My life is good. I have a loving network of family and friends around me. I love my work. I manage financially. I am fit. I have hobbies. I write. I have a full life. I am healthy. But am I?
This is what my anxiety is about. Health. This is what happens to me. I have a symptom; racing heart, tingling on my tongue, lump on my toe, pain around my ribs. All symptoms that can be attributed to something innocent, but not for me, MY symptoms are serious, probably life threatening. I then dwell on these symptoms, imagining the worse. As my anxiety increases, unsurprisingly, so do my symptoms. This then becomes the next 4,5,6,7 or 8 days worrying about what’s wrong with me, until the symptoms just disappear, or I give in and go to the GP for reassurance.
In some ways I am lucky with my anxiety (I’m writing this on a good day!!). I manage to function normally, being a Mum, being a partner, working, running the house (though maybe not cleaning, but I can’t blame the anxiety for that!). Anxiety doesn’t stop doing things; I generally don’t let it. I know for some anxiety sufferers that this is a place they’d love to be with their anxiety; I know how debilitating it can be. So for that I feel grateful.
In my head, although on the outside I am functioning well, a lot of the time on the inside it’s a different story. I obsess. I worry. I spend a lot of time being frightened. I fear the worse. I catastrophise. It’s tiring! I also struggle with the selfishness I perceive that I have; it’s all about me after all!
I do have my ways of coping and helping to alleviate my anxiety. If I don’t exercise, I feel worse. I think this would be one of my biggest positive step tips to others suffering with stress, anxiety or depression. Get out there and exercise. A walk, a jog, the gym, a team sport; anything physical that you enjoy. For me it is being outside, running or walking. My state of mind is totally different after I’ve exercised. Truly, you must try this if you haven’t already.
My other coping strategies are yoga, meditation, practising mindfulness, practising gratitude, writing a bullet journal. I also started blogging about my anxiety in June 2016. The thing I have realised is that these strategies should become day-to-day activities, just part of normal life. I think that helps to alleviate the frequency of bouts of anxiety, and keep everything in check.
One of the main reasons I started blogging was to try and help others. When I woke in the middle of the night with an anxiety attack, and couldn’t calm myself down, I’d head for my Ipad and write in “helping anxiety”, “how to get rid of anxiety”, I found that not a lot came up that helped me. I needed something immediate to try, something to ease my panic NOW. So I started writing about the things I have found help me. None of them have “cured” me, but it helps, and I hope by writing my ideas and thoughts that I might help maybe one person to get some relief.
My last piece of advice;
Be gentle with yourself, you are doing the best you can, and that is enough.
Amy Blythe is the author of Shamelessly Me, blogging her journey with anxiety. She uses it to help herself, in a cathartic way, to live with the anxiety that she faces but also to help others. For more information, check out her website!
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