Anxiety is such a conundrum and really difficult to understand or even explain
It can be frustrating for the sufferer and anyone around them as it’s often causes irrational behaviour and responses.
I was talking once with a friend who also suffers from anxiety. They were feeling that they couldn’t get their partner to understand what anxiety and panic attacks feel like. I said to me it was like having polar opposite feelings at the same time. It was wanting to surround yourself with people whilst wanting to be alone, it was wanting to be hugged whilst not wanting anyone to touch you, it was wanting to laugh when all you wanted to do was cry. It was like feeling every single emotion all at once, all at the same time, and not being able to understand which is the one you need.
Anxiety is like being a rock constantly being worn away by the sea until it finally disappears under the waves.
Everyone can feel anxious at times, no matter what walk of life you’re from. It’s natural when you’re confronted with something unknown or something you dislike for your body, mind or spirit to be wary and reluctant with it. Anxiety and panic attacks take that and add irrational behaviour into the mix. Like depression they can appear when you least expect them. Sometimes you know when it’s going to strike, what triggers it, so you can do something about it and prepare yourself so you can lessen the impact it’ll have on you and people around you.
Other times it just comes, messes with your mind, body and soul and will just leave you in a mess, tired, exhausted and confused with what to do next.
I’ve suffered with anxiety quite often since my mid teens. It’s been more common than depression. It’s left me feeling at times like I can’t leave the house, that I don’t particularly want to face anyone. Last year I started waking up with an anxiety attack as soon as I woke up in a morning. No matter where I was or what I was doing that day it would be there. I was asked was I stressed or worried about anything to which I replied I wasn’t. I’m a pretty relaxed, chilled kind of guy. There was no rationale behind it, it was just there. I did notice after a while though that the worse I slept the more likely I was to feel anxious, that it would more likely trigger something off. And even though I’m generally okay they still come and knock me down whenever they feel like it.
Not only that but I’d also suffer other attacks from it through the day. No matter where I was or what I was doing. It could appear at any time. I could be at work, out with my partner, sitting watching TV. It would just be there.
To me they’re odd as well as they’re pretty much different every time I have one. Generally though they have a few common factors. I get short of breath. Everything feels really ramped up internally. My hands become fidgety and twitchy, often scratching my hands. My jaw clamps really tight until I can feel my cheek muscles ache. There’s definitely a flight-or-fight feeling. They can be really hard to come out of. Up until recently I used different techniques to help overcome them. I’d listen to gentle music. I’d go somewhere quiet. I would hide away from people. I’d do deep breathing and relaxation techniques. I’d meditate. Sometimes they’d work, sometimes they wouldn’t.
Over the past few months I’ve started using EFT techniques. I was suggested them by a counsellor who’d started treating me. If you don’t know what they are, they’re either audio or video tracks and you have to tap on something, sometimes on things, sometimes yourself. You tap along at certain times or certain rhythms whilst you focus on the positive reinforcement message that’s being relayed. It sounds bizarre, and I’ll admit to being sceptical at first, but they worked for me. I’m hoping to go into them a bit more in a later blog but if you’re curious just do a search for EFT on YouTube. There’s a LOT of videos on there.
I’ve also been asked recently if you can have anxiety without being stressed. Yes, you can. Although the two can be strongly linked together they’re not mutually exclusive to each other. My anxiety isn’t stress related most of the time (although their have been times where it is) and I don’t have to be stressed to have an anxiety attack. But I can feel stressed because of an anxiety attack. Obviously that’s more linked with guilt that I’ve let someone down or that I’ve let this irrational thing take over me. They don’t have to coexist with each other all the time but they can.
With anxiety, it’s tough to deal with. I’m open about it as much as I can be around people. I think this helps me as people know that if I suddenly disappear or become unable to do something this is probably the reason why. I’m always mindful when I feel it coming to try and stop it, but sometimes I can’t. I think I’ve become better now with it and hopefully in the future it won’t be as often or severe. Only time will tell though.
Again, if you’d like to contact me about this out any of my other blogs drop me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Also, we’ve been able to set up a closed support group on Facebook, also called The Order Of The Dog. Just do a search and request to join. It’s not just for people who suffer from depression and other mental health issues, but it’s there to help support family members of sufferer’s or people who just want to educate themselves and get a better understanding. Please feel free to share this blog wherever you want.