- Mental Health»
- Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety Factsheet: The Sufferer's Response
Anxiety Factsheet - The Sufferers Response
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety to me is the condition that has been part of me since my teens but that I've only recognised and given the respect it deserves since my early thirties. It's debilitating, frustrating, upsetting, unsettling and more. The theory will tell you that the feeling can be turned in to a positive feeling and credit to anybody that can do that - I can't.
At my worst I can't leave the house, not necessarily out of any fear or feeling of doom but out of a complete lack of energy or drive. I can't put in to words exactly how it feels (not great in a blog, I know) but it's just a feeling of blurgh. It's such an uncomfortable feeling because it makes me question why I'm being so lazy, why I don't want to do things, why I have no energy. It makes me feel like I'm letting people down and I feel pressure to pretend I'm OK so that I don't make people worry about me. This of course then makes me worse.
I resent the anxiety that I suffer with because I feel that it has stopped me fulfilling my potential in many areas due to me avoiding challenges instead of embracing them. I was a keen footballer at a decent standard in my teens but trials were like hell on earth to me and I'd avoid the ball and not push myself so they were basically pointless. In my work life I've been fortunate enough to make it to a respectable level in terms of pay grade but my performance is way below what I know it could be.
In recent times I have learnt how to harness my anxiety much better and have learnt valuable coping techniques which I'll share in later posts. However I won't allow anybody to sugar coat anxiety - it's crap, I hate it and nobody will ever change my mind on that.
Fight or Flight
This is very recognisable to me and I am very much in the flight category for the majority of my time. At the smallest hint of a trigger, a decision needing to be made, new people to meet, new places to go - I fly. As soon as a trigger pops up my heart feels like it's going to burst out of my chest, my breathing gets shallow and I struggle to catch a breath. My limbs will become weak and my shoulders, I've been told by my wife, visibly slump. My immediate thoughts turn to how I can escape this situation, certainly not how I can fight it.
Since I've started to get to grips with my condition I have started to recognise the fight response in me and it feels good. For over 15 years it wasn't there but now I can see it creeping in.
Your mental health can improve, you just have to give it the time and belief it needs to to do so.
I touched on my symptoms above and unfortunately they don't end there, in fact I discover more and more all the time. My main ones are:
- Extreme feeling of discomfort, nervousness, unease & agitation
- Shortness of breath, needing to take deep breaths often to correct my breathing
- What feel like heart palpitations (I've had EPGs and my heartbeat is regular)
- Extreme fatigue and tiredness, heavy limbs
Other symptoms include:
- Dry irritable skin
- Short temper
- Increased bowel movements
- Concentration problems
- Lack of motivation
- Overly emotional
I've separated the symptoms in to two because the first list are the more extreme ones, the more instant and uncomfortable ones. The second list however are pretty crap too, the dry skin really gets me down and I'm constantly trying to overcome my concentration and motivation problems which really cause me problems working.