Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Living And Dealing With Anxiety


It seems that many bloggers have come forward and spoken about their anxiety lately, which is amazing and incredibly brave of them to do so and now, I feel ready to do the same. Even though I have touched base with this subject before in my 'Saying Yes And Overcoming Your Fears' post, I have never gone into as much detail as I am going to today. Obviously this post is incredibly personal to me, as I am talking about something that affects me every single day to people that I do not even know in real life - yet somehow, this make it slightly easier. My main aim with this post is to share my experience with you all and hopefully, I might also be able to help some other people in similar situations along the way. Although writing this is rather daunting, inspiring others to not be ashamed of their anxiety will make it all worth while!

I have been suffering from anxiety and panic attacks for ten years now and until recently, I did absolutely nothing about it. However, last year really was the tip of the iceberg for me and I was in such a horrible place. I had a job I hated which made me ill and therefore, I became very reserved and reclusive. It got to the point where if I would have a panic attack in a particular place or situation, I would do everything in my power to never return to that place again through pure fear of the same thing happening again. Whenever my friends would invite me out, I would nine times of ten say no because I had some sort of irrational fear that something bad would happen to me. I would often become so distressed that I would violently shake, feel sick and be in tears. Plus, on the odd occasion when I did build up the courage to go out, I never fully enjoyed myself. It used to only cause me stress and unhappiness and let’s face it, that’s no way to live your life!

At this point, I knew that something had to change because my anxiety was starting to affect my daily life to the point where I couldn’t even hold down a job or career. This, consequently, controlled a lot of the choices that I made and it has stopped me from doing absolutely anything that is even slightly out of my comfort zone. It even hindered me in embracing certain opportunities that came my way that in hindsight would have benefited me a great deal. I regret saying no to certain things even to this day.

I still find it incredibly hard to really open up to my friends and family about my anxiety problem, even when the majority of them know about it. I tend to worry that they will judge me if I go into detail about how I feel in case they end up thinking that I am some kind of nutcase and no longer want to be around me. Where as in reality, it turns out that so many people suffer with similar problems to me. I worry that they may also think that I use my anxiety as an excuse for certain things or that I am being a nuisance, though I am slowly learning that this is not the case at all. I am very lucky in the fact that I have some really supportive people in my life who I know I can always turn to. However, this is not the case for all people. Though, with that being said, there are so many good mental health programmes out there, (Mind and Anxiety UK being two of these,) that offer anxiety sufferers help and guidance if they do feel alone or unable to talk to a relative or friend about their issues. There are also many routes that you can take to help ease your anxiety and panic attacks; medication, stress management classes and counselling etc.


For the past six months or so, I have been attending counselling sessions every Tuesday afternoon. I definitely feel that this is the best option for me after having tried medication around this time last year, as it didn't agree with me and it actually made me more ill in terms of feeling nauseous and getting regular migraines. However, the one struggle I have with counselling is that I do want to go but I dread it at the same time. It’s not a nice feeling having to talk to somebody who is essentially a stranger about really deep and personal things every single week, even when you know it will be beneficial in the long run. Most of us, including myself at times, would much rather block it out or deal with our emotions privately rather than share them (though I have come to learn that bottling emotions up is unhealthy.)

Now, it’s a year on and I am slowly feeling the way I want to. Although to some it may seem like I am moving at a snail’s pace and have not done an awful lot this year, I know in my mind that I have come on leaps and bounds in this time. I love going out now, in fact I thrive off of it, which is something I never would have imagined myself saying twelve months ago! I’m not going to lie and say that everything is a walk in the park; I still have a long way to go to. To this day, my comfort zone is very restrictive and small but I am working on expanding it at a pace that suits me. I always want to do something reckless like drive to a random destination but then I get disheartened by the fact that I will probably get half way there, freak out and come home. 

I still have a mixture of good days and bad days but I believe that is all the about taking little steps to eventually get me to where I want to be. Of course, I don’t know how long this will take. I often put pressure on myself by trying to put a time limit on things, convincing myself that I am not progressing fast enough. However, I have come to realise that as long as I know I am trying as hard as I possibly can, that’s all that counts. Overall, I am incredibly hopeful for what may happen over the next few months and I am optimistic that by this time next year, I will have come on leaps and bounds yet again.

I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to read about my personal experience with anxiety. I really hope that sharing my story has inspired at least one of you to start fighting your anxiety in the same way that I am. Remember that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and although you may be going through a tough time right now, things WILL get better! 

4 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear about your anxiety but the best of luck with your recovery - it sounds like your heading in the right direction :) and thanks for sharing your story, I'm sure it will help someone! xxx

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    1. Thank you Jessica, I hope so too! :) xxx

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  2. Thanks for sharing your story with us Michaela. I too suffer from anxiety and it's a horrible feeling that does take up your life. In a way it's nice too hear other peoples stories. I don't go to counselling as out in Spain there don't really see anxiety as a health problem. It's more like I'm the problem and they wont give me medication, which is a good thing for me as I don't want to be taking tablets for the rest of my life. I'm glad you have supportive people in your life, but has you said not al of us do. My parents understand me and are so supportive but my friends don't. I think they think I'm crazy, which isn't very ice for me.
    I think that talking to a complete stranger is daunting, but its something I feel I need to do as I don't want to worry my parents. I wish there were charities out here that deal with anxiety. Hopefully I will get the help I need someday.
    Best of luck with the recovery and stay strong. xxx

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    1. I agree Claire, it really is a shame how support and treatment isn't always given in other countries! Talking to a stranger for the first few sessions is so daunting and off-putting but you become comfortable so quickly, so I do recommend trying it if it all possible :) it's nice to get an outside perspective at times which is never judgmental!

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment and I wish you good luck with dealing with your anxiety in the future as well! :) xxx

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