Anxiety sufferers:10 things you may relate to
If you've never had anxiety, it might be hard to understand how it can impact your daily life. Here are some things that I've experienced. Maybe you can relate?
Anxiety is one of those things that is often not spoken about, and generally can’t be seen by those from the outside. An invisible illness, if you will. And while it might feel all-consuming to the person experiencing it; the world seems to just keep on turning uninterrupted.
If you’ve never experienced it before, then the concept of being overwhelmed by anxiety is probably pretty weird. "Surely you can just get over it? What do you mean you can’t leave the house today? Don’t be ridiculous."
I’ve heard them all. But in my experience, when you explain how it actually feels to people, understanding usually breeds compassion.
Of course, anxiety is different for everyone. Mental health is a complex beast, but these are the things that seem to make life challenging for me. Maybe you can relate?
1. Sometimes it feels like there is an elephant sitting on my chest. It’s heavy, it stops me from breathing and squashes all the air from my lungs. It’s rather rude, and won’t move without a good poke.
2. My stomach is often the first place to feel it; a sensitive creature at the best of times, anxiety can add nausea, vomiting, and just general upset to the mix.
3. Anxiety is a bit like a toddler: demanding of my attention, it doesn’t really know what it wants and often wakes me up in the middle of the night to talk about something meaningless that happened months ago.
4. Some days my heart races in a way that convinces me I’m having a heart attack, and before you know it I’ve talked myself into a full blown panic attack; complete with sweaty palms, dry mouth and shaking hands.
5. There is an internal voice that comments on most things I do; it’s kind of whiny, very critical and repeats itself constantly. You can bet if you tell me 10 positive things, and one negative thing, it will be that single bad thing that this voice is repeating to me over and over again.
6. Sometimes my head fills with cotton wool. A numbness takes over, and trying to complete basic tasks is akin to being dropped in a giant maze, with no clear signage on how to get out.
7. There are days when it’s just a general feeling of unease and dread. Nothing specific. Just something. But not really anything. But maybe something.
8. I can take social awkwardness to a whole new level. Before you’ve even finished introducing yourself, I’ve already worried about how I’ll probably inadvertently offend you and you’ll never want to speak to me again. Always a good start.
9. There are times when anxiety feels like a pressure cooker; it builds and builds, and then seemingly unexpectedly, comes out in bouts of irritability, snappiness and irrationality.
10. You’d be surprised at how tiring constant unjustified worrying is, and when combined with the sleep lost to replaying conversations from three years ago, I’m often exhausted. Naps aren’t just for toddlers.
While thankfully I’m not someone who experiences all of these things at once (how terrifying would that be?) it’s not uncommon for me to feel at least one or two of them regularly. Speaking to others, I know I’m not alone, even if the specifics vary.
And with stats telling us that about one in three people will suffer from anxiety at some point in their lives, it’s probably worth remembering that old saying… “be kind, for everyone is fighting a battle that no-one else can see”.
For more on what anxiety feels like, check out our video below!You might also like our article 'What to do when panic attacks!'.
Alternatively, visit here for additional Blue Room resources about anxiety.