Wednesday, 6 January 2016

On Anxiety


2016 has finally arrived, and with it has come a few goals that I’ve set myself for the new year. One of these goals is to start stepping out of my comfort zone more, and writing this blog post feels like a good place to start. 

Anxiety has been a huge part of my life for the past four years. In fact, it’s not just been a part of my life… so far, it’s ruled my life.

I’ve always wanted to feel brave enough to write about it openly, but there were just too many things putting me off the whole idea. Recently, though, my mum mentioned that she thought I should do something online to help other anxiety sufferers - and suggested that maybe I blog about it. 
(Side note: she didn't even know that I have a blog.) Now, I’m not sure I believe in ‘signs from God’ exactly - but I did take this as the push I needed to finally bite the bullet and just do it.

So, I thought I’d start off with a quick post inspired by the amazing MegSays, who worked with fellow M.E. sufferers to explain how it feels to suffer from their chronic illness.
I was surprised to see how many of the points I related to, despite suffering from a completely different illness (which also happens to be mental rather than physical).

It was such a brilliant blog post, and it’s been really interesting for me to form my own version centered around anxiety.

Anxiety physically feels like:
  • Butterflies or knots in your stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • You start to feel dizzy. You’re getting light-headed. 
  • You feel your body breaking into a sweat. You try to distract yourself, but the physical symptoms continue. They demand your attention. They demand to be felt.
  • Panic. It consumes you. You begin to feel sick.
  • An intense feeling starts building up. Something is taking over – something you can’t control.
  • Your senses are heightened. It sets you on edge.
  • You feel detached from the world around you. It looks different, sounds different, feels different.
  • You're shaking. You feel so weak.
  • Your heart is racing so fast, it physically hurts
  • The feeling is overwhelming. You’re afraid you might collapse, or even die.
  • When the panic ends, your body goes into a state of exhaustion. You feel as though you’ve just run a marathon. 

Anxiety mentally feels like:
  • You’re drowning and desperately gasping for breath, but nobody around you notices
  • You’re like a prisoner, being punished by your own mind. You’re trapped and you can’t break free.
  • You’re in a constant battle between your ‘true’ self and your ‘ill’ self - and somehow, your ill self always wins
  • You’re trapped behind a glass wall, watching as everyone else enjoys their life. You want to join in, but you can't find the power to shatter the glass.
  • You've been thrown in at the deep end, and you don’t know how to swim
  • Each day - each small task - feels like a marathon. You're exhausted all of the time.
  • You feel incompetent. Embarrassed. Ashamed. You’re living a life that you don't feel capable of living. You constantly feel like you've let yourself down.
  • Your own mind has betrayed you - but you know that you're stuck with it. You've become your own worst enemy, and there's nothing you can do.
  • You watch as the world keeps turning, but you just can't keep up. You’re not living anymore. You’re just existing.
  • You grow to be fearful of fear itself.

If you're someone who suffers from anxiety, I think that coming up with your own version of this post could be a really useful exercise. It could also help you to communicate how you feel with friends and family, or even with a professional. 
  
I don't want to end this post on a bum note, so if you are suffering from anxiety, I truly wish you all the best in trying to tackle it. Set yourself some goals for 2016 and be sure to reward yourself for even the tiniest bit of progress! And remember - trying is progress, too!

Please don't be hard on yourselves. Living with an illness like this every day just goes to show how brave you truly are!

All of my love,

2 comments:

  1. Hi!
    I just stumbled across your blog and wanted to say that this post really resonated with me. I'm also at university (I study English Lit) in my first year, and anxiety played a really big part in my first term. In some ways it was helped by throwing myself in at the deep end, moving away and meeting so many new people - my confidence really improved - but at other times it made uni life really difficult when I struggled to even leave my bedroom to go to the kitchen.
    I wanted to thank you for your post and to say that I've found that blogging about anxiety and sharing my experiences has been really helpful for me, so I hope it can be for you!
    Best of luck for 2016 :)
    L x

    http://lucyeyf.co.uk

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    1. Aww congratulations!! I'm so glad I ended up going to university - it's probably one of the best decisions I've ever made - but yeah, it definitely can be tough sometimes :( You should be HELLA proud of yourself for choosing to live away from home though - that’s huge!!
      I’m glad it’s helped you; I really look forward to keeping up with your posts! It’s so good that this is something that’s finally being talked about more!

      Thank you so much for your comment & best of luck to you too! I hope you have an amazing first year at university! ♥ x

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