The second post of ‘What should Meghan write about?’, I have been asked to write about anxiety. Now anxiety is something that I experience in spades, bucket loads, shit loads. It can be completely disabling. And I don’t think that people who don’t experience it completely understand anxiety. There are so many aspects both physical and emotional.
When experiencing anxiety the physical symptoms can be quite awful but often go unnoticed. They include, a racing heartbeat, paralysis, hyperventilating or holding ones breath, dry mouth, shaking. Pretty scary, huh? The most distressing for me is the physical paralysis. Imagine you’re mind going into overdrive and not being able to move, not being able to breath properly and your heart is racing so fast. But you can’t move. It can be pretty scary.
The emotional and cognitive symptoms of anxiety include racing thoughts, catastrophising, voices, feeling like everyone is watching or judging you, fight or flight response. A common one for me is coffee shops. I go into a coffee shop, order my coffee and I notice all of the people everywhere. They’re talking about me, they’re yelling my name, all of them. I can’t get out soon enough. I always experienced a lot of anxiety around large groups of people. It’s for this reason that whenever I leave the house by myself I always listen to my ipod. It helps to block out the noise of other people.
Anxiety is such a life altering thing, as is any mental illness and it’s important to find ways to cope with it. Yeah, I have PRNs but I try not to use them too much. Instead I use things like my ipod as already mentioned. I try to avoid large crowds. I stay in when it’s feeling particularly bad. I try to use the mindfulness that I learnt in DBT therapy. I still have a long way to go in controlling my anxiety but I’m getting there, just by a little, day by day.