Anxiety is not a nice feeling. It can come out of nowhere, your heart starts beating fast, you have butterflies in your stomach and you don't know why you can't get rid of it as hard as you try. You close your eyes, take deep breaths and try to focus but nothing works. What do you do?
Up until a couple of years ago, I never felt anything like an anxiety attack, nerves going on stage for definite, but not proper anxiety. Then I started feeling some flutters in my time off work when I was taking a break from my job, I think it was related to going out but I put it down to the stress and bullying in the previous year which had made me take the break, and usually I could breathe through it and it would go away, I knew I was safe at home.
I had my first attack outside the house just over a year ago just as I was thinking about going back to work. I was going to my first work/industry related party after nearly a year and as I walked down the road, it gripped me. I started to feel panicky and I wanted to turn around and go back to the station, get on a train and go home. The internal monologue started and I asked myself "why?" A friend had invited me, I was comfortable with that, I knew some people there and I've never been nervous about that sort of thing in the past. Luckily, fate stepped in and just as I started to think the feeling couldn't get any worse, a guy stopped me and asked for a light for his cigarette and it was an old work colleague who I knew. I immediately snapped out of the feeling distracted by greeting him and it didn't return. I went on to my party and enjoyed the evening.
I've started to get anxiety sometimes in work and it won't shake off very fast. I know the root of the problem, but that's the thing with anxiety, you can't shake it. My gut seems to rule over my brain.
Today I sat in the toilet and took deep breaths. I also went for a walk. Now I'm trying to eat something and limit my caffeine intake for the rest of the day as my heart won't stop pounding.
I write this not for sympathy. I'm writing it because I want other people to know it isn't a weakness, as I always feel it is. I feel like I'm failing and I'm not good enough, strong enough or clever enough to battle it. I want other people to feel comforted by the fact that someone like me who they all think is outwardly confident and fine with everything life throws at me, can get torn up inside and let emotion overrule rationality.
Writing this post has helped me feel a little better today so if it's achieved anything, it's eased the horrible feeling I've had inside for the last hour, and hopefully, it might bring some light to someone else's day, who is struggling, googles anxiety and reads this.
I am a normal, sorted person with a great life and great job and I have anxiety. It's ok.