What is Anxiety and what is it like to live with it?

This is my first blog post and I decided to dive straight in to the deep end and discuss Anxiety and what it’s like to live with.

Like most illnesses and Disorders, Anxiety is different for everyone who is diagnosed. Formally it is defined as “a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. “(NHS,2017). Anxiety basically means that individuals find it difficult to manage their worries and fears and because of this experience feelings of anxiety more often. For someone who is diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder, worries and fears can arise from a wide range of situations and issues such as Presentations, car journeys, Assemblies, Ordering food at a counter or even speaking in front of another individual. These feelings of worry or fear either subside or continue to develop and result in a surge of Adrenaline which results in something called a Panic Attack.

Panic Attacks often include feeling overwhelmed with emotions such as fear, anxiousness, and apprehension and can also have physical symptoms such as nausea, shaking, hyperventilation, sweating, and even the feeling that your heart is beating irregularly. Although panic attacks are incredibly scary, they are thankfully not dangerous, will not cause any physical harm and will subside naturally, although intervention from another individual is always comforting and beneficial (Trust me!).

So what is it like living with Generalised Anxiety Disorder? I was diagnosed with Anxiety in 2015 whilst I was at school in my first year of GCSE Exams. I can remember worrying about every single little thing that there was to worry about. My Appearance, The way I smelt, The way I presented myself, getting to school, and going on public transport, and that wasn’t even all! On a few occasions I refused to attend school/lessons because frankly I was unable to be around 300-400 other students for the whole day, and although I had friends my Anxiety still made me anxious and worried about what they truly thought or felt about me. I felt as though my Anxiety made me view those around me differently as it put false ideas into my head, for example if I heard a friend laughing or even someone on the street laughing or whispering I’d be anxious that it was about me (obviously knowing deep down that this probably wasn’t the case!), and then because of that thought it would progress and I’d start to think all the reasons why they might be laughing, like what was wrong, was my skirt caught? was my hair a mess? had they heard some petty untrue rumour?  I found that slowly I’d start to withdraw myself from social situations and events because I was unable to be surrounding by large groups of people. I’d feel alone even if I wasn’t! it was like being your own worst enemy, mainly for the reason that I knew what my fears and my worries were which then incorporated themselves into my anxiety because I’d always be on edge and looking out for those things that would worry me and as I was looking for them unfortunately I’d always find them!  You know that little voice you hear in your head? when my anxiety kicked in all I wanted to do was escape from it. Not only because it was repeating the constant fear and worries over and over, but because It meant I effectively was worsening the situation myself by repetitively thinking about what had caused the surge in anxiety, I was literally a bundle of nerves who’s worst enemy was herself!

I think everybody has that one situation within their lives that they always find considerably more stressful than others and at the time mine was exams and the pressure to ensure I passed my subjects with at least a C grade, anytime I was in this situation especially when I was sat in an exam room it would result in several panic attacks, and often I would need extra time to complete my examinations. Additionally to this because of my anxiety it often meant I was missing vital revision sessions and lesson time! however after perseverance and determination I was able to complete my exams and finish High School with 8 A-C grades and progress on to college! and now here I am having interviews with universities to study Mental Health Nursing! so please, please, please remember that although living with Mental Health Disorders can be challenging, and often have a large impact on your life that they are part of who you are, and that they are what makes you, you. Also, please remember support is always available!  I will attach some useful links below!

Stay Strong, and stay happy!

Useful links for information and support

http://www.mind.org.uk/

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/mental-health-helplines.aspx

http://www.sane.org.uk/

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