This is a post I am still unsure I am comfortable posting. However seeing as I read a lot of blogs that deal with this issue due to suffering with anxiety myself; I feel it may be of use to some people so they maybe don’t feel so alone. This is my personal experience. I don’t really know where to start to be honest. It began when I was in primary school (probably around year 6) where I found myself seeing things on the telly for example which would scare me but not for any particular reason. It would usually be things such as; health adverts, scenes in soaps, things in films or if not on the telly, it was things such as people talking about family members who had illnesses or posters around school or doctors offices. This then lead to me convincing myself I had all sorts of serious illnesses. It was not a nice time.
People suffer with anxiety in all different ways and lots of different things can trigger anxiety for different people. For me my anxiety caused panic attacks. A lot of people who have never had a panic attack tend to completely underestimate them. They are an awful experience to say the very least. They last around 20-25 minutes and can affect you in all different ways. Despite only lasting 20-25 minutes however, a lot of the time you can have a few minutes break and then another one comes along straight after you calm down slightly and this is ongoing until you are able to calm down completely and it passes.
Personally, I would typically experience; tight chest, feeling like my throat was closing over, pins and needles which usually lead to me hyperventilating or just not being able to move or the symptoms felt like they got worse. Panic attacks can make you feel all sorts of things but in no way can they actually hurt you or harm you despite them making you feel that way. The problem is, despite knowing this you cannot just snap out of it.
It got to the point where I would be up for hours at night, if family members took me and my sisters out for the day there were occasions where we all had to come home early because I had panicked about something and they were unable to calm me down. My closest friends had to know how to calm me down best as possible when I was out with them and during lessons when I first started secondary school I would often have to go to the nurses office due to something triggering a panic attack during lessons.
This got to the point where it was happening far too often (most of the time it was a few times a day) and my mum was in contact with the school about it. My mum then arranged for me to have counselling through the school for a while. I did find this helped me. It showed me different ways of attempting to calm myself down before a situation got out of hand.
Thankfully overtime I have managed to suppress my anxiety an awful lot compared to how it used to be. I do find myself suffering with panic attacks to this day and unfortunately I don’t believe I will ever fully rid myself of them. But there are now ways I can help myself a lot of the time before they escalate to an unhealthy level. I think people forget that it isn’t just the people suffering with anxiety that go through all of stress and everything that comes with it. I was lucky there were so many people around me willing to help and trying to understand. Despite having people around you wanting desperately to make you feel better, anxiety can and in most cases does make you feel very lonely and isolated.
The thing I most wanted to add to this post was a thank you. Although this may seem out-of-place in a blog post, I feel it is important for me to say it. The thank you is first of all for my Mum and Dad, who spent countless sleepless nights with me, calming me down during outings and generally doing everything they could to reassure me on a daily basis. The second is for my Grandma and Grandad, due to me spending a lot of time at their house staying over and generally being around them a lot, they did the same for me. They gave me reassurance again and kept my mind off of things that may have caused me to panic wherever possible. And last but in no way least is Ollie. He now spends every day with me and sees how anxious I can get a times. He stays calm when I am the furthest thing from it and looks after me when I don’t feel comfortable in a situation. Of course there are also thank you’s for all my other family members, friend’s school teachers etc that have helped me along the way.
Anxiety is an ongoing battle for many people and is often overlooked or classed as someone ‘over-reacting’ to a situation. If you are reading this as someone who also suffers with anxiety, do not be ashamed to speak out about it and ask for help. There are many people and places offering help and advice when dealing with anxiety. If you are someone reading this and do not suffer with it, you may know someone who does, or just want to be more aware of it. Please do not dismiss someone for ‘just panicking a lot’, offer some support or find ways you may be able to help someone in a situation they cannot get out of. If you are unable to do this, helping them find someone or something that helps them calm down is just as useful. Thank you for taking the time to read this post, it is something that I feel is important to speak about and for people to be aware of. Let me know your thoughts.
Until next time…