Living with Anxiety

You are not alone...

Did you know that around 8 million people in the UK live with some form of anxiety disorder. That means approximately 1 in 6 people.

Whilst it’s common to feel moments of worry, fear, or panic when confronted with stressful situations, the challenge arises when these feelings occur unexpectedly or outside of stressful contexts. This shift from situational anxiety to a more generalised experience can be particularly distressing.

I distinctly remember the day anxiety entered my life. It was around seven years ago during a girls’ holiday, something that should have been a fun experience, unexpectedly transformed into a nightmare. I felt paralysed by an overwhelming sense of panic. I withdrew from my friends and spent most of the weekend confined to my room, crippled by the fear of judgement from others. Unfortunately, when I returned home, those feelings of panic didn’t fade away, they lingered, weeks turned in to months.

I often found myself wondering why it had happened then, at that specific moment. After all, I had faced numerous challenges throughout my life. Why did my mind and body decide to reach their breaking point during a holiday? I had come across the notion that a panic attack is like flicking a switch, and once you’ve had your first, it can lead to a recurring cycle. Your mind can mistakenly interpret various emotions as fear, triggering the automatic fight-or-flight response. Even the fluttering excitement of butterflies in your stomach could be enough to set off an attack. This is precisely what happened to me, and it persisted for months.

However, I eventually summoned my courage and took a step that I will always consider one of my bravest moments. I admitted that I wasn’t ok and that I needed help.

I found a therapist who played an instrumental role in helping me to turn my life around. They supported me in implementing coping strategies that paved the way for my recovery. This transformation in my life, thanks to their support, ignited a desire within me to helps others in the exact same way.

For the past 6 years, I’ve dedicated my spare time (outside of working full time) to training to become a counsellor. I officially earned my qualification two years ago and have continued to offer support to those in need.

In this post I’d like to share some personal insights into anxiety and the strategies that aided me on my journey to recovery.

Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety is not a one-size-fits-all condition. It comes in various forms, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and more. Each type has it’s own unique characteristics and symptoms, making it important for individuals to understand their specific condition to manage it effectively.

Causes and Triggers

Anxiety disorders can be triggered by a range of factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life experiences. It’s essential to acknowledge that there’s no single cause for anxiety, and it can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or background.

Common Symptoms

In its various forms, anxiety can manifest with a range of symptoms. These may include restlessness, rapid heartbeat, excessive sweating, trembling, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. Understanding these symptoms is a crucial step in recognising and addressing anxiety.

Impact on Daily Life

Anxiety can have a significant impact on a person’s daily life. It can interfere with work, relationships, and overall well-being. Individuals with anxiety may find it challenging to perform routine tasks or engage in social activities due to their condition. This can lead to feelings of frustration and isolation.

Seeking Help

The good news is that help is available for those living with anxiety. Therapy, medication, and self-help techniques can be effective means of managing anxiety. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, it’s essential to reach out to mental health professionals who can provide guidance and support.

Here are several effective methods to assist in managing anxiety:

Self-help Techniques

Mindfulness and Meditation

Grounding Techniques

Deep Breathing Exercises

Journaling and Expressive Writing

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Seeking Help

Professional Therapy

Talking to a Friend

Support Groups

Online Mental Health Resources

Lifestyle Changes

Regular Exercise

Getting Outside in Nature

Reducing Alcohol Consumption

Adequate Sleep

Balanced Diet

Living with anxiety is a reality for many, and it’s essential to raise awareness, provide support, and promote understanding. By acknowledging the diversity of anxiety disorders and encouraging open conversations, we can build a more compassionate and empathetic world. If you or someone you know is living with anxiety, remember that help is available, and there is hope for a brighter future.

Lots of Love Katie xx