Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Anxiety


This blog post is slightly more personal today for I felt the need to talk about my anxiety disorder as it has been really playing up recently and is begging for attention. So I will let it have it's attention and I was talk about it.

My Anxiety Story 

I have always been a worrier,I obsess about tiny things and I have a number of fears. I say that my fears have always been there - since the age of three I have always made sure that my parents concentrate 100% when driving and everything had be lock up before leaving the house.

These worries, the obsessions became a lot worse when I developed my first 'fear' - what is this? Tubes. I hate them. Going on one makes me feel sick and I just ave to breathe and try and get through it. Why I developed this fear his probably because for many reasons one of them being the 7/7 bombings. When these occurred my father was actually in London on a tube. Obviously when we went to pick him up I was way too young to understand the situation that had occurred but over the next several months I dawned on me. Now I can not go on Tube trains without focusing on not being sick. 

There is a list of other things that cause sick to rise in my throat and the butterflies to swamp me. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that anxiety began to really set in. I am a pretty outgoing person who can be very loud and very annoying. But there is the side of me that can’t focus on things if I think there is something wrong with me or if something has happened to cause all my sense to become very sharp. One prolonged look and I have to go to the toilet to calm myself down. Other days I couldn’t care less if I am having a spot breakout or if my hair is greasy or if I feel a bit fatter than usual. I feel as if I am on top of the world and people can just deal with it.

So these were the periods of anxiety that can last for a few days but it wasn’t until Christmas 2013 when I started to have anxiety and panic attacks. When trying to think if there was anything that could have triggered these all I can think about is me losing a very close friend of mine (I mean, they didn’t die but we stopped being friends and that turned to hate. It was hard). Could these have caused these anxiety attacks? Maybe, or I might have had a few before talking to him but I was rarely anxious during our friendship period as he was always there to calm me down.


So the reason for them starting is unclear and the end of these horrific attacks is not in sight. Some days if I have had a nightmare or there is something troubling me I can have over 20 in an hour and this is not just scary but it is also exhausting.  Last Friday I went to the doctors and my anxiety was confirmed but I don’t think this will change anything – I can just officially put it on medical records. Great.

What do my panic attacks feel like? 

Panic attacks depend on the person. I know someone who suffers nosebleeds when having them which are not like mine at all. When I have panic attacks the first thing that I notice is my breathing. When this happens I know that something is going to happen. I will often do some deep breathing or yawn to get this feeling to go – it rarely works the first few times but I think that it is just a reflex. Then follows the feeling of suffering for even though you CAN breathe my mind is telling me that I can’t. After this if this carries long and I am unable to take a deep enough breath then the pain sets in. The area around and below my chest feels as if it is tightening and then I really begin to panic. If it gets to this point my hands begin to shake and I start to have heart palpitations. These last for a maximum of four minutes and then I normally can catch my breath. Afterwards it is very common for me to feel headachy and lightheaded. Once I have had one of these I normally have three or four more during that hour (if it is a good day)

What do I do to calm myself down?

Finding something to take your mind off the panic attack will lessen the severity but it won’t stop one from happening. I like to listen to non-triggering music (so songs without bad memories). Particular favourites of mine are Kodaline, Marina and the Diamonds, David Gray and Lana Del Rey.

Another thing I have to do is do something with my hands like drawing or writing as I tend to pick at myself. So I pick at spots (ew, I know) or cuts or I will just scratch myself. I also have a major form of a not at all serious skin condition called Dermatographic urticarial so I will often scratch my arms and hands so my skin swells up. Unfortunately I have a habit of scratching too hard without realising so it’s common for small cuts to occur. This means that it is essential for me to do something so I don’t accidently hurt myself.

Another bad thing that I do it I eat rubbish food which is okay sometimes but if I am having a bad week it is not okay. I will often pour myself some water so I can just keep sipping at it. I am also a fan of taking a walk as exercise is great for anxiety – even if it is just a little stroll!

I think that I have anxiety. What can I do?

Well first of all make sure that you aren’t researching it too much before going to the doctor because this can make you think that is a lot worse than it actually is. You must go to the doctor to be diagnosed though – especially if you are like me and having breathing problems because it mayn’t be anxiety and something different. However when you go to the doctors don’t expect them to be very helpful – they are just GPs and they aren’t qualified in psychology so please don’t expect anything more to happen than this.

“I think I have anxiety – these are my symptoms…”

“Yes you do. Here are some beta-blockers. Come back in four weeks.”

“Oh, okay.”

They aren’t going to spend twenty minutes giving you mediocre advice when you could get a professional to do that.

When you have you diagnosis and if it is bad enough to get medication don’t get it straight away. Go and do your research. For anxiety it is better that they don’t prescribe you anything that could cause long term addiction or be used regularly for years. It is not good for your health and should only be given as a last resort. So if your GP has given you something like diazepam question them about this ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE UNDER THE AGE OF 18.

Talk to people. The charity Mind is brilliant for explain a lot of mental disorders and the treatment. It is a truly brilliant and I would recommend it to anyone as they helped me a lot and they are lovely people. There are other sites like Childline and Young Minds. I will link them all at the end of this blog post.

Lastly, don’t panic. Yes this seems very ironic but you don’t need to worry about going to the doctors or talking to your school or peers. Nowadays anxiety is such a very common thing and people are very used to it being there. Schools are well trained to help students who suffer with panic attacks and the teachers will not judge you.

If you are worried about talking to your parents you are allowed to go to your local GP by yourself and they GPs will be very understanding. I do not know if this is the same in other countries but the majority of my audience is from the UK and it is fine here. If you are still worried about how they will react you are entitled to ask if they have a doctor with psychology qualifications.
Also if you need to talk to someone about this feel free to email me questions or contact me on my Tumblr account.

Please remember

You must seek help with anxiety for it ‘won’t just go away’ and it is a SERIOUS illness as it can often lead onto other illnesses like depression. If you go to your GP they will be able to monitor you for other symptoms and may be able to get you to have some CBT help (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and there may be other services available. Use the things available to you as everyone is there to help you not to humiliate or to hurt you. These are people you can trust and they will help you as much as they can.

Tumblr: musicalsymphony.tumblr.com


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