What is it like to have anxiety?

I’ve wanted to write a blog post like this for a while because I think it’s good to talk about mental health issues.

Mostly, it’s exhausting. I struggle with switching off my brain to be able to sleep at night and in the day my thought are usually racing, jumping from one ridiculous thought to another. The thing with mental health issues is that it affects everyone differently and there is no universal cure for it as such.

For me, anxiety is lying awake at night unable to sleep fretting over things that have happened, are happening and could happen. It’s feeling sick with hot flushes as I anticipate something and having to run to the bathroom every five minutes. It’s the feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach before going somewhere or doing something even if it’s something I normally enjoy. It’s the sinking feeling in my chest that comes from something small or nothing at all. It’s the constant worry of anything and everything. It’s the feeling of panic, desperation and being out of control when I can’t organise or plan something properly. It’s the fear of something going wrong, all the time, which sucks the fun out of most things. It’s knowing that you’re being annoying when you need reassurance but being unable to help it and then going on to worrying they’re going to leave you.

The only way I can really describe how I’m feeling when I’m feeling anxious is like having something in my chest trying to force its way out andI feel like I’m lost in a maze, with no idea where I’m supposed to be going or what I’m supposed to be doing. Whatever it is in my chest is making it hard to breathe, making my heart beat so hard it feels like it’s going to break through my skin and feeling lost is making me panic.

The things that help me at night are listening to guided sleep relaxation videos (especially ASMR) until I fall asleep, writing what’s bothering me down either in a blog post or a text message to my boyfriend because writing it down makes it seem ridiculous than it does in my head, saying it out loud because it also sounds ridiculous or coming up with story or blog ideas. Sometimes these distraction tactics work, sometimes they don’t. And when they don’t I just have to lie awake and wait. If I get a wave of anxiety in the day, I find writing lists helps a lot and writing down or saying out loud what’s bothering me helps me here too.

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