredness
  3. Strong, fast or irregular heartbeat
  4. Trembling or shaking
  5. Dry mouth
  6. Excessive sweating
  7. Stomach ache
  8. Feeling sick
  9. Headache
  10. Insomnia

I never understood what Anxiety was until I grew older. It was during my years in High School that I realised that I had a problem. It wasn’t just shyness; it was neurological. At the age of just fourteen I burst out into tears during a speech we were expected to do during an English lesson. The shaking seemed unstoppable, the words on my paper seemed like a huge blur and I could barely stand up right. I can still picture it six years on. My words couldn’t find their way out but my tears certainly did. I could only focus on what those around me must’ve been thinking. It was a nightmare and I hope to God I am never put in a pressurised situation like that again.

Following on from this, it was during a conversation with my best friend that I realised I could have Anxiety. I wasn’t self-diagnosing myself but it seemed that I was the only one who had been previously unaware of how strong my Anxiety was.

Everybody gets anxious at times, but that doesn’t mean that everybody has Anxiety. Anxiety is a huge part of life, unfortunately. Some people may get anxious whilst going for a job interview or whilst going on a first date – but the difference between them and I is that they don’t have anxiety lingering 24/7. My anxiety only worsens in situations like the ones previously mentioned. Becoming anxious during certain times is expected, though being anxious about leaving the house is a problem that needs working on.

Anxiety is often misjudged and stigmatised and I commonly hear people stating how something has given them anxiety. For example ‘That ladies coat gave me anxiety.’ I understand to some degree that this is quite simply a lack of understanding, so this is where we must step in. We must step in to educate people on Mental Illnesses and their harsh, raw realities and consequences. I have also seen popular clothing stores selling t-shirts with Anxiety related phrases on them which I find ignorant and wrong. In a modern day society we ought to be raising awareness as oposed to adding to the stigma.

Anxiety is deliberating. It’s exhausting and confusing too. It feels like you’re stuck in a hole and even though you want to get out, you can’t. You physically and mentally can’t. Friends of mine also suffer with Anxiety so it’s helpful and reassuring to have somebody to understand the struggles faced on a daily basis between us. One minute I can be fine and the next I am crippling in the moment trying to encourage myself to step outside of the front door. With each day comes a new struggle faced with brand new unexpected challenges such as getting out of bed in the morning, making those first steps to the bus stop or finding the courage to go into work.

Admittedly, though, some days are better than others and I find that I am sometimes able to carry out tasks on some days and then I struggle with the same tasks on other days. The anxiety never leaves, but it’s easier to face on some days. The butterflies in my tummy are the hardest things I have to challenge. Alongside the loud thoughts in my head repeatedly telling me ‘I cant.’ I commonly get so anxious that I will physically feel sick and I will be plagued with other symptoms including shaking, dizziness, abnormal breathing and I also find that crying is bound to happen when my anxiety is sky-rocketing. My emotions build up and up until I feel ready to explode. It is all so overwhelming and scary, yet people see it as some ‘cute and quirky’ condition.

I have Anxiety but Anxiety does not have Me.

People take things for granted and I envy things that seem so simple that I cannot do which others can, but this is something I can work on and there are always areas for improvement. This doesn’t make me weak, it simply means that I have struggles and that is okay. Life isn’t perfect and nobody in life is perfect either as it’s unrealistic. I can’t pick up the phone to make an appointment or to speak to a family member I am not so close with. I can’t ask for assistance in a shop, instead I will walk around for long periods of time until I have managed to resolve the problem on my own. I can’t speak up if I have a problem or if I’m being treated wrongly.

There is so much in life I am unable to do due to my Anxiety, but I realise now that there are coping mechanisms out there to help me and others. There is always hope because even on the darkest of nights, the sun will still rise the next morning.

Instead of focusing on our flaws, we should embrace all of the good qualities we have.

Anxiety seems unstoppable at times and it seems never-ending but with the correct help and coping mechanisms set in place, it can improve and life can become that tad bit more manageable. Anxiety may never fully ridden, though I can become stronger and I can learn how to live with my Anxiety without letting it take control of my life.

Be brave & stay strong 🙂

Lots of love and hugs,

Laur xx

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