Every single one of us will experience anxiety in our lifetime. Some a lot more than others. It’s something that’s becoming a lot more recognised now, especially given the impacts of COVID.
I’ve had anxiety for a number of years. It will normally start to affect me when I think about something I have to do like leave the house or get in my car. My breathing will start to get faster, my palms will get sweaty and I’m overcome by a huge sense of fear. The more I think about something, the more anxious I will become.
I get anxious about a lot of things. I don’t enjoy flying – although I’ve got a lot better over the years. My anxiety levels on the days running up to a flight are off the chart. It makes me really grumpy and on edge. I get really anxious about going to a theme park as I don’t like rollercoasters. I get anxious at the thought of going on them. I get anxious about some of the things I do at work. Have I forgotten to do something? Did I send the wrong details to that person?
Then for me that’s when the overthinking starts – I always go to the worst case scenario and then the checking comes in to play. All the while my anxiety is sky high and doesn’t reduce until I move on.
A built in warning system
There is a purpose to Anxiety. These feelings are apparently our innate way of dealing with stress. It’s like the fight-or-flight saying. Anxiety is supposed to help protect us from danger and help us react faster to emergencies. When it came to our ancestors, the fight-or-flight response prepared humans to either attack back or flee from a life-threatening risk in the environment, such as a dangerous animal or climate condition.
So why does it make me feel so bad?
Well, I’m not a professional so I don’t know how to answer this question directly. It’s a question I often ask myself and I’ve been looking for the answer for years. My only conclusion to it (for myself anyway) is that my brain doesn’t know when to stop producing the anxiety hormones. It’s like a tap. You turn it on when you need it and turn it off when you don’t. My tap has a leak and doesn’t switch off when I need it to. So I need to get it fixed and that’s what I’m currently doing. It’s a pretty basic analogy but hopefully you understand what I’m trying to say! The fact that it’s actually there to protect us does give me some comfort. I am fully aware though that not being able to control it is very unhealthy.
Gaining an understanding of what anxiety is has definitely helped me. Knowledge is key. I know that it’s there to help protect but knowing how to control it is very important.
There have been a few points in my life where I have had full on anxiety attacks and it’s horrible. You feel like you cannot breath, like a concrete slab sat on your chest. You start to sweat and you feel like your losing all control. It also gives me a banging headache afterwards.
It can be your friend and it can be your foe but learn to control it and watch your confidence grow. ☺️
Thanks for reading.