My experience with… Anxiety

Have you ever felt anxious?

Imagine that feeling before you stand in front of a crowd to give a presentation or a speech. Imagine feeling that for days on end with no relief in sight.

It’s very difficult for people who haven’t experienced anxiety to understand or relate to the symptoms of anxiety.

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The way I describe it:

It feels as though someone has a hold of your intestines and is squeezing as tight as possible, wringing out every drop.

I lose my appetite. I have my “gloomy specs” on so that everything is seen from a negative point of view. I jump to the worst possible conclusion of everything. Thoughts are quick, irrational and it’s like sinking, struggling to stay afloat to see past anything but the completely negative situation.

Anxiety clouds my mind. While trying to get through the day the fog in my head is sometimes too difficult to think through. It’s completely frustrating.

It’s so overwhelming that sometimes normal tasks like eating, sleeping and breathing are a struggle. I feel like I’m barely surviving through some days.

Yes, it’s frustrating for everyone around me. I’m aware. If I could fix the anxiety I would have already.

If someone you know has anxiety:

My opinion is that anxiety requires patient friends and family. Very patient.

Sometimes just a hug can relax the irrational thoughts for a moment so I can have a tiny bit of much needed clarity. That can help immensely.

What I have been doing to improve:

I have been increasing my use of meditation and practising mindfulness. Mindfulness is helping me become more aware of the present instead of being lost in my anxious thoughts of the future or mistakes of the past. I am beginning to notice when the thoughts are getting worse as it’s much easier to calm my mind before the anxiety takes complete hold.

Focusing on my breathing instead of the anxious thoughts brings me back to the present moment and helps me reduce some of the anxiety symptoms (fast breathing and heart rate).

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Before sleeping and upon waking is usually when I have my worst anxiety. Thinking of my to do list for my day ahead often whips me into a frenzy inside my mind. Just knowing that this is my weakness, I acknowledge it and breathe, remembering that I can’t do anything about the to do list until I arrive at work. So I am able to put it out of my mind until I’m ready to deal with each task.

I hope my experience can help you understand how someone you know is feeling. Or if you have ever experienced anxiety in this way I really hope this post has brought you new ideas to try so you can feel some relief.

Big comforting hugs from me to you.

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