Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Anxiety: When is Your Worry A Worry?

Good morning.

As anyone who has read my blog before will know, anxiety has had a massive impact on my life and my future plans.
Now everyone worries because a little bit of worry is what protects us and gets us through life. But worry shouldn't prevent you from doing what you want or love or be at the front of your mind in every single situation. Sometimes, worrying too much can become a worry.

Anxiety has many branches and takes on many forms. It's a different experience for everyone.

I personally suffer with social anxiety (mainly) which means I find social situations very uncomfortable. Even the every day tasks like going shopping or working are impossible. The fear of being judged or stared at is overwhelming.
Its really hard for others to understand just how hard it is to cope with anxiety.
For "normal" people, things like making a phone call or popping down the shop are simple tasks that don't require a second thought but for me...well they're more than difficult.
It's fair to say that I haven't been able to be a normal teenager and a sense of grief just adds to the anxiety.
I briefly studied psychology at college before I left. I learnt about our safety mechanisms and ways we can overwork them. In essence, the ins and outs of these types of disorders and the therapies used to treat them. So ironic.

Another problem is the lack of awareness and acceptability.
I recently read an article that slated Zoe Sugg (a very successful blogger and YouTuber) for 'taking the easy way' as regards her anxiety and I was both offended and disappointed that people still think like that.
Anxiety is not a choice. It isn't an easy way out EVER!
I still find myself getting embarrassed when I mention or speak about my problems and situations like that don't help.
In a way, I have to smile when someone is ignorant or doesn't understand anxiety because they obviously haven't had to deal with it or witness it either. Lucky them.

So what is anxiety? 

Anxiety is something we have to keep us safe. Anxiety is completely natural but sometimes (more often than you'd think) our bodies overuse our fight or flight mechanism causing us to constantly worry over many things for no reason*. This is when anxiety becomes a problem.

*It's worth noting here that I'm talking about General Anxiety Disorder. For other branches of anxiety signs, symptoms and treatments all vary. 

Anxiety disorders can lead to unrealistic thought processes and irrational thinking. It isn't the thoughts alone that cause a day to day problem but the physical symptoms that accompany them. 
Symptoms of anxiety can be:
  • feelings of dread with no cause
  • hot flushes
  • tension in the muscles
  • dizziness 
  • cramps
  • increased sweating
  • rapid heart beat
  • irritable and unapproachable
  • hyperventilating 
  • sleeping problems or restlessness 
  • headaches
  • unable to switch off
  • nausea
  • feeling detached from the world and things around you
  • avoidance of situations that make you uncomfortable  

and remember that anxiety effects everyone differently so there are no real guidelines when it comes to self diagnosis. Just because you have a few of the symptoms and worry a little more than usual, it doesn't automatically mean you have an anxiety disorder. But if you do notice little signs that you can relate to, make an appointment with you GP and go from there. 
If you have a few minutes spare then you can take Anxiety Test which can help you identify any possible anxiety symptoms and also gives you topics to mention to your doctor if you have made an appointment. 

An effective treatment of anxiety is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. 
You'll be able to speak to someone who can understand and actually help you (which is nice on it's own) as well as learning ways to relax and cope with tense situations that can trigger anxiety attacks. 

There are also ways you can help yourself. 

A change in diet and a good exercise plan can really improve your health and well being both mentally and physically. Feeling good about yourself is a great way to think positive and stay motivated. Exercise is great for burning off the days stresses and worries. Try going for a run or walking the dog or if you have a lot of built up anger, maybe boxing is your thing. 

Another thing that has been highly recommended to me is Bach's Herbal remedies. 
Now I have to admit that I was a little skeptical and have yet to try them but the variety is amazing. 
There are many different herbs and methods of consumption. 

The flower remedies are all for different purposes whether you find yourself burning out after a long day or if you over think a lot, there's a remedy that's right for you. 

Chewing Gum from Holland and Barrett.
Flower Remedy from Holland and Barrett
More information and Products from the Nelson's Natural World website.

Something that I try to do is cope with the symptoms of anxiety.
I often have sleepless nights as I can't quite switch off so I tried many products that claim to aid the natural sleep process (avoid sleeping pills like the plague. They can be highly addictive and not good in the long run).
One thing I really loved was the Sleep Therapy range from Planet Spa at Avon. 
Planet Spa Sleep Serenity Gift Set
A little spray of the mist on your pillow just helps you drift off into a deep sleep. It smells lovely too which is always a bonus. 
It does the job and it does it well. 

If you are struggling to relax (or sleep) then try making yourself a cup of chamomile tea (which is said to be really good for you even if it does taste gross and smell weird). To help yourself you should remove all technology from the room you're sleeping in to make sure there's no distractions. Take some deep breaths and just take a moment to feel calm.

Most importantly don't be afraid or ashamed of your anxiety. It's not who you are and shouldn't define you as a person.
You are more than your disorder.

For advice and support on anything mentioned in this post, visit the websites listed below.

Helpline: 08444 775 774

This site is full of resources and printable sheets that can really help. 
I have actually been given some of these sheets from my therapist. 
It also gives you a little idea of the type of help CBT can provide.

Many websites have platforms on social media sites that can really help if you need someone to speak to or just to find someone who can relate to your situation.
Some good sites to follow on Twitter are @AnxietyUnited and @AnxietyUK. 

I hope this post gives you a clearer insight into anxiety and also the range of things that can help you through every day life. If you have any questions or you want to share your experience then you can comment, email or tweet me (@xx_Louisa_xx).

Thanks for reading
Loubee Lou

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