Anxiety

I wake up most mornings feeling a little scared, but to be honest this is a big improvement from my late teens and twenties when I woke up feeling terrified every morning. Terrified that I would be asked to speak in class, terrified to buy my train ticket, terrified to ask for help doing my thesis, terrified to call and organise insurance for my car. 

THE PROBLEM WITH ANXIETY 

These are just a handful of the daily battles some of us with anxiety have to get through a normal day.For many people like me, the emergence of the online world has been a lifesaver, helping reduce the number of interactions with strangers.
For us anxiety sufferers, it can create obstacles to many things whether that’s being in a school musical, volunteering for solos in the choir, joining a sports team, asking for help with studies or DIY, or even applying for the dream job. For many, it’s easier to seek solace in the familiar comfort zone and avoid the awkwardness that these things would bring.

HELPING MYSELF 

Of course at the time I didn’t know it was anxiety, I presumed everybody felt like this, it was beyond my comprehension that not everyone rehearsed what they needed to say to the checkout lady and counted their money over and over again to make sure they had enough. It was only when I began my training as a counsellor and had to go to counselling myself that I discovered that this feeling had a name,anxiety, and that most people didn’t go through these feelings of terror with every interaction in their day.

My counsellor got me to journal about those events that I was worried about, a hen party or a presentation in college for example. I would write about what I imagined happening and then ,after the fact, I wrote about what actually happened which was never as bad as I imagined. I did some social experiments where I didn’t rehearse before going into the post office and again the world did not come crashing down. I learnt to look for evidence that my worst case scenario would happen. By looking at my previous experiences I learnt that it rarely did. Then I learnt to work through that worst case scenario and what I would do if it did happen. I realised that I hadn’t thought this far ahead before, the tightening in my chest or feeling of nausea would normally have got so bad at this point that I would do anything to distract myself. So instead I did the opposite, I battled through the physical sensations and realised that I would still not die if the customer service lady got annoyed with me, I might feel a bit embarrassed but I definitely wouldn’t die.

So with that I began self talk, talking to yourself in counselling terms. Whenever I could feel the anxiety rising I would talk myself through it. “What am I worried about?” “What’s the worst that can happen?” “What will I do if that happens?”

NOT A CURE BUT A LIFELINE

This kind of help opens up a whole new world, you can still be scared but it doesn’t have to stop you anymore. Now when I wake up in the morning I have a little chat to myself about what lies ahead, I go through whats worrying me and what I can do to help myself through it. Generally once I start looking at the facts instead of giving all that attention to the feeling it is a lot easier to get out of bed and get started.

Anxiety is not something you can get rid of, in fact it is necessary, it is an alarm that reminds us that there is something we need to do or something we need to be wary of. The problem is when it’s a false alarm but I know now there are ways to know the difference, I’m always looking for the evidence!

 

 

One thought on “Anxiety

  1. Thank you for sharing, I will take on some of that advice. I have always had anxiety surrounding making phone calls. I still do. Market research is a real pain when you can’t lift the phone to cold call someone.

    Like

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