Monday, 28 September 2015

A is for Anxiety...


Bloody anxiety. Anyone who suffers with anxiety will totally relate to this post. I am seriously suffering with anxiety-flu in the respect that the anxiety has been and gone and now I am suffering with the aftermath. (In others words I’m feeling slightly like a troll, dragged through a bush and then thrown off a cliff – slight Disney twist on that, but, it’s true).
If you have never suffered from anxiety then this post might be a little boring, but I have been completely surprised recently as I have discovered that unfortunately, so many people do suffer with it daily. If you have never experienced the feeling of being completely uncomfortable in a certain situation then it really is hard to explain what it feels like. I’ve had times where my anxiety has been sky high and people say “I don’t understand, you were fine a minute ago!” honestly, neither do I.
I am extremely lucky in the fact that most of the time when I suffer from anxiety it is reasonably controllable. I am able to identify the situation making me feel this way, and in my mind it sets me at peace, but I also have my times where I become worse and worse, and sometimes it evolves into an anxiety attack.
My side-effects of anxiety are things such as having a tight chest, shortness of breath, dizziness, feeling nauseous, severe abdominal pains, mouth ulcers and my heart fluttering (don’t be panicked that I get a fluttery heart, I have a harmless heart murmur so anxiety can just trigger that on sometimes J).
I recently have been diagnosed with suffering with anxiety, but a mild form of it. I decided to look through the world of blogging to read up a little more about what anxiety was and the side effects that came along with it.
Anxiety – “A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome: he felt a surge of anxiety”
As I began to read more, it became apparent to me that I had been suffering with anxiety for a lot longer than I had known, but it had been a lot more controlled. For example, before I could drive I used to bus to college. I would always sit near the window because I felt more in control of what I could see happening outside of the bus (ironic because I had no control what-so-ever, but, yano’!) and when someone would come and sit next to me on the bus I would freak-the hell-out. I would work myself up about the fact that I would have to get up and get past this person to get off at my stop (thinking about it now is making me short of breath – ugh!) There has been sooooo many times were I have stayed on the bus, missed my stop, just because I couldn’t get up and say “excuse me” to the person next me. What the hell! (Oh, I did have a bus pass by the way; I wasn’t scamming free lifts to extra stops out of the bus drivers – ha!) When I sit here and think about it, it’s crazy, but it was something that would panic me every single day.
Where I currently live now, it is about 5-6 minutes away from where I work by car. Although I like to get into work relatively early to get prepped for the day, I have this bizarre thing where I have to leave about half an hour early because I fret about the fact I might not get parked. Funny thing is, I have never been able to not get parked, ever.
On a daily basis when I suffer with mild anxiety I get a tight chest, short of breath and feeling dizzy. I have been able to teach myself to sit here and almost say to myself “what is bothering you? It is only anxiety that is making you feel like this, so what is making you anxious?” (Funny, but true!) Once I have worked out what is making me anxious I will try and figure out how I can make it stop e.g. speaking to my Mum for some help, asking a work colleague for some advice on a piece of work, there is always a solution! The best thing and the hardest thing with anxiety is to talk. Talk to someone. It is so beneficial and makes you feel a million times better, but I know that it is so, so hard just to open up and speak.
Last week I suffered with my anxiety probably the worst I ever have done and it was awful. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about it last week, but I feel that now I am past that anxiety barrier it would be good to talk and good to share experiences with other people. I came into work as normal and felt fine the whole day. No tight chest, my breathing pattern was normal and I felt calm. All of a sudden in the afternoon my chest became tight, I tried to analyse the situation to figure out why and I couldn’t. This made me panic. I then became short of breath. I then panicked more! I then felt extremely dizzy and nauseous and needed fresh air. Quickly!
I got some fresh air, felt better and decided to head back in-doors. I hadn’t even been sat down 5 minutes and I knew it wasn’t getting any better. I rushed back outside for more air and all of sudden I was in floods of tears. Somewhere between leaving the office and being outside in the air I had managed to convince myself in my head that I was genuinely going to stop breathing. I couldn’t catch my breath, I couldn’t calm down and it just progressively got worse and worse. Turns out I was suffering with my first anxiety attack. Being really honest, those 15 minutes are bit of blur. My friend came down to check on me and stayed with me when she realised what was happening. But the whole thing seems completely jumbled! That night I felt really teary and shaken up. I decided to have an early night, lots of sleep and hoped I would up feeling much better the next day.


I woke up feeling about a million times worse. When I initially woke up I felt teary but still continued to get ready for work. Once I was ready, I put my coat on to leave for work, and suddenly had this urging thought of “I cannot leave this house”. *Cue the floods of tears again!* For some incredibly bizarre reason I just could not leave the house. Harley was driving to work and I got into the car, and I’m pretty sure I cried the whole twenty minutes there! Why? God knows! Once I was inside work, I felt fine. It then occurred to me that in familiar surroundings I felt safe, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I then made a connection through the day that each time I have a bad dream/nightmare I seem to suffer with anxiety the next day. Not in all cases but most.
Now, I have decided to start a dream journal. I have been documenting my dreams and noticing patterns. I have re-occurring dreams which I have no explanation for, so I have been logging these to see if I am able to identify why certain dreams re-occur.
So, the most important question, is there anyone else?!
Does anyone else suffer with similar types of anxiety? Has anyone got any tips/solutions or suggestions to help? I have read many things online such a breathing methods, drinking water, sleeping with lavender but unfortunately neither of those work wonders for me. A few people have suggested a technique where you find 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear and 2 things you can smell to ground yourself.
I would love to hear from any of you that have experienced things like this before and I apologise that this was quite a doom and gloom post, but I think it is super reassuring to make people aware that anxiety is really quite common and that not everyone feels they can open up about it.

Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from you all! I hope everyone has a really lovely week, anxiety free!

Lots of love,

Chelsea x

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