It’s a sad fact that many people come to me for help with their anxiety, each one of them going through similar experiences.
If you suffer, you may feel strange, a kind of ‘unreal’ and not with it. You may tremble at times and you’ll be aware of a rapid heartbeat and irregular breathing. All of these symptoms can lead to bigger things like depression, a racing mind and tiredness, which may eventually render you disconnected from people and the world around you. You’ll stumble about your house, ruminating and trying to pluck up the courage to simply ‘live life’ whilst plunging deeper into the crevasse.
You’ll be utterly fed up with feeling panicky, which usually lead to the next stage – mental exhaustion. You become hyper aware of all your feelings and can think you are going crazy. Both mind and body become super-tired. Overthinking and over-analysing is exhausting work which rapidly leads to the final stage in this battle – emotional exhaustion. If you’ve missed days off work, and any chance of a social life feels like climbing Everest in summer sandals, then you’ve potentially reached the finish line.
However, what I know to be true is that you can recover from this, no matter what level of anxiety or panic you have reached. (I should know for I too have suffered crippling anxiety.) Now here comes the ‘but’…… YOU WON’T GET BETTER UNTIL YOU STOP TRYING TO GET BETTER! Now I realise some of you will think that doesn’t make any sense, but if you spend every minute analysing your condition and trying to find reasons for it, you will get even more caught up in the trauma.
Accept the anxiety but put yourself out there, and do the things that bring you out of your comfort zone, safe in the knowledge that you won’t die from a panic attack. Only then will you know that you actually could do it, and despite the adrenalin rush you didn’t die and therefore can do it again, only next time it won’t be as testing.
Anxiety is a particular kind of hell, I know, but don’t see it as the enemy. Let go and live alongside it for the time being. Allow it to be part of your day and you may begin to feel some inner peace, which in turn will help you to rebuild the missing bits of your life.
Who knows, maybe there’s a reason we’re all meant to do some paddling upstream against the tide?