** Disclaimer** – I am not a mental health professional, just some lady who has anxiety for a super long time and knows what it feels like. Everything stated in this – and every – post on this blog relating to anxiety is my own opinion and should not be substituted for advice from a qualified professional.
* * *
From now on, I will be putting this disclaimer at the beginning of every post because yes, I know a lot about what it’s like to live with anxiety, but I’m not a professional. If you are struggling with anxiety and need help, speak to a counsellor or a doctor, because they will (mostly) know how to help you.
That being said, make sure that your doctor is taking you seriously. When I was sixteen, my doctor told me I would “grow out” of my panic attacks, because I was a teenager and it happens. I hope that guy isn’t still practicing.
I felt like I had to write this article, because over the past few years of mandatory isolation alongside having to adapt nearly constantly to new situations at work, some people I know are developing anxiety. To those of us that had it all along, this is the same s*** on a different day, but with a generous coating of pandemic-style panic.
Experiencing symptoms of anxiety for the first time can be terrifying, so for anyone who is going through this, here are the symptoms I’ve experienced that I’ve found are just part and parcel of anxiety.
I don’t know why this happens, but especially on bad days, anxiety has caused serious brain fog in me before. An inability to think long term, concentrate on what we’re doing, or even think up what to have for dinner, happens.
The first time I realised this was happening, I was too mentally exhausted to panic, and my body agreed. But the lack of energy to react doesn’t make it any less worrying. Brain fog often forces me to do and think less, which provides the break that I needed for the fog to lift.
Brain fog can be scary, but as far as my experience goes, it’s normal during times of high stress.
I only learned this very recently, but the odd nerve pain I experience in my upper back from time to time may be caused by anxiety. I would love to have this confirmed by a doctor, but in the UK’s current state, I’m about as likely to get an appointment as I am win the lottery at this point.
But some online medical sources have attributed back pain to anxiety and depression. My experience is that this pain is quite nervy, and sometimes restricts my breathing, which was highly terrifying the first few times it happened. However, it’s a fairly common symptom apparently, and nothing to panic about. Goodness knows we have enough to worry about.
Kept Awake By An Array Of End Of The World Scenarios
This one is perhaps the scariest of all three, because there’s no getting out of our own heads. Usually in the silence before sleep, troubling thoughts can hit and keep us awake. My best coping mechanism for this is to make a habit of interrupting myself mid-thought to tell myself off for thinking them.
Some of the scenarios we dream up can seem pretty probable, and those are the hardest to challenge. A meteor hitting earth in the middle of the night, destroying everything, is much less likely to happen than someone breaking into our homes at night, so guess which one is more difficult to banish?
Unfortunately, these thoughts can be difficult to manage, but sometimes knowing that they are happening because of anxiety makes them a little easier to challenge.
Before I sign off, I’d like to mention that recognising and hopefully being reassured that these are normal experiences for someone who has anxiety, doesn’t mean we should accept them. Seeking treatment for anxiety and the right medical professional could really help us learn to cope with our symptoms.
If you’re like me, in a situation where you function in society and therefore aren’t enough of a priority to warrant help from organisations, and can’t afford therapy, I feel you. Just know that you aren’t alone and that the support of friends are family in dark times are crucial, so don’t shut them out for fear of being a burden. You’re important and you’re worthy of support.
Thanks for reading!