Anxiety

In the last blog post, I spoke about the Myrmidryad video ‘Privacy, Authenticity, TMI’ which was essentially about vloggers sharing every aspect of their lives in their videos. It gave me some cause for reflection since I share a lot about myself on this blog (go ahead and read it if you want to see what I thought) and today’s blog post is also inspired by the video.

Today I would like to talk a little about anxiety as that is something which affects me, but something which I don’t believe I have addressed on this blog before. I remember once a friend of mine was feeling very anxious about something and they were very apologetic, so I said to them “No need to apologise! I know the feeling very well!” to which they replied “What really? But you’re the most chilled out person I’ve ever met.” which made me very happy. I think I am generally quite good at hiding anxiety, though I’m not entirely sure that that kind of internalisation is very healthy.

Very recently, I was in a very high anxiety situation (perhaps the highest I have experienced) and I’d like to describe that a little. Anxiety is not just a case of feeling nervous, it is actually a very physical thing. Often it causes me to have headaches or chest pains; migraines, in the very worst cases. A friend of mine was talking to me at one point, but though I heard every word, I could not understand them; my mind was not functioning properly and I couldn’t put the pieces together. I got by with several general words and sounds of affirmation, but I can’t help but feel a bit guilty, since I did not actually know what they said. On the flip side, I also found it very hard to talk myself. The problem was that I was having a bout of breathlessness and I didn’t want to draw attention to myself by breathing deeply; this meant there were times when every single word required a lot of effort and I had to really concentrate on every word of every sentence I spoke.

The good news is that, these days, at least, very few things actually cause me to feel anxious. I have it down to a few identified triggers which I try to work on. But when I do feel anxiety, I find a form of meditation is helpful. Most often for me, anxiety is caused , in one way or another, by self-loathing, so what I do is try really, really hard to remember times when I have been very pleased with myself and happy. I have a selection of memories of myself with various different friends and I close my eyes and try hard to relive those moments. Obviously, I can’t always do this, but it’s a fairly effective way to neutralise anxiety for me. I have to be careful though, because occasionally a positive memory can be the cause of anxiety, if I determine that it is something which could never happen again due to how much my life has changed.

Thankfully, most of the causes of my anxiety have been resolved. In my experience, a combination of forcing myself into high-anxiety situations (or to face my fears, in other words) is the best way to overcome it in the long term. Of course, another very useful thing is to discuss it with friends and receive positive support from them. Overall, I wouldn’t say I was a very anxious person, but I do occasionally succumb to anxiety. I hope that, in time, I’ll have been able to overcome all of the triggers of my anxiety.

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