Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Let's Talk Anxiety...



Hey everyone, I was going to share more of my holiday photos today (don't worry, they'll be posted tomorrow instead!)... but instead I decided to finally write a post that has been playing on my mind for some time. 

You may remember a few weeks ago that I posted a brief little snippet, telling you that I'd been feeling pretty down. Well, thankfully things are on the up and in general I'm feeling much better, but I felt I owed you more of an explanation.

The reason I'm talking about this today is because in the last few months, my anxiety has been at its peak... and unfortunately, people just don't understand. My family is full of people who suffer with anxiety, and yet even they don't understand at times. My boyfriend, bless his heart, often doesn't know what to do with me when I'm crying my eyes out over something that may never happen. My friends keep their distance, and they didn't really know what to say when I told them I was considering counselling. And do you know what? That's okay. I don't expect them to understand, because they don't suffer from it themselves. The point of this post, is to try and help those people to understand. Perhaps you have a particularly anxious sibling, or friend, or boyfriend/girlfriend, and maybe reading this post will help you to understand how they might be feeling.

I am what you might call a "worry-wart". I am naturally pessimistic, anxious and prone to bouts of melancholy. Now that I think about it, I don't think I would go so far as to say that I have suffered from depression, but I definitely do feel very down on occasions and it's all linked to my anxiety. Firstly, I want to make clear that anxiety and depression are very different things. Either one can be a contributing factor to the other, and you can suffer from them both at the same time, but they are not the same.

I suffer primarily with anxiety, which fluctuates between being manageable and being very severe. Anxiety is defined in the dictionary as being "a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome"; this is something that is totally normal and a little worry in your life won't hurt you. In fact, some specialists argue that nerves and worry in small amounts is actually good for you, as it motivates you to achieve and succeed.

However, when you suffer from anxiety, the feelings of worry become overwhelming, and they often culminate in panic attacks. It's hard to describe how awful a panic attack really is, to someone who hasn't had one. For me, I start to feel very faint and as if my brain is sort of sloshing around in my head. Then I start to shake, my heart races and my throat feels like it's closing up... which triggers the hyperventilating. The only thing I can do to help myself is pace up and down, sip water and take controlled breaths of fresh air. Panic attacks can only last around 20 minutes at most (that's the longest the body can stay in that high alert, panicked state) but you can go on to have one after the other in quick succession. What triggers an attack can depend on the sufferer; for me it can be anything from waiting for exam results, a plane journey, a long drive by myself to an unknown place or even just an imagined scenario in my head that panics me. Lately, a trip my boyfriend is taking in December is the main source of my anxiety and panic.

I don't know what makes someone more likely to suffer from anxiety. According to the experts it's more common in girls than in boys, and occurs most often in bright people who put a lot of pressure on themselves. I must admit, I am my own worst critic and this doesn't help with my anxious thoughts. What I can say for certain, is that we anxious people can't help it... it's part of who we are and it really isn't as simple as just "getting over it", "manning up" or forcing ourselves to "not be so irrational". I wish I could be different, but the thing that has helped me the most is accepting that I am a bit of a weirdo a very anxious person, accepting that there will be days when I just can't deal with anything, and accepting that sometimes I will stay in bed in tears over the fact that sometimes life is just very overwhelming.

I recently watched a video by Zoe Sugg where she was very candid, in tears, talking about how sometimes things are just too hard. It was like looking into a mirror, and although I felt sad that she was so upset, it was also refreshing to see a YouTuber be so honest with their viewers. There are several great YouTubers like this; Gracie from UglyFaceOfBeauty talks so honestly about her battles with depression, and Meg from WonderfulYou really touched me recently with her video on body confidence.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you suffer with anxiety, you're not alone. And more than that, I know I made a little joke about it earlier, but you're NOT weird. So many people suffer with this, which is of course a shame, but it also goes to show that you're not odd, or different, or crazy... you're really not.

I know this post has been all over the place, I just really wanted to address this issue on my blog, and add my voice to the crowd. If you have any questions don't hesitate to leave a comment, or send me a message through any of my social networks (they're all in the sidebar).

I hope you're all well,

8 comments:

  1. Well done Chloe, this is a very courageous post! I suffer from depression and anxiety. It would mean alot to me if you checked out my blog, it has a post regarding my experience with mental health. www.my-messy-journal.blogspot.co.uk THANKYOU!

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    1. I've always read your blog, I thought I was following it! Will go and have a look now :) xx

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  2. Very braze post, and a really interesting one to read as well! x

    Beauty Soup || UK Beauty Blog

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  3. Really informative, it's good that you feel able to talk about things now. I don't know if you knew but I had quite bad depression in college and it still flares up occasionally, along with a touch of anxiety, so I empathise quite a bit with this. It has really helped me in uni having more friends that have gone through similar things that I can be more open with and who understand if I seem 'off'. Hope you're doing ok and things aren't worrying you too much! :) xx

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    1. No I didn't know, sorry you've had a rough time too :( xx

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  4. Loved this you totally get how I feel. I have recently been suffering from anxiety this year with medical problems and so on and I find I seem to have like "sticking points" which are things that I worry about constantly and even though there is really no way they can happen or a very unlikely chance, I worry about it all the time and it's harder to get over these things in comparison to other worries! Do you have these?:')xx

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  5. Thank you so so much for posting this, really touched me. I'm suffering with anxiety and depression so bad at the moment and it's so hard to talk about and people just don't understand. I'm so lucky I have a few really close friends who do get it, my best friend I don't know what I'd do without his patience! Wish I could remember that i'm not alone more often xo
    amber love

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Thankyou for commenting! I read them all and always try to reply xx