So often, when I tell people I have anxiety they will ask me, what is anxiety? Which is awesome. I feel it’s starting to get easier to talk about, people are more open to talking about and genuinely wanting to understand it. So I thought it was about time I explain what anxiety is.
Anxiety is defined as a feeling of worry, fear, apprehension, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. Of course, experiencing some level of anxiety is normal throughout your life. It’s generally related to something we have to do, an exam or a speech for example. Like any other emotion is has a time and place when it’s natural to feel anxious. When anxiety starts to occur regularly or at times when the feelings of worry and fear are not justified and it starts to interfere with daily tasks, this is when it starts to be considered an anxiