Hi. I’m a 28 year old woman. I have a job, I have a partner, and I’m learning how to play the guitar before I turn 30. Oh and I suffer from anxiety and depression. I always tell people that bit last because there’s so much more to me than that diagnosis. Plus it’s a real mood killer at parties.
I’ve recently met a few people who also deal with anxiety, either through having it themselves or knowing someone who has it, and after talking and reflecting with them I’ve learnt a lot about my own state. Here are just six of the things I’ve learnt about anxiety
1. It strikes when you least expect it
If anxiety was a person, it’d be the annoying landlord who pops round without giving notice, the friend who turns up to parties they weren’t invited to, the ex who you bump into on the street when you’re on a date.
Anxiety is there when you least expect it, and it’s definitely never welcome. And you can’t just uninvite them, or tell them to naff off because they won’t listen to you, they won’t listen to anyone. They’re annoying like that.
But the best thing you can do is ride out their visit, let them know they’re not welcome and hope they haven’t brought a suitcase with them.
2. There’s not always a reason
In work, in bed, at a netball match because someone yelled at me, in the shower, eating with friends, I’ve had anxiety attacks hit me like a lightning bolt for no reason whatsoever. I’ve also heard stories of people who’ve had attacks in similarly random places like cinemas, swimming pools, and in one unfortunate incident, during sex, twice.
Don’t worry if you’re having an attack for no reason, it’s fine, it happens. Yes it’s frustrating, yes it’d be nice if it could stop, and yes it can make you feel like you’re going do lally. But that’s anxiety for you, it doesn’t always make sense, and that’s ok.
3. You’ll make the best friends ever
Because anxiety is an unseeable condition they can be hard for people to understand. When someone breaks their leg or injuries their arm, there’s physical signs to sympathise with, but when it’s brain based it’s not quite so easy, and some people finder it harder to cope with than others.
But when you meet people who don’t see it as a big deal and who don’t care when you have anxiety attacks over splitting the bill at dinner, it feels amazing. And they’re the friends that will never let you down.
I’ve had support from the most amazing people over the last few years, people who understand I can’t help it, who know my triggers, who know how to calm me down, and in this website’s case, allow me to talk about it and meet others who have experienced it. And you’ll never find truer friends than ones who can understand your anxiety.
4. It’s manageable
When you’re having an anxiety attack it can feel like it’s unmanageable, like you’re losing the battle and nothing will get better. Those days suck. But when the good days happen, there’s nothing else like it.
There are so many ways to manage anxiety, and what works for one may not work for others, but whatever your coping mechanism, whether it’s going down the gym, writing it down, talking to a therapist or just having one mate to call once a week to get it out your system, it is manageable, and you can do it, I promise.
5. Other people are going through it too
If you suffer from anxiety you’re certainly not alone. First of all, I’m going through it too (hi!), but there are thousands of people, hundreds of support groups and tons of blogs all talking about this very issue. And it’s important to find those people and talk to them; it’ll make you feel so much better knowing you’re not the only one going through it.
6. It’s hard to admit
It’s a less taboo topic and people are so much more accepting than ten years ago, but am I willing to put my name to this post and tell the world I have anxiety? Nope. That would make it real, and I’m not brave enough to tell everyone in my life yet. But I will be, soon.
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