So as you know, you guys voted on Twitter for this subject to be the first topic I talk about for the first blog post of this series. So what is Anxiety?
The Cambridge Dictionary says: “a medical condition in which you always feel frightened and worried”.
In some ways this is correct but it can also mean other things like some people are not anxious all of the time and some people may be. I think there are so many forms of anxiety that you cannot really define it properly. It is a disorder when diagnosed properly but people can have anxiety about many things without being diagnosed. Some people have anxieties towards big crowds of people and others may not be able to pick up the phone to call someone because of their anxiety.
Now if you have been following my blog (including my old one) and YouTube channel for over a year, you may have seen posts or videos talking about depression and anxiety but I haven’t talked about it specifically.
I have a long history of anxiety and it has affected my life for a long while now but let’s start at the beginning. I never use to anxious about things, I used to always be cheery and an out of the box kind of person. I used to sing in a thing called Music Meetings at my school. I got nervous but I just got through my performance till the end with just being nervous. Little did I realise that the shallow breathing and the constant fear of singing in front of all my school was giving me anxiety and especially anxiety attacks.
I became aware of it around Year 11 when I was due to perform in a Music Meeting and before everyone started to file into their seats, I was in the bathroom because I felt I couldn’t breathe. I needed help. I Googled what to do in this kind of situation and the same word came up over and over again. Anxiety. I didn’t know what the hell this was and I didn’t know what to do about it. This was before my mum died therefore, I hadn’t experienced anything leading up to this.
As I got into 6th Form, anxiety and depression got worse for me. I hated going on trains and if I did, I would need to sit near the door to the little place where you would get off the train or just stand in that little place. I had to travel a lot due to looking at Universities and then going for interviews. It was a stressful time. I was with my ex at that time and it was tough because I would tell him I was panicking as the train was crowded and I couldn’t sit down near the door or something similar.
I finished 6th Form and we had a celebration evening where I was due to perform. My anxiety about singing in public decreased and I thought I had conquered all of my anxieties. Oh, how I was wrong.
I left home that year and I had to travel a lot and in the end, I made my way back to England after a month of staying with my best friend’s family in Scotland (thank you Maxi). The day I came home I travelled on about 4 trains with about 6 bags and I must say my anxiety was high and I think I had a panic attack at one point. I have anxiety about my bags and losing them on the train or someone taking them. As I had so many, I had to put them in the luggage storage and honestly, it was the bain of my freaking life.
I didn’t really travel on trains in the first 7 months of being at Uni. My dad used to pick me up when I needed to go home. Then this Summer, I needed to go to London for an assessment day for the SBA role I have with Seed for Amazon. I had to wake up really early and I called for a taxi at 7:30 and my train was at 8:20 so I knew I wouldn’t panic as I would get there in time. (side note: I hate being late for things especially public transport and it is worse on trains) My taxi didn’t arrive till 8:00 and my anxiety was very very high on the way to the station. I missed my train and had to get the next one, forking out for an excess ticket. Honestly, it was a horrible experience for my mental health. I thought I was going to have a major panic attack but luckily managed to calm myself down.
To this day, I don’t get anxiety on trains that much anymore. I try to test myself and sit near the middle of the train and distract myself until my stop.
I have anxiety about calling people on the phone as well but I try and power through it and big myself up saying I can do it. It has gotten better but is still present within my brain.
I never knew that anxiety would take over some of my life. It makes me who I am. I get anxious but I have help from Jack and my family whenever I feel like that and it really helps. I had a panic attack when staying with Jack once because I don’t like alarms and one was going off and I couldn’t calm myself down but Jack managed to.
Honestly having someone there helps so if you do have anxiety and you have someone there, tell them you need them to help you because I bet you they would. Living with anxiety isn’t a big burden on my life, but it doesn’t help in certain situations.
My Tips to help anxiety:
- Have a safe space – have somewhere you can sit and calm down. Silence helps me concentrate on myself and I think it helps me calm down because there are no distractions around.
- Speak to someone – let someone know the triggers for your anxiety. They will know when you’re about to have an anxiety attack and can help you in those situations.
- Have a routine when having an anxiety attack – write down a routine that helps you come down from an anxiety attack. Put it in the safe space where you can calm down in silence and follow the routine.
- Know your triggers – I know some people don’t know what the triggers are when having an anxiety attack and it may come on suddenly. If you notice the triggers, you can get yourself out of the situation you’re in before you have an attack.
I hope these tips help. Honestly, you can live with anxiety and still live a full life, it is just about getting it under control.