This week is national Anxiety and Depression awareness week, so I wanted to write about dealing with anxiety.
All of us will suffer from anxiety at some point in our lives, regardless of how major or minor it might be. It’s only when anxiety begins to take over your life and stops you from doing things is when it becomes a real problem.
Anxiety is something I’ve had to deal with over the past couple of years. Whilst I’ve dealt with anxiety I’ve never been diagnosed with anxiety (my doctor told me I didn’t have anxiety when I quite clearly did) and the anxiety I have suffered from has been quite minor.
- · Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders in the UK
- Affects 16% of the population at any given time
- · 195,000 young people have an anxiety disorder
- · In 2013 there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK
- · Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety as men
With anxiety the biggest thing for me was accepting that from time to time I can suffer from anxiety and it’s something I’ve had to deal with. I’m asthmatic which means I can’t take any anxiety medication (despite my asthma not having a major impact I was told I wasn’t allowed to take medication as there was a risk it would set my asthma off). This took a lot of accepting and understanding anxiety can’t always simply solved by medication and just medication alone (I’m not saying medication doesn’t help because it clearly must do).
Another thing anxiety caused me was having a million and one worries floating round in my head which could sometimes get out of control. For example I sometimes panic talking to people I’m not that close with, especially if the conversation isn’t going anywhere, and I start thinking “Am I annoying them” “Do they even like me” “Why can’t I talk to people normally”. I usually end up feeling awkward and stop the conversation. I really do hate having this battle and personally it’s one of the hardest things to deal with.
I have also suffered a few physical effects as well as mental. Sometimes on a morning when I’m feeling particularly anxious I cannot eat anything as I feel sick. When I’m very anxious I visibly shake and it can be quite hard to control. Occasionally I’ve suffered from very minor anxiety attacks, now while they’ve not been a full blown attack I find them unpleasant and distressing. When I have an attack (always occurs on a night time) I start shaking, get hot and cold flushes, need the toilet a lot and feel nauseous and this can last for a good few hours.
However over the past couple of years I’ve learnt ways to cope with anxiety and I’ve managed to get it under control. I want to share with you these tips to help any of you who might be suffering from anxiety:
· Talk to someone about how you’re feeling: For me I saw a counsellor and talking to someone really helped me. My counsellor was lovely and gave me strategies to help me cope and they’ve really helped. However you don’t have to see a counsellor, you could talk to your parents, friends or a trusted adult. Just don’t bottle up how you’re feeling
· Prioritize your work: If you have set a lot of work in a short period of time it can leave you feeling overwhelmed and panicking about when it’s all due in. Make sure to set a list of all the work you need to do and then complete each piece work in order of what’s due in first. This takes so much stress away and stops you from feeling overwhelmed.
· Meditate: This is a technique I’ve only recently been using but it really helps. I meditate for a couple of minutes before I go to bed and it really helps to calm my mind. If your anxiety is bad: close your eyes, sit in a comfortable position and focus on your breathing for a couple of minutes.
· Sleeping: If I’m struggling to get to sleep I use this technique which my counsellor taught me and it’s so useful. As you breathe in you say “in” and as you breathe out you say “out” (in your head of course), whilst I do this I also picture a balloon inflating/ deflating and it really helps me drift off. Also if I’m over worrying and can’t get to sleep I visualise putting my worries in a bubble and making the bubble float away, it works for me.
Remember there are lots of ways to help people who suffer from anxiety and I hope this post has taught you about anxiety. To anyone who may be suffering with anxiety right now I hope you this post will help you.