Anxiety isn’t just black or white. Different people will experience different anxieties and anxiety itself is split into different areas. For some reason society seems to think that those who have anxiety are either over reacting or having constant panic attacks. Whilst some people may have constant attacks this isn’t the same for everyone. Anxiety attacks come in all shapes and sizes, not all of them will be obvious. Other forms of anxiety attacks can be:
- Unpredictable bouts of rage and irritability
- Zoning out and staring into space, forgetting whats going on around you
- Not talking
- Talking so quickly that you begin to stumble over words
- Obsessive behaviour
Commonly people describe their anxiety attacks to have the following symptoms: Chest pains, a racing pulse, shortness of breath, dizziness, feeling like they are trapped inside their body etc. These commonly last up to 20 minutes, however, exposure to the place or thing that caused anxiety can heighten anxious thoughts. People with anxiety often have trouble sleeping and may suffer from other illnesses such as depression.
Despite anxiety having many triggers, the majority of the time it decides to show up unexpectedly. Personally, I suffer with Social Anxiety Disorder, which means I often find social interactions very stressful. Whilst I tend not to have panic attacks, my heart will race rapidly and I will start to feel dizzy or fidget a lot. Sometimes I know why my anxiety has been triggered but more often then not, I dont. My triggers are things that seem so simple to others, yet for me, I will have to psych myself up to do these things.
Some of my personal triggers are:
- Being scared to answer phone calls from people i’m not super close with and hating to ring people or companies. If and when I do have to ring people I will rehearse what I have to say over and over again. And once I have hung up I will go over what I said over and over again
- Meeting someone in a busy place where I have to search for them, in particular a pub/coffee shop. For some reason this fills me with dread and I physically can’t force myself to walk through the door. So please if we ever meet, wait outside.
- Mess. My room can get super messy, however, being in a messy environment makes me super irritable and stressed. It can make me shut down. Which is annoying since I struggle to keep my room tidy. But the same is said, for messy kitchens or public bathrooms. If there is any mess I will avoid them as much as possible.
- Food. Eating out at restaurants is horrible because I’m a super fussy eater and I feel judged for being picky or leaving things. I’m also a nightmare when cooking food because i’m constantly worried I will get food poisoning so will often over cook food.
- Counting my money ten times before paying for something. I don’t know why I do this. I just don’t feel comfortable if I don’t.
- Asking for something. For some reason having to ask questions makes my heart race, I worry about how to word it and how to approach the person. So if I ever ask you to ask someone something for me, it’s not because I am lazy, it’s because I don’t feel as if I can.
Its having your heart race after answering one small question in class, it’s being scared to be even a minute late to class because everyone will look at you, it’s not being able to knock on a door. It’s irrational worries that make everyday life harder then it needs to be. Social Anxiety is being constantly uncomfortable in social interactions, it’s constantly worrying about being judged or evaluated by others whilst doing the most mundane tasks. Anxiety sucks and people not understanding anxieties sucks even more.
If you have anxiety just remember that you aren’t alone. It’s a daily struggle and it’s hard but every time you do one thing that your anxiety is telling you not to, be proud of yourself because it takes a lot. And if you know someone who is going through anxiety, try and understand them and never make them feel stupid for asking you to help them do something that may seem so simple, even asking you for help may have taken so much courage. Like always when I speak about health related things, I will leave links down below where you go to for support or for extra information. I’m also going to leave a link to my pinterest board which is full of different posts about what social anxiety feels like.
I hope this post has shed some light on what anxiety feels like. If you are suffering for any similar symptoms then know you are not alone and please reach out for someone. Don’t suffer in silence.
The Samaritans: http://www.samaritans.org/
What to do when anxiety hits: http://diondiane.co.uk/2016/09/05/what-to-do-when-panic-hits-anxiety/
Where to find me: