You are not alone
First of all, you and I are not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that anxiety affects 18% of the population every year (but only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment). So really, we aren’t alone but it can feel that way can’t it? that’s not to say that your anxiety is necessarily the same as mine though, it presents itself in so many different ways so I can only really talk about my own experience.
I wanted to write this personal post because I really struggle with talking about my anxiety, particularly with those I love. So hopefully those who don’t suffer from it can get a better understanding. Maybe.
Anxiety and depression are not the same things
It can be frustrating right? When someone says “but you’ve got everything going for you, what could you be depressed about?” – well let me tell you, depression and anxiety are not the same things but they often like to walk together.
Fear of the unknown
Anxiety or my anxiety often presents itself as fear. Fear of the unknown. An impending sense of uncertainty that takes over your headspace. It cripples me from making decisions. I don’t mean being indecisive in a restaurant although sadly, I get that too. I mean a complete inability to think rationally, getting caught up in a sensation of tension, an apprehension that keeps me in a cycle of excessive worry, anticipation and worst of all, panic. and FYI that doesn’t mean I run around in a frenzy (although my boyfriend will probably say he’s witnessed it). Often panic is a feeling of breathlessness, heart racing or screen playing events in your head over and over again. Have you ever had a full blown argument in your head with someone and left yourself exhausted even though it never happened? well, I have.
Paranoia joins the party
The worst though actually, is when you have no fucking idea what you’re anxious about. It could be a simple life task that cropped up in your day to day life that triggered your subconscious. Then when someone asks you what is wrong, you cant even answer them. Try telling someone you have an uncontrollable feeling of dread but you have no idea why. That’s when paranoia joins in the party.
Anxiety IS treatable
I have on occasion been so gripped with paranoia that it causes outbursts, mood-swings and even panic attacks. My reaction used to be just to shut down. Detach myself from everything and everyone. for days. But recently, within the last year, i’ve learned to spot the signs of anxiety and just about pull myself out of it before it gets really bad. It’s also really important that those around you can spot the tell-tale signs and be there to help you before you push everyone away. Now, I don’t know the answer, I’m no expert but what I do know is that anxiety IS treatable. It could be a hormone imbalance, it could have been triggered by a death or trauma. Whatever it is you shouldn’t suffer in silence. Something CAN be done. Speak to your Doctor, talk to a friend or talk to a Samaritan.
The extra help you need
I’ve been reading quite a lot of blogs and books that are helping me along my journey, my best friend gave ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ to me the day before my flight to Auckland and has been a huge help in pushing me to achieve my goals and when fear creeps in. well, do it anyway! It’s a best-seller and a must read.
Oh, one other thing – Your dog. Your dog understands when you’re feeling down, let them comfort you. If you don’t want to talk yet, then spend your time cuddling your pet. You wouldn’t believe the number of times my dogs have had tears drop on their head. They raise your spirits when no one else can. It’s a proven FACT.