Everybody suffers from anxious moments once in their life: exams, doing a big jump, moving house, interviews etc (these are all pretty rational reasons for being anxious), however anxiety disorder is a lot deeper than this.
In this post I will begin to cover my experience with living with anxiety.
(Over the next few Tuesdays I will be posting Mental Health related blogs, whether that is my experiences, advice or places to get help etc.
From what my mum has told me; I have almost always suffered with anxiety disorder, which then later spiralled into panic disorder, depression and general eating disorder (not fun!)
My anxiety shows in many different ways, to most people it may just seem like I have a few annoying habits (and trust me they are annoying but also subconsciously a way of coping even if they are negative!) My ‘habits’ include:
- biting my nails/the skin around,
- scratching my back,
- pulling strands of hair out,
- clamping my jaw shut,
- cracking my bones (probably the most annoying to other people, yet most satisfying to me),
- stopping my breathing momentarily,
- scratching my neck and wrists,
- going sleep and forgetting what has happened
- zoning out (and my eyes glazing over)
- sitting on things where my feet cant touch the ground
And there is probably a few more, but they are the main ones that come to mind! And these ‘habits’ will vary greatly from person to person; not one person has an identical experience with the disorder and generally doesn’t suffer solely from this disorder alone (anxiety is very common to be paired with other disorders or conditions)
However people who know me well/know anxiety well pick up on these habits and subtly work with me on them in the moment. There has been endless nights of my mum talking through with me about my breathing – breathe in and breathe out, repeating this until I finally settle my breathing.
I had a close friend who in sixth form would sit with me and just talk about absolute random rubbish to distract my mind from silly thoughts, definitely didn’t help me to complete my work (thanks Liv!) but it did help me to calm myself whether we went on a walk or just sat chatting in the support room for a little while.
I also had a support teacher in sixth form who would sit with me during meetings or 1-1 lessons and take additional notes and ask extra questions in case my mind starting wondering and my eyes starting glazing over.
During doing my GCSE’s I was recommended to try using a tangle (no it isn’t the hairbrush and no please don’t try to play with it as if it’s a fun toy!), which I still keep with me daily now to fiddle with in my hands instead of cracking or biting… when I remember.
There has also been many more moments when people have helped me and I am so very grateful for their time and work that they have given, whether it was just simply buying me a cookie or sitting with me for up to hours just steading my breathing and distracting my mind onto more positive activities I could be doing.
Remember that people do notice (unfortunately), but the best kind are the people who notice and do something – surround yourself with these people!
Next Tuesday I shall be talking more about panic disorder and coping mechanisms!