Anxiety. It affects every aspect of your life from getting out of bed, brushing your teeth, deciding what to wear to life choices, jobs, social events and friends. There is no one type of anxiety and no one solution – most times, it’s not even curable. It’s a constant feeling of worry and oh god the fatigue that comes with such worry! It is important that I stress not one single case of anxiety is the same; all sufferers can relate to one another but we do not have the same symptoms, triggers, root causes, medication or even emotions.
What are triggers?
Triggers are situations that can set off our anxiety. For example: if an individual has Social Anxiety they may find that being in a crowded place (such as a restaurant or town centres) can set off their symptoms. I have what is known as General Anxiety so this means that my triggers can switch from day to day and I’m not actually sure what causes most of them. A few of mine are:
- Busy places – I’m unable to think clearly
- New places – I worry about new obstacles
- New people – Will they like me?
- Family situations – What will they ask me?
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms indicate when an individual is about to experience their anxiety.
I don’t believe that websites such as the NHS go into enough detail about symptoms – don’t get me wrong it’s great if you want to get a general idea; but it doesn’t really help others to understand because each case is so different. Some symptoms I personally experience are:
- Irritability – everything will annoy me and I mostly want to be left alone and untouched
- Anger – I lash out and project this onto other people, especially those close to me
- Fatigue – I get extremely tired and lose all my energy
- Isolation – I become closed off and quiet
- Fuzzy mind – I’m unable to think straight or concentrate on what someone is saying to me
- Nervous talking – sometimes I try to hide the fact that I’m beginning to feel anxious with chatter and nervous laughs
Please don’t forget that these are my own personal symptoms – other sufferers may experience different ones.
What are the side effects?
Again, everyone will experience different side effects and on different levels of intensity. Side effects are what actually comes with your anxiety; to help you understand here are a few of mine:
- Panic attacks – this side effect is very common and well known within society but it doesn’t necessarily mean everyone experiences them. My panic attacks can range from mild to severe. Mild attacks – tight chest, energy loss, irrational worrying. Severe attacks – heart pains, shooting pains down my arms, tight chest, difficulty to breathe, total fatigue, crying, irrational fear, shaking, stuttering etc. It can honestly feel like a heart attack and unfortunately severe attacks are the ones I experience most.
- Fatigue – anxiety can be – and in my case is – very exhausting. Irrationally worrying, panicking about things that might go wrong, wondering why that one friend didn’t text you back, regular attacks, and daily tasks can all contribute to this fatigue. (I also have depression as well as anxiety -both severe- which is why my fatigue is so severe). As soon as I wake up I panic about what I’m going to wear, if I should have breakfast, if I’ll remember to take my pills, if I actually do have work at the time I thought etc: I’m exhausted before I leave my bed.
- Obsessively cleaning – I’d like to make it clear that I do not have OCD and would never claim that I do. Being a perfectionist is something that goes with my anxiety – if I don’t do something to my absolute highest standard, I’ll literally think about it for the rest of my life. Cleaning helps me to create that perfection around the house; if the house is tidy, then so is my life (weird to you right? Makes absolute sense to me!). Anxiety also makes me feel like I have no control over my own life so cleaning helps me to gain some of that control back. I control how clean myself and my house are, not anxiety.
I have many more side effects but explaining them is taking up a lot of this blog post – please don’t hesitate to ask if you’re interested. I might even do an individual post on them!
Anxiety in reality is terrifying and ruthless; we lose friends and opportunities, we lose chances to make memories, we lose days to being stuck inside, we argue with our loved ones due to frustration. Anxiety is unfair and cruel and should never be romanticised. However, it makes us stronger. We are able to get through it day by day and that’s enough for us. It makes us more empathetic and understanding individuals.
Please remember that just because it is not visible; it doesn’t mean that this mental illness is any less real. We may look okay but we are fighting a daily battle.
I’m proud of you all,
Love always x
*I’d love to hear your feedback, good or bad! Please don’t hesitate.