For all the bloggers out there, how many times have you sat at your computer, started to write and then deleted and tried again? Well that was one of these posts! After April, where I blogged once a day, I completely wore myself out. Found it hard to be motivated to write and even now can sometimes struggle.
But part of this is my anxiety. My new(ish) friend. As a child, I was very carefree – even up to my twenties I was laid back (generally!) I can almost pinpoint the moment my life started to change and the anxiety started to creep in, before I knew it, it had it’s grip on me and is refusing to let go. As time has gone on I have researched more into Anxiety and have found some really ‘interesting’ facts about what anxiety does to your body and how, if left untreated, damaging it can be to your body! I learned the hard way.
My anxiety, at it’s height, lead to some horrific panic attacks. I had never experienced them before but would find myself screaming on the way into work. It was disturbing. One day I had been playing with the cat when she scratched my thumb, quite a deep cut. A few days later I noticed that it was still aching. Then the digits on my hand and my foot started swelling and I couldn’t get my toes to touch the ground. I had a case of Plantar Fasciitis – which I now know was part of my arthritis developing. So with that in mind here are some of the symptoms of my anxiety:
Symptoms that affected me
- Starting off with the one which plagued me for the longest time. Changes to bowel movements – yep I went there. Back and forth to the Doctors found nothing, it even resulted in a hospital visit but still nothing was found – because my problem wasn’t physical.
- Fatigue – I struggled to stay awake sometimes, I still can. This was really my body’s way of trying to fix itself. But it’s had a massive impact on my life. I no longer feel able to do what I used to be able to. I regularly have to cancel or change plans because I have no energy.
- Irritability – I have always had a temper, something which I had managed to get a bit of a handle on, but I have always had patience! Well that is not the case any more. I find myself getting irritated at the smallest thing and snapping at loved ones. Which I really don’t mean to do but that doesn’t make it any better because then I get hit by the guilt.
- The feeling of being overwhelmed. I have always been very organised but I have found, since the anxiety has set up home, that this is not the case. I cannot stay on top of anything, despite trying to make lists, having reminders in my phone. Without fail I let things slip through the net – this is incredibly frustrating!
- Negative focus – I found myself to be a positive person. But now I dwell on the negativity of things. I find it hard to focus on the positive – to look at the good things in life – and to let it go.
- Acne – my poor skin has suffered terribly. Partly due to the anxiety and partly due to not being able to look after myself properly.
- Weight gain and inability to lose weight. This, for me, is one of the hardest to deal with. Not only because my weight has always been something I’ve struggled with but also because being overweight leads to inflammation. Which makes my arthritis worse.
This sounds so depressing writing it out (another symptom by the way!) But I feel I’m coming over the other side now. I haven’t had a panic attack in months, if not over a year.
Ways to deal with anxiety symptoms.
- Try to practise daily gratitudes. There are a lot of things to be thankful for. Write them down or note them mentally but whatever it is – count your blessings.
- Set a good routine. This can include skin care routine, morning routine, night routine. I try to go to bed around the same time every day and wake up the same time. Nine times out of ten I can do this. I need to learn to not beat myself up on the other days!
- Seek professional help – whether that is a counsellor, medication or something else it is important to share what you are feeling and know that you are not alone. Though, truthfully, this is one of the more difficult steps.
- Mindfulness. Find an activity that takes your mind off of the things that cause you anxiety. I recently took up quilting and I cannot tell you how peaceful I find it. Because it requires so much concentration I find that I can sew for hours and not think once about what is worrying me.
Ultimately, although I’m dealing with anxiety, it can still get me at surprising moments – like when I sat down to write an entirely different blog post. Wrote and deleted about 10 times. Finally settling on this topic. Yes it’s nothing new but it has felt good to get that off my chest for today at least. Now to go and design my next quilt!
Has anxiety ever affected you or someone else in your life? How do you deal with it? Have you ever had any of these symptoms? (If you have, please deal with it before you end up with an auto-immune disease!)
Till next time!
P.S. Anyone catch the throw back in my title?