Your Sweet Anxiety / ‘It’s okay to have anxiety’ / Submission #8

Having anxiety has actually stopped me doing so many things that I actually really want to do. It stopped me doing things in my first year of university, like going out and socialising, and even going to lectures was a problem for me. It was literally as if something was constantly creeping up on me, and I’d have no idea when it would hit. Social situations were the worst for me, as I don’t like too much attention on myself, otherwise I start getting uncomfortable and very paranoid – so doing presentations for university hasn’t gone down too well for me at all.

Admittedly, having a first hand experience of anxiety has taught me quite a bit, and currently it is not as bad as it used to be! I can actually do presentations in front of people without really getting too worked up, I enjoy going out with friends and I’m saying ‘yes’ to more things now than I ever have done. It’s still not ‘rosy perfect’, but in reality, it’s not going to be. I’d love to be someone who can do things without having a worry and feeling calm in every situation, but it’s something to work towards. University helped me wean myself into doing things I would never usually do, as well as helping me to make friends which always has been a huge struggle for me since I was bullied horrifically.

Even today, as a 20 year old, I struggle with anxiety. Sure, it’s not as bad, but it’s still there. I’m trying my hardest to put caps on it, even though sometimes the panic and worry breaks through. It’s okay to have anxiety, it’s okay to not be okay, but it’s also perfectly good to be okay too. I want people to know that if you have anxiety, it doesn’t make you an outsider, even though you may feel it. It’s something that can be tackled, it just takes baby steps, motivation, courage and help. You’ll get there one day, it won’t be this bad forever.

Chloe Thomas, 20

Find Chloe on her blog, surrounding Mental Health issues, and also her social media pages below!

Your Sweet Anxiety / ‘Was I dying?’ / Submission #7

This is probably going to be longer than required but I’ll try to shorten it down as much as possible. For as long as I can remember I have suffered from anxiety. As I child, apprehension crept up from every corner. My anxiety was constant and sharp. It varied from the looming fear of speaking in class, the trepidation of not being pretty enough, the feeling of unease being alone, worried I would not succeed in school and the ultimate fear of my death and the death of others.

I experienced my first panic attack when I was seven years old. I spent the day with my mom and her friend and listened intensively to their grown up conversation. They conversed for several minutes about normal topics until suddenly the conversation shifted to a more morbid topic, which was death. I was suddenly overwhelmed with fear. Anxiety grabbed me by my throat, choked me and repeated the word death in my ear incessantly. At this very moment, my thoughts had spiralled out of control, I conjured up images of my mother dying. I couldn’t breathe. Again and again the word death popped into my head and I was certain my mother was going to die. I told my mother I couldn’t breathe and was immediately brought to the doctors where they succeed to calm me down.

Fast forward, I am now eighteen. I’m in my sitting room on Christmas Eve. One of my family members entered the room with a disquieting expression upon his face. He informed us that someone we know has died. My hands began to sweat, my vision blurred, my throat was dry and my breathing was uncontrollable. I was entirely alone. I was slipping slowly into something unknown. The familiar setting of my own sitting room began to fade. But I didn’t want to die. Was I dying? Was I having a heart attack? Yes. I am having a heart attack. I am going to die. This is it. This is how it must feel. Isn’t it? I held my brothers hand while he attempted to subdue my chaotic thoughts. I barely made it to the doctors, and when I did arrive he gave me medication. It had stopped. The panic was over. Or so I thought. For the next five months I lived in absolute fear. I could not comprehend what was happening to my body.

Every morning I would wake with shortness of breath, sweaty palms, pains in my arms pains in my lower back, a dry mouth and the inability to focus on simple tasks. I was imprisoned in my own body. How could this possibly be anxiety? I am not an anxious person, am I? Anxiety could not cause this much physical pain. I surmised that it was an underlying physical problem. For months this tedious routine of over analyzing my symptoms and convincing myself I had problems that did not actually exist which in turn exacerbated my anxiety. It was only when I was prescribed medication that these thoughts had finally dissipated and my body had returned to its normal state. The aches in both my arms and lower back had miraculously disappeared. My breathing became regular and I finally stopped diagnosing myself with heart problems. I felt liberated.

I am now nineteen, and while I do not assume I have any underlying health problems, anxiety is still a part of my daily life. I analyse every choice I make, weighing up both the negatives and positives of every situation. While I have accepted it is a part of me, I do not let it control me because it does not define who I am and it will not dictate how I choose to live my life. The mind is a powerful thing capable of both good and bad but it is yours and yours only. Only you can decide what to do with your thoughts and no one else. One must not fear this, but embrace it, because once someone embraces their mind and their capabilities, the mind has no restrictions.

Anonymous


Want to submit to Your Sweet Anxiety? Find out more here!

