Fearing heights causes me great anxiety. For others it may be socialising etc. In the following blog I will talk about my experiences of anxiety and give some information you will find useful.
2.6% of the population experience depression and 4.7% have anxiety problems. As many as 9.7% of the population suffer with mixed depression and anxiety making it the most prevalent mental-health problem in the population as a whole. The stats do not lie but many still over look anxiety and believe it is not a ‘real mental-health problem,’ they are far from right.
The majority of people suffer with anxiety to a degree, some more than others. Most of us would recognise feelings of tension, uncertainty, worry or fear. If you experience these symptoms at higher levels for a sustained period of time you will be of great un-comfort, this will affect the day to day running of your life. Anxiety can be triggered by many different things, this all depends on what makes the person feel anxious or nervous. For some it may be going out in public or even talking on the phone, this may seem easy to me or you but for those who struggle with anxiety it can be a big problem. I personally feel most anxious when I am at a great height as it is one of my fears, I start to feel nervous, my legs go to jelly and my palms start to sweat. Some people may class anxiety as a disability, although you may not physically see it all of the time it is there. Anxiety can be present both continuously or triggered by a certain situation i.e. having to speak in a group. When anxiety is at a high point, those suffering may experience panic attacks, this is caused by an overwhelming feeling they may have from a specific situation, this all depends on the level of anxiety a person suffers with.
What is Anxiety??
“After six years of living beneath an anxious cloud with occasional heavy showers in the form of panic attacks, my body finally gave up and told me I need to stop. I tried to carry on in my previous job, believing I needed to ‘be stronger’ and learn to cope and toughen up, which pushed my anxiety so far it was like my body just collapsed beneath me.” – (Lucy) Understanding Anxiety: broken leg vs broken mind.
“Anxiety can be a lifelong battle between irrational and rational thoughts that can dominate your life” – Katie Hodgkins.
Anxiety can become so overwhelming that it can take over a person’s life. Common symptoms for anxiety can be both mental and physical they include;
- A sense of dread
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty sleeping
- Persistent irritability/worry
- Heart Palpitations
- Heavy & Rapid Breathing
- Tensions / Pain
- Sickness & Diarrhoea
- Stomach Pains
- Panic Attacks
A panic attack is an exaggeration of the human body’s natural reaction to fear stress or even excitement in some cases. It is caused by a rapid build-up of overwhelming sensations which include;
- A Pounding Heart
- Feeling Faint
- Shaking Limbs
- Chest Pains
- Breathing Discomfort
- Feeling a loss of control
It has been known that some sufferers will withdraw from contact with other people and/or develop phobias, obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviour.
An example of when I have felt anxious is again related to heights. At one of my dad’s old pubs we had a charity event which included a bungee jump, I obviously knew I wouldn’t be able to do the jump but stood a looked on as others did. Then the staff in control of the bungee jump were allowing people to go to the top of the bungee and watch somebody jump down, for reasons I now regret I decided to do this along with my cousins. When at the top I was slightly nervous but in control, tightly holding onto the cage I wouldn’t look down but just looked around the views from that height. As soon as the participant jumped and the elastic stretched to its full capacity the cage began to rattle & shake causing me a great panic. My legs went to jelly instantly making me have to sit down in the cage, I started to sweat uncontrollably as the cage continued to shake. It’s something I wouldn’t put myself through again, the feeling on losing control of my legs/balance was such a terrible feeling. My heart was racing through panic causing my breathing to become unsteady. Many other may feel like I did in this situation, it’s not nice at all.
It’s time for people to start realising anxiety is real, although it may not always be there physically, it is mentally. However there are ways out there to ease your anxiety & help you get on to your day to day life. For example The AOC runs courses & workshops to help you overcome anxiety.
“Dramatherapy isn’t acting its becoming you.”
Thank you for reading.