Anxiety – Mental Health Awareness Week 2014

Anxiety can present itself as a phobia, a state that individuals constantly find themselves in, or something so chronic that is can result in an inability to hold down a regular job or maintain long-term relationships with friends, partners and family. The six main anxiety disorders are specific phobias, social phobias, panic disorder, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress (PTSD). It can be really severe and effect life. I have to say that clinically a phobia of needles is my only anxiety disorder. Regular readers will know that I had some traumatic events in my childhood. But I am doing really well and have had a lot of therapy – I CAN go to social situations without shaking, blushing, having a dry mouth, sweating (although I do get hot very easily and then I cannot concentrate). However, I do struggle with relationships, and have walked out of jobs because the people in them upset me so much.

anxiety awareness 2014

Anxiety caused by a Phobia of a Specific thing

I have a phobia of needles, I know that it is irrational to be scared, that whatever is needed to be done will be over quickly – but even typing this my arm has begun to hurt, my breathing has sped up, I’m going a little dizzy and my head hurts. This phobia has led to my life being effected such as giving birth using just gas and air whilst a doctor used forceps, and an operation where they removed the cannula from my arm as I came round after seeing me have a panic attack discussing it before I went under. I am unable to be present when my children need them, which has included my 4 year old needing an operation and my baby needing cannulas inserted. My husband has also had to take holidays from work for the children to have their immunisations. I have seen numerous people about this phobia and I have managed to give blood when absolutely necessary (using gas and air, breathing, magic cream, my husband stroking my head and very loud music!)

Anxiety in social situations

In social situations I am really anxious – if I seem not to be it’s  probably because I am pretending it is all in my head trying to convince myself that I am being stupid. I fear that I am always saying or doing the wrong thing. The pressure I put on myself to behave the way I think is expected, means that I am not properly able to concentrate. I forget things such as who people are and what they have told me – which I then fear that they won’t like me because I will say or do the wrong thing based on the fact that I was meant to know/remember something. This can even go as far as me having a panic attack. More often than not in social situations I go dizzy, even with people who have shown and told me that they do like me. I tend to try to live in the moment and work on the basis of being happy with whatever is happening at that time.

Anxiety Disorders I don’t think I have

I would not say that I have a  Generalised anxiety disorder,  but that is the experience of continuously being anxious about the future. I am constantly thinking that so-and-so is going to happen – including my husband deciding that he does not like me (we have been married for 11 years next month). I have a bit of a fear of driving and not sure if this is linked to post traumatic stress disorder. This is a set of persistent anxiety-related symptoms that occur after witness or experiencing a traumatic event. Regular readers will know that my brother died in a car accident when I was younger and I panic about my abilities as a driver. I try to tell myself that they are normal fears and I just need to drive more but I am too scared to. I am getting there slowly. I do not believe it is post-traumatic stress disorder, I think it is related to my low self-esteem.

I have previously self-harmed and attempted suicide. Generally though I have used alcohol as a coping strategy and I cut my hair a lot (any imperfections). I am starting to use healthier ways to deal with things such as thinking things in a different way, a good diet, exercise and music. Sometimes I know that after sleeping on things they do not seem so bad. I am trying to ignore things I cannot control and do something about things I can. I am trying hard just to #embracehappy.

Thank you to the people helping me to realise that I am normal – I am sure you know who you are. I fight everyday against my core belief that I am not likable and some times things happen to really help chip at that. Finding out I had been shortlisted for the BiBs means more than anyone could possibly imagine. Thank you for anyone who nominated me or has spared me a vote into the finals.

VOTE FOR ME BiB 2014 HEALTH

I have written this post as part of Mental Health Awareness Week 2014 May 12-18th. This year’s theme is anxiety. To find out more and also support mental awareness week visit mentalhealth.org.uk.

This is not a sponsored post.

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