Your Sweet Anxiety / I Have A Voice / Submission #6

I Have A Voice

It couldn’t have chosen to present itself at a worse time. But is there a good time, really? It was twelve years ago; I was rehearsing for a live show. That evening, eight million people would hear me sing. And that’s exactly when I first heard it – as tiny as a hiccup, but as big as a mountain in my mind. I went to sing a note and something didn’t work, there was a kind of constriction. I got through the show, of course, without much nervousness for the television audience, considering, but something had inexplicably changed in me.

From that point it spiralled. Further and further it dragged me until I was a nervous wreck before I had to sing. I tried to ignore it, but it didn’t go away. It got worse and worse – sounds just didn’t come out, my body ached from the effort of trying to get my voice the way it used to be.

Six years on from that first point of recognition, I couldn’t speak. I had a voice, but couldn’t speak. For two weeks I went to make sounds and I was strangled, muted and terrified. It came back eventually, in its own way and some days I sound almost normal to the unsuspecting ear.

Two years ago I was finally diagnosed with an anxiety condition – hyperventilation syndrome, or a breathing pattern disorder. More simply, I suffer with anxiety and depression. This has presented itself more in the last few years and I can very clearly see I have suffered since being a teenager, bullied throughout my entire school life.

So where does that leave me now?  

It leaves me with hope. Hope that somewhere, underneath, I have a voice. Right now I can make sounds that are like words, sometimes they come out well and sometimes they don’t. They are the words I say to quickly end a conversation, or the only words I can struggle to get out. The things I often really want to say are held inside me like prisoners, staring through the bars, longing to be on the other side. I know exactly what I want to say I just can’t get the words out.

And I can sing. I can sing without the great effort it now requires. Somewhere underneath it all I don’t become paralysed in my stomach, chest and throat when I sing, and I can get through more than a couple of lines of a song. I can do the thing I used to love doing more than anything. The thing I was good at, the thing that is a natural part of my being.

I’m lucky; I love my life, my beautiful family and my work. For whatever reason we sometimes have to learn to take a different path for an undeterminable length of time. I don’t believe in regrets – life is too short for that. But I do believe in hope.

Sarah Wilkinson, 31


Sarah blogs about alternative education, check out her work on the links below!

https://sarahmwilkinson.wordpress.com/
https://sarahmichellewilkinson.contently.com/ 


If you’d like to submit a piece to Your Sweet Anxiety check the details out here!

Your Sweet Anxiety / ‘I just wish it didn’t hold me hostage.’ / Submission #5

You would think that working in a massage clinic, I would be anxiety free. I am much the opposite. My anxiety is constantly at my throat. I don’t exactly know how it started, or really when it got this far.

For me anxiety is a layered issue. A culmination of all the bad things that have happened in my life, that still haunt me. My home burning down. My parent’s divorce. My depression, and my brother’s. Both of our attempts at suicide. How all the people I trusted most turned against me at a vulnerable age. The car accident. My dad’s heart attacks. The threat that I may never have biological children because of my Endometriosis diagnosis. The list is longer still, and it fills my mind. It grips my throat, holding hostage the air I need.

I have always felt anxious, but the panic attacks didn’t start until I hit my late teens and early twenties. Strangely though, even when I meet someone else who suffers them, I’m not believed. Someone I was talking to would tell me of their anxiety and panic attacks, but when I told them I suffered the same they would ask me to describe my attacks to them. Their tone would be that of someone who thought I was mocking them, only changing it when I would tell them of my fear. All the while, forcing me to relive the sensations I would describe to them.

It’s limiting to me, as it keeps me from being able to drive. I’m 24 and don’t have a license because I have blacked out from a panic attack before while driving, and I don’t want to put others at risk. In his own way, my fiancé has tried to help, by trying to slowly expose me to driving again. That stopped when I lost my ability to see during a panic attack and he was in the passenger seat. He sat on the other side of the door when I ran to the bathroom hyperventilating afterwards, waiting for me. The look on his face, when I finally came out, was the same as everyone else who didn’t believe me. Guilt, that they should have believed me at first rather than forcing me to prove it to them.

I try not to let it keep me from doing normal things, like having a job, but even there I feel it’s grips. I often complain about how I can’t breathe deeply, and the tell of my speaking faster than the average Southern Girl shows up. Everyone says “Take a deep breath. You’ll be fine,” but they don’t understand telling me that does nothing.

The only calm I feel is when I’m reading, or writing. No real pressure, no need to force myself to fight it. It’s just forgotten for a little while. My mind isn’t focused on me. It’s focus on the characters, their plot and plight. Instead of my own.

I just wish it didn’t hold me hostage.

Jessica Loftus


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Jessica, 24, writes her own blog surrounding mental health and wellbeing. Check out The Road of a Small Town Girl!

Also check her out on Facebook & Instagram!

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Your Sweet Anxiety / ‘Every day, hour, minute, Second it is there’ / Submission #4

Always there from sun up to sun down.

Never ending retching & feeling sick!

Xtremely challenging. 

I hate it the most!

