This is a personal blog post about my relationship with anxiety.
Anxiety and I have only known each other properly for a couple of years now. Before I had some anxiety but in what would be normal situations for anxiety to arise, for example, job interviews or my graduation ceremony. Maybe my anxiety was more acute than other people’s but I could find a reason for it and know it was manageable and/or would only last so long,
Two years ago this all started to change. My anxiety wasn’t just about certain events any more. Everything made me anxious. Getting up in the morning was greeted by a wave of anxiety so strong it would make me physically sick. Sleep was distorted and I was exhausted all the time by the constant feeling that things weren’t “right”. There was no real reason for this anxiety. I could not pin point any one direct cause.
Then came my first full on panic attack. I don’t think I have ever felt so scared in my life. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, which only added to the panic. My chest was tight and I was shaking so much that I ended up at my GP as an emergency. Luckily my GP was brilliant and brought it under control before having me sit with a nurse for twenty minutes. They taught me techniques on how to control my breathing for when I had another attack. I was very lucky to be seen while having my panic attack and was also given some medicine to use as and when I felt extremely anxious.
This was the start of getting my anxiety more under control and not letting it take over my life, as it had started to do so already. I needed at the time to be with someone constantly and simple tasks were impossible without the aid of someone else.
So what changed? For me it was a change in my situation and a lot of time working on not letting the anxiety stop me. This was made easier with a lot of support from close family and friends. Some things were still impossible; I missed two good friends’ wedding due to not being able to travel alone. But things have improved.
Two years on I still get anxiety about going out alone and travelling alone but it doesn’t cripple me entirely. I manage to do it even after being very ill in the run up to a major outing. I still find certain places, like shopping centres, too daunting to be on my own at, unless I go incredibly early on when there are fewer people. And some days I get anxious for no reason what so ever. Those are the days I hate anxiety and what it takes from me and the people around me.
Anxiety is a hard diagnosis to live with, but it is doable. It’s not the end of the world. If you’re living with anxiety I salute you and I will tell you it does get easier