Thursday, 17 May 2018

KICKING ANXIETY’S BUTT


I basically should be writing an essay that is due on Tuesday right now, but I thought I’d write up a quick post about anxiety! I am putting an exclamation after that because I am feeling anxious right now, yep! And! It! Feels! Like! Everything! Is! Heightened! And! A! Big! Deal! – If anxiety was a piece of punctuation (can you say 'a piece of' punctuation?) it would definitely be an exclamation mark.

I have had anxiety since I was in primary school, maybe as young as the age of six or seven. I have never been officially diagnosed by a doctor, however, through bloggers and social-media-awareness of mental health, I was able to self-diagnose. Unlike other people that I know, because I have suffered from anxiety for such a significant proportion of my life, I didn’t realise that it wasn’t normal to feel as though your senses are on fire and your stomach is pancake-flipping randomly. I thought everybody felt the same. However, I did not start experiencing panic attacks (which are pretty much mini breakdowns combined with an asthma attack sort of feeling) until I was about fourteen. Side note: I also suffer from asthma. God, I have such enviable genes.

What have we learnt so far? 1. Georgie is full of mental health problems. 2. Georgie is full of physical problems. 3. I am a walking problem. 

Because I have dealt with anxiety, unintentionally, for so long, I have managed to strategize and come up with ways to keep anxiety under my belt (she says, whilst wearing a dress). Just a little disclaimer: all the things I am about to list are techniques and tips that help ME personally, they may or may not work for you. 

1.    BREATHE
Breathing. It is such a simple technique but also one of the most effective ones in controlling anxiety. It sounds stupid really, because, of course, you are breathing. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be alive. However, it is a well-known fact that by breathing slowly and deeply, you both allow your body to get the oxygen it needs but also your heart-rate slows down! You physically RELAX which is what we want our body to be doing when we are feeling like the world is coming at us like a full speed train without brakes.

Anxiety IS a physical experience, not just a mental one. By getting our body to slow down, we are also getting our mind to, too. 

2.    GO EASY ON THE OLD CAFFEINE
Like the breathing, we are trying to get our body to relax and slow down! NOT speed up, which is what caffeine does to us. Caffeine is my worst enemy, I am currently paying the price for forgetting to ask for decaf in a coffee shop. But at least I am drawing on the positives on my mistake by writing this post hey?! My body is particularly receptive to caffeine, I drink decaf tea at home (which does not taste any different to caffeinated tea) and try to ask for decaf when I am out. I would go as far as saying that I am able to recognise caffeinated tea or coffee as one of my ‘triggers’ for anxiety now. So, KEEP CLEAR people! It’s a dangerous drug, especially for those with anxiety.

3.    DISTRACT YOURSELF
This is the strategy that I struggle with the most when I am in an ‘anxiety-episode,’ as I like to call it. It can be difficult to think or talk about something that isn’t your paranoid thoughts and beating heart. However, FORCE YOURSELF TO FIND SOMETHING. I do not say that lightly, the more you focus on how ‘out of control’ you feel, the more you will panic. For me, when I focus intently on my anxiety, I often spiral into a series of panicky thoughts which leads me to have a full-frontal panic attack. It has happened in public many, many times before, which is not ideal. However, if you have your phone on you then maybe look up a funny video (Would I Lie to You? Is my absolute favourite program, and just one clip of Lee Mack and David Mitchell saying something ridiculous will distract me). If you’re in conversation with someone, tell them. Say to them directly “I am very anxious right now, please can we talk about something to distract me.” I know it’s hard and, can be, very embarrassing, but if that person is your friend then they will be able to help you!

4.    TALK TO SOMEONE
If you are finding these tips unhelpful or if you cannot manage your anxiety by yourself, go and speak to someone. I have been to one-to-one counselling – just for one-off sessions when I needed it – and found that it has really helped me. Sometimes when you are feeling highly anxious every day, there may be a reason that isn’t even apparent to yourself until you talk it out with someone. One of the reasons that put me off counselling initially was the idea that you had to commit to ten plus sessions or something! But that’s not true, at all. You can just book yourself in for the odd one, or, if necessary, you can go weekly.

5.    LEAVE THE ROOM
Sometimes, when my thoughts are running around my head at Usain Bolt speed, and I am surrounded by lots of people, voices, noise; leaving the room is the best thing that I can do. Just leave. Say you’re going for a wee if you have to, but leave. When you’re feeling highly charged and out of control internally, it is better to be in a more externally controlled environment. Being in a quiet or less crowded place will encourage you to listen to yourself and what you need. Breathe (refer to tip 1). And try your best to physically calm down. Then you can go back into the room when you are feeling more at ease.

Remember, your mental health is equally as important as your physical health. Would you leave a broken leg broken and just limp around when you could access a wheelchair or crutches at the hospital?

You are important. You deserve to put your mental health first.


Love, George xx



SHARE:

No comments

Post a comment

Blogger Template Created by pipdig