Every day, hour, minute, Second it is there

Torment of the throat, chest & mind.

Y me and not them?

Matt Peet 


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Matt Peet, 29, is the Creator of Behind a Smile, a Freelance Journalist and is also a writer for #MentalMovement.

The girls at #MM recently interviewed him. Check it out here!

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Your Sweet Anxiety / ‘my anxiety is an old friend’ / Submission #3

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My anxiety is the uncertainty that demands I’m an hour early for every appointment.
It’s the panic that makes me leave a busy venue or forces my gaze to the floor in supermarkets.
It’s the pounding heart in my chest because I have work in the morning. 

My anxiety is the near constant wrenching and churning in my gut for no reason at all.
It’s the two blue ticks that dominate my mind, waiting for you to respond.
It’s the nausea that spreads when you don’t. 

My anxiety is the sudden gasp as several thoughts rush into the front of my mind at once.
It’s the voice that tells me I’m making it all up, wasting people’s time, that the depression isn’t real.
It’s the hours wasted sleeping to shut it all out. 

But, my anxiety is also the reason I’m rarely late for an appointment.
It’s the empathy that supports those around me going through the same thing.
It’s the drive to work harder and love my job more.

Most of all, my anxiety is an old friend.
It’s teaching me slowly to be me more resilient.
It’s definitely a pain sometimes, but I wouldn’t be me without it.

 


Chas Brickland, 32, is a writer for #MentalMovement and is on Twitter too, check him out!

If you’d like to submit to Your Sweet Anxiety check out the details here.

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Your Sweet Anxiety / ‘inside I was always at battle with myself’ / Submission #2

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To me, anxiety is something that I didn’t understand for a long, long time. I’d always had confidence issues, stemming from weight related bullying when I was young, but after a couple of bad breakups where I was either cheated on or left for someone else, leaving me feeling worthless and starting college, it really started to increase. On the outside, I seemed to be bubbly and chatty, but inside I was always at battle with myself. 

Little things like phoning someone, or having to go into a shop / bank etc to talk to someone left me sweaty, out of breath and incredibly nervous about what I had to say. Bigger things would often leave me feeling sick to my stomach and shaking, even if it was something that I wanted – a particular occasion I remember was doing my test for a sailing qualification, even though I loved sailing. The same thing happened when I met my girlfriend’s friends and family – even though I absolutely couldn’t wait to meet them and forge a friendship with them, I was so scared of being judged as not good enough that I had episodes in the run up to meeting them.

My battle with depression and anxiety was horrible for me on another level – the job I always aspired to go into meant I couldn’t disclose it with a doctor as it would be on my record and potentially rule me out. I had to find coping mechanisms even for the smallest of day to day tasks, and slowly but surely I started to overcome my problems. My girlfriend has been the absolute best thing for me, giving me stability and someone to talk to – something I wish I’d had many many years ago. 

I used to think I was weird, walking down the college corridor crying my eyes out / trying to avoid crying, but mental health has become far more recognised, however there is still so much to left to do. If I can help at least one person avoid feeling like I did, then i’ve done a good job.

Things are finally good for me. As mentioned, I’ve got a job that means I HAVE to overcome my issues with communication, a girlfriend who is so understanding and helps me every day with how I feel,  and I finally understand myself – I finally get my triggers and have my methods of coping. Suffering anxiety has been horrible, but it’s made me who I am, and with it I’ve gotten where I am.

I’m always proud of myself now. 


If you’d like to submit a piece to Your Sweet Anxiety please follow this link, I’d LOVE to hear from you. And remember, I’m welcoming all forms of media so don’t be afraid to be creative.

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Your Sweet Anxiety / Anxiety & Me / Submission #1

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Anxiety for me is the base of the issues I have to deal with on a daily basis and is a constant struggle for me.

Over the past few months my anxiety has increased dramatically either that or I am beginning to identify times of anxiety more, hopefully the latter because I might actually be in a place to control it.

Recent attacks have basically left me like a hermit, I’m used to spending time by myself, but this feels like I’m trapped.

Being a born-again Christian, my faith and my church family means so much to me, but recently its been a struggle to go because of the amount of people that go (around 100). This really upsets me because I am also struggling to make the midweek meetings which barely make up 20 people.

Not only is stepping out now a big deal for me at the moment, I’m starting to develop more sleep anxiety, I’m pretty positive it isn’t insomnia (again).

On a more positive note, I am not alone, I have you guys on Twitter who take part in the #TalkMH & #PosiMH chats on twitter, and the blogs and Vlogs help with my recovery. So thank you all for your support, thank you for reading my ramblings about my anxiety (funny enough I was so anxious about writing this) and thank you, Gemma for letting me ramble on your blog.

Benjamin


Find the lovely Benjamin at his blog Me, My Mind & I or Twitter to find out more about him!

If you would like to submit a piece for Your Sweet Anxiety please head to this page for more info. Thank you!