For several years now I’ve been struggling with anxiety. For a long time I didn’t realize that’s what it was. I would find myself unable to go to lessons at school, crippled by the thought of being in the room with 10 other people! When things went wrong I would become so angry I would be throwing things at the wall and tearing my hair out.
The University (or when the things got worse)
I went away to university, thinking that 5 years of boarding school was plenty of preparation for being away from home. Maybe so, but on some days I would be so nervous I couldn’t even get out of bed, let alone get to lectures. My grades suffered as a result, and so fear of failure created a vicious circle, not helped by my heart problems which put me into hospital three times in my first year. Unsurprisingly, I failed my first-year exams in spectacular fashion and spent my summer holidays revising for resits – for my 19th birthday I was back at university and revising for an exam the next day. I failed most of those as well, and spent the next year and a half working at the local pharmaceutical factory, packing inhalers into small cardboard boxes.
Managing my anxiety at work
Since then I worked for an activity company, but it turned out that living in staff accommodation was even more destructive than university. The drinking culture was even heavier, and the living conditions themselves were…. well, let’s just leave it with: I got pneumonia and my roommate ended up with pleurisy. I started taking Prozac after I tried to overdose on ibuprofen, which really didn’t help. It lowered my inhibitions and I ended up drinking more and more. Eventually I realized I couldn’t carry on. I used my day off to go home to see a friend play a gig in a nearby village, planning to get back to work the next morning ready to start at 8:00 AM. I ended up staying in the pub long after my friends left, drinking Jager Bombs with complete strangers and leaving with some guy. I ended up at the station on my own with hours till the next train. I don’t really remember much of what happened, but from what my friend who I phoned told me I’d completely lost it. I ended up getting picked up and taken home, but I snuck out to go and stay with a male friend. We found out in the morning that after my friend saw I hadn’t turned up for work, he told my boss about my phone call, he’d phoned my mother, and my mum, unable to find me, phoned the police, who had to come round and check I wasn’t being held against my will!
What helped with anxiety
When I finally got back to work, I handed in my four weeks’ notice, although we agreed I’d only stay a week. Knowing I was then leaving made me feel a million times better, and I had the best week ever. I snogged the guy I’d fancied for ages on my last night there, and carried on seeing him for a while afterwards. I think that really was the point where things started turning around.
I took some time out, and also changed my medication to Citalopram which was supposed to help with my anxiety issues. When I looked into anxiety disorders I knew that this was what I had been struggling with for so long. I’ve stopped biting my nails down to the quick, chewing my fingers till they bleed and pulling my hair out. I’ve found a new job, working part time in a cafe, and I’ve cut down my drinking so much it’s hard to believe I’m the same person! Then at my 21st birthday party I met a guy who I had an amazing connection with. It turns out we want exactly the same thing; and both have struggles with mental health. Knowing I have his support, and being able to be there for someone else as well, is having a huge effect. I’m still having difficulties – I was away for a week with a group from church and had a very hard time being away from the support I have at home, but after that I know I can do it and hopefully will be able to do it again.
I know how important having the help of my family and friends has been to me, and I’m writing this hoping that someone might read it and see something of themselves, and know that they’re not the only one. If that’s you, I hope this helps, and that things look better for you soon.
6 thoughts on “Coping With Anxiety”
It really does help to know that other people have the same problem. My goal in life is to also work out my anxiety without meds. The things I have been doing to help it is to first off, tell all my good friends. Once you have done that, you just feela a sense of reliefknowing people won’t judge you if you have to leave the room for a bit or other quirks we have like that. Another thing I do is push myself to my limits. For me I get anxious and sometimes have panic attacks when I go to sleepovers and have to be in large crowds. I try to do as much as I can that involves one of those becuase if your going to get over them, you have to keep fighting it with whats wrong. I also feel like writing down things or talking the out helps. Heck, if you wanted to, going to a psychologist actually really helps! Keep pushing on!
This is a good article… I have this same type of problem, a doctor told me once that I have something called GAD, generalized anxiety disorder, basically I worry constantly. I suffered for years and medication never helped. In the last 6 months or so I found a good solution.
Meditation. If you’ve never tried it, I strongly recommend it. Guided meditation is also very helpful. It helps you find that sense of peace that seems so fleeting… And even after you’re done just thinking about it later helps to calm you. Try reading the Tao.
Exercise also helps. It gives you something to work toward and if you worry about it you’re just refining your way of being healthy. Plus when you’re leaving the gym that high is hard to duplicate.
I’m not sure if I have anxiety or not, I have just gone to the doctors and they have referred me to a psychiatrist or counseling, they said to try counseling first and it may be easier for me. I go through stages where I have panic attacks if I can’t do something, for instance I was at my local mall and was trying to print off a picture using bluetooth, it was a new phone and it confused me and I started to have a panic attack. I haven’t had a panic attack in a month, but when I get nervous or scared about something I have twitches not always full body ones all the time, mostly just my arm. I get scared about going to places I haven’t been before, I have just started college and I was crying a lot and my twitches were happening very often throughout the day. Can it affect your look on yourself? Because I have been feeling very low lately and have lost almost all of my confidence. Can it affect your eating as well cause over the past week or so I have not been able to eat I can’t seem to eat more than a sandwich and if I eat my dinner then I will end up throwing up, I am not forcing myself to do any of this I do not want to lose weight, but I wondered if cause of anxiety subconsciously I am? My twitches have also got worse over the past week, and coincidentally this was my first week of college? However I am not scared of meeting new people or having a laugh with me friends, unless it is in a new place, I have never been shy before I am usually loud and bubbly, but I am finding it harder each day. sorry for the long winded comment, any answers would help and I would be grateful!
Problems like these seem to crop up when you’re thrown into a new situation like that. Don’t worry I used to think I was alone in it as well… Panic attacks are a definite sign of an anxiety issue… Talk to your friends about it, tell a close family member the more you talk about it the better you will feel. It is a sort of automatic thing, hard to control, but if you can get all your feelings out either verbally or writing then it will help you overcome it… Also, maybe you should consider professional assistance. Anxiety like this could really set you back if you don’t take charge as soon as possible.
I have anxiety and have had a series of panic attacks. It helps to know that I’m not alone, that other people go through the same thing…
Some things I’ve tried are writing, reading (although its hard because you have to concentrate pretty hard), exercise ….. but what helps me the most is blasting music through my ears. Music is my life and i can actually loose myself in the rhythm and notes.
Also if you’re in school when you start feeling anxious, I can find solace in my favorite teacher, my art teacher. She pretty much knows everything about my disorders and has witnessed and helped me calm down from a panic attack.
And guidance counselors. depending on your school or college, you may have good counselors or bad ones. I’m really close with mine because I took three months off of my junior year and she helped get me back in the swing of things. If I didn’t feel comfortable going to class i would sit in her office and listen to my music and read. She really helps me a lot. And she hasn’t stopped helping even though I’m better. she still makes me check in with her every week 🙂 its really nice to know someone cares!!!
And don’t be afraid to seek help!!! People are trained to help!!! That’s their job!!! And don’t be embrassed about it!!!
I’ve suffered from anxiety for years and it’s really a cruel thing. Just walking down the hallways in my high school at the end of the day made me feel so incredibly anxious and I could feel myself wanting to panic.
Anxiety is probably one of the worst emotions the human body can compose.
Knowing that there are tons of other people out there who have experienced it also helped me a lot.
I’ve been taking amitryptaline and sertraline for the past year and they’re working wonders.