Wow it’s been such a busy time for me! I’ve started studying for the leaving cert already!
Sorry its been a while. I will try and be quicker with my blogs!
I want to talk about something that has been a personal struggle for me. It’s sad for me to say that what I am about to about has my affected most of my teenage life, for the worse. That something, is called anxiety. But I’m not talking about anxiety where you get anxious over an important test or if you have to make a speech. I’m talking about anxiety that consumes you, anxiety that swallows you whole.
What I’m talking about is severe irrational general anxiety (There’s social anxiety too but that’s for another blog). For the past three years I have had to deal with severe anxiety problems. I felt nervous going to piano lessons, and piano is something that I adore. I was afraid I would mess up and I was afraid my piano teacher would give out to me. I would wait in the office area and my whole body would feel tight. My heartbeat was faster than normal and I was always feeling tired.
Going to school was a problem too. I would always feel anxious on the bus. I kept having thoughts about things like What if the bus passes my stop… I was especially anxious when the bus was crowded with girls. I was afraid that I would somehow embarrass myself in front of the girls and even other people who were sitting down. Speaking of busses, I always felt uncomfortable when a bus used to passed me by, as something inside me was saying Everyone is looking at you.
I hated P.E class. It was a constant school worry. Playing soccer was something I hated. I would be put in goal of the time as everyone knew I couldn’t kick a ball if my life depended on it. What made me so anxious at P.E was the thought that everybody (including my friends) was laughing behind my back because I couldn’t kick the ball properly.
French class was the same. I hated talking French to my teacher. My heart used to race and my body shake with the thought that my teacher could ask me a question in French. I always got the feeling people were going to laugh behind my back if I couldn’t pronounce a word or even understand the question. Irish class was no different. I never felt secure unless one of my friends weren’t sitting next to me in class. I felt isolated and afraid, vulnerable and rejected.
These feeling were, of course all irrational. They were nonsense and stupid. But these feelings have caused me a great deal of pain. Food was the last thing on my mind. My whole body was thinning out. I often looked in the mirror. A frail and fragile figure appeared before me. I had almost no fat. I felt insecure about myself. I felt uncomfortable with the thought of going swimming. My eating habits were getting worse and my family noticed. I wasn’t suffering from anorexia. I wanted to eat. Sometimes I found myself forcing down food until it came back up in the form of vile vomit.
Tiredness was a major problem for me. It affected my schoolwork. It affected my mood and it mostly affected my social life. There was never a day where I wasn’t tired.
Anxiety is much more then fear and worry. It is also much more than being shy. Anxiety is degrading and debilitating. It has made me criticise myself and has made me feel like a social outcast. There are many different forms of anxiety. Some people are afraid of social situations, while some suffer from panic attacks. Now let’s not confuse severe anxiety with normal anxiety. It’s a normal and healthy part of life to be a little anxious from time to time. If you have a big exam on your way or even if you have to make a speech. A little anxiety can actually help you to stay focused however, when anxiety begins to affect your way of life… That is when it becomes a problem.
If you experience any of these symptoms often, you may have a problem with anxiety.
The following are a list of common symptoms. (From http://helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_types_symptoms_treatment.htm)
- Feelings of apprehension or dread
- Trouble concentrating
- Feeling tense and jumpy
- Anticipating the worst
- Watching for signs of danger
- Feeling like your mind’s gone blank
- Pounding heart
- Stomach upset or dizziness
- Frequent urination or diarrhea
- Shortness of breath
- Tremors and twitches
- Muscle tension
If you suffer from some of these on a daily basis then you may have a problem and I strongly recommend that you get help right away. Anxiety can control you and develop a personality of its own. In my next blog, I will talk about Social anxiety and treatment. Until then!
- Overcoming Social Anxiety Disorder – The Natural Way (brighthub.com)
- Social Anxiety Disorder (helpingpsychology.com)
- Insight into Agoraphobia Symptoms (brighthub.com)