Second Installment in my posts for Mental Health Awareness Week 2017. I chose the picture up top because it sums up Anxiety so well. You can be worrying about everything at once and it all seems so much.
As with Depression I am not an expert but do speak from experience and research*
Anxiety and worrying are two different things that often overlap. But when can Anxiety be classed as a mental health problem?
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a combination or worry and fear which often manifests both mentally and physically. It becomes a mental health problem when the person is absorbed by their worries and it begins to take over their behaviors and their day-to-day life.
There several types of Anxiety disorders and each have their own characteristics. I am going to try and address anxiety in a broad approach.
Psychologically anxiety manifests itself as a constant sense of unease, tension or fear. It is linked to the fight or flight response which also shows up physically. Often an anxious person will be hyper-aware of their surroundings, believing people know they are anxious or that something bad is going to happen. Some may feel numb whilst others feel restless and unable to focus. There is also a tendency to over-think a situation or replay it obsessively in their minds. In a lot of cases anxious people can experience cases of paranoia also. In severe cases anxiety can cause suicidal thoughts and urges to self harm.
Anxiety can also have effects on the body. The fight or flight response triggers heart rate and muscle reactions. It can cause nausea, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, bladder issues and panic attacks.
For tips on how to prevent panic attacks click here.
Medication- Anxiety can be treated in extreme cases with medication. Never self-medicate. Anxiety doesn’t require a psychological assessment and all NHS GPs (local doctors) should be qualified to prescribe anti-depressants. You should discuss with a doctor the side effects of anti-anxiety medication and your own condition to find the best one.
Talk Therapy – Whilst counselling can aid in the recovery and controlling of anxiety, CBT is the most common treatment. CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and is used to identify thought patterns and behaviors for all kinds of mental health problems. I personally had it for Social Anxiety but the main principle is the same. It identifies the negative behavior and the thoughts around it then looks at how this can be altered. By changing the behavior the thought process can be changed too. It takes a while and isn’t for everyone but to me it was magic.
I have battled with Anxiety for a hella long time and still struggle with it now. It can be hard to make and keep friends, do normal everyday things like walk into a shop and even look after ourselves. It took me a long time to figure out how to function with all the voices in my head telling me shit and it still affects me now.
For those with Anxiety: I can’t promise the voices will go away but I can promise that at least 1 thing they say is complete bullshit. Keep talking to people and write down your fears and thoughts – it really helps.
For those who are friends or family of someone with Anxiety: Please don’t tell them to get over it or that it’s in their head. It’s not your job to look after us but words of support and sometimes a helping hand can never go amiss. We also apologize if we constantly doubt things and don’t believe you when you tell us things xx
If you feel you have anxiety please do not hesitate to contact your GP and set up an appointment.
If you feel at risk of suicide at any point please call an ambulance, go to A&E or call Samaritans on 116 123 who are free to talk to (UK number only).
For more information on Anxiety please refer to:
Disclaimer: I do not have any qualifications regarding Mental Health. I speak from experience and my research on Mind whilst writing this post.