Good morning! So this is the beginning of a series of blog posts that mean a lot to me that I am affectionately nicknaming The Anxiety Chronicles. I have suffered with anxiety all my life and Ive only in the last year enjoyed a life where it didn’t have complete control over me. I won’t lie and say it didn’t take a lot to get here, which is why I want to write these posts. I hope, with a bit of inspiration from me, you can see that theres more to life than your anxiety, and you can achieve your dreams in spite of it. So welcome to chapter one of this series – Recognising The Problem.
So What is Anxiety?
According to the hse.ie symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder include:
- a sense of dread
- feeling “on edge”
- difficulty concentrating
- muscle tension
- disturbed sleep
- a strong, fast or irregular heartbeat
- muscle aches and tension
- trembling or shaking
- a dry mouth
- excessive sweating
- a shortness of breath
- stomach ache
- feeling sick
- a headache
- pins and needles
- difficulty falling or staying asleep
These are the most common symptoms, but obviously it is different on a case by case basis. It is also worth noting that there is a difference between feeling anxious and having an anxiety disorder. If you get anxious before tests, you probably don’t need to worry. If you have any of the above symptoms on a regular basis, you might want to look into anxiety. There are so many resources online, as well as helplines, group chats and online forums.
My Experience with Anxiety
I have had anxiety from a very young age, but it wasn’t actually diagnosed until I was 19 and at breaking point. I remember being young and never wanting to leave my mothers side, having to be tricked into leaving her at playschool by being taken to see the farm animals. It only got worse from here, with the anxious feeling growing day by day, second by second. I remember sitting on my school bag one day in junior infants because I didn’t have a chair and I was too scared to ask for one. Sports were a nightmare for me, made worse by my classmates never wanting me on their team because I was “useless”. I had two best friends and I was so jealous they got along as I was terrified of being replaced. Id go to school praying in the car the whole time that my teacher would be in, knowing if she wasn’t we’d be split between other classes and they would be together and theyd become better friends and forget me. I remember driving my friends crazy in the morning with “are you wearing a skirt or trousers” texts because I was so scared to be different. Secondary school was so much worse, I don’t think I talked at all in first year apart from to maybe one person. I would feel sick in the mornings at the mere thought of going, I would pretend to be sick so often that my parents found it pointless to even send me. I had a public breakdown in second year at the height of my self harming, yet I continued to suffer in silence. It took an ultimatum from my boyfriend to even make me consider getting help. Id never admit it to him but that appointment was the best thing that ever happened to me. I spent years not admitting to anyone that I needed help, I don’t know if I was embarrassed or just in denial but once you take that first step you’ll never look back.
When does Anxiety Become a Problem?
Mild forms of anxiety are often bearable enough to live with, you might not even realise you have an issue. But when does it become a problem?
Everyones breaking point is different, but we can all recognise the point where we have to look in the mirror and say enough is enough. The most common realisation symptoms include:
- Not sleeping or sleeping all the time
- Not being able to leave the house out of fear
- Not being able to eat
- Avoiding social interaction
- Constant feelings of paranoia
- Panic or anxiety attacks
So now we know the symptoms of anxiety, and hopefully it makes you more aware of your own situation and those around you. Recognising the problem is the first step towards improving your situation. I hope you stick around for the next chapter of this story which will revolve around getting help. If you’re interested, we now have a subscribe function on the site which will email you when we make a new post!
Until then, I hope you have an amazing day. Please remember you are loved, and whatever youre going through, you’ll get through it. I believe in you.
Lots of love,