Heart racing, loss of breathing, sweaty mess, no i’m not talking about working out. I’m talking about anxiety. I used to be one of those people who wouldn’t understand how and why some people felt the way they did when they got anxious. I used to be one of those inconsiderate people who expected sufferers to ‘man up and get over it’. When it’s really not that simple. Until you experience anxiety it’s hard to understand what people are going through. It affects everyone differently. Its affects 1 in 5 people, to different severities. So don’t worry, you are not alone.
Anxiety, by definition, is ‘a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome’ but for many people it can take a bigger hit on their lives. Anxiety happens to everyone, yes everyone, but for that 1 in 5, anxiety will occur more regularly than the average person. Guess what! Women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders and research suggests that it most commonly affects under 35’s.
There are lots of different symptoms. Some physical and some psychological. It’s very hard to tell if someone is getting anxious as everyone deals with it differently. Personally, i know when i’m anxious as i just feel very lost, worried, overthink anything even the smallest of things and i get very irritable with people. When i first started suffering with anxiety i found it extremely hard to do anything. Even the things i used to love doing became torture. I would get severe panic attacks in my place of work, shut down completely and just hide away. Which i guess didn’t really help, but i felt embarrassed to talk to people about it. At it’s worst, i really didn’t know what to do, not being able to control it made things worse for me. It could last for anything from 5 minutes to 5 hours.
When i started to talk more about it and let people know i was suffering it became a lot easier. People would know that i wasn’t being rude, i just needed to be alone. It was easier for everyone. I was determined not to be put on any prescribed medication so i knew i needed to do something about it. I found that writing a journal really helped me to relieve my anxiety. I could get all my worries out and feel like i wasn’t burdening people, most the time the worry was small and i’d blown it out of proportion, by writing it down got it off my chest.
Singing a song or a nursery rhyme also really helped me. Might sound silly to start singing twinkle twinkle little star, but it takes your mind off the thing you are worrying about. It’s that constant thinking about it which makes anxiety worse, as simple as it sounds, singing a song in your head or out loud will take your mind off the problem, sing as loud as you can people!!
Take a deep breath. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Just breathe. Focus on that breathing and where you can feel it in your body. Nothing else matters apart from that single breath. Focus on what you are doing right now. This very second. Don’t think about what you are doing in an hours time, or a days time or even a weeks time. Focusing on the now and living for that precise second is what matters. I found that sometimes in the morning i would panic about what i had to do later that day. But instead, i just re-focused on what i was doing at that precise moment. Weather i was brushing my teeth, eating my breakfast, driving, whatever it was, it had my full attention and stopped me from over thinking.
Exercise went from my favourite thing to do, to something that actually tortured me. I lost my love for it. Whenever i trained i felt anxious and paranoid, like i couldn’t breathe. Otherwise known as panic attacks! It was horrible. Didn’t help with my job as a full time personal trainer. I was on a strict training regime at the time and it just made me worse. So i took myself off that structured routine and just did my own thing and got the love back. I trained outside of where i worked and just realised how much it makes me feel good again! It really is my heaven now. It’s somewhere i can escape and just completely zone out and not have a care in the world. Exercise is known for releasing endorphins, so if you don’t do any form of it at the moment, give it a try when you are anxious, go for a walk, and it’ll help, i promise you that!!
As much as it’s easier said then done, don’t avoid the situation. So many times i have been anxious about a situation or event thats about to happen that i either avoid or cancel. This isn’t the answer. As the next time the same situation arises you will get twice as anxious as before. You can’t avoid life. You need to enjoy yourself and not let the anxiety take over. If you follow my steps above it’ll help you to get on with the situation in hand, or event that is planned. Most importantly, BREATHE. Focus on what you are doing at that precise moment. You will be able to continue with little worry and get through it. I can’t stress that enough, you can do this.
Lastly, what i found to help in really bad situations, when i was finding it really difficult to deal with the anxiety, is a product called Kalms. I don’t know it if’s just a placebo but it definitely helps. I felt more relaxed and tended not to worry about things as much. Kalms is a herbal medicinal remedy which you take in tablet form. Sometimes, as much as i tried to control the anxiety nothing seemed to help, i found that by taking Kalms relaxed me enough to then control the remaining worries. I’m not a lover of taking pills…of any sort! I like to think that i can get through it on my own and just deal with it, but sometimes a little help is needed. There is nothing to feel ashamed about for getting some help, it’s needed at times. On some occasions, when i knew i had a busy day or something was happening which i wasn’t overly excited about, i would take a Kalms in the morning so it rested my mind, preventing any worries that were going to set in. I didn’t want to feel any worry. In my days where i was struggling a lot more, i would take Kalms, just one tablet, then i would feel at ease. I know i previously mentioned i didn’t like taking medication but i look at these differently. They aren’t something you have to get prescribed, you can buy these in your local chemist or supermarket. I see it more in lines with Lemsip or something like that you know! I wouldn’t say it was medication…personally. To find out more about Kalms click here.
Anxiety is something that everyone goes through. Everyone. Just certain people suffer with it in more severities. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone about feeling anxious. Do something that makes you happy and helps you to relieve the worry. You are not alone.
If you don’t suffer with anxiety but know someone that does, be there for them. Don’t be the person i was and just expect people to ‘man up’! That is probably the worst thing you can say to someone struggling with anxiety.
If you want to talk to someone, comment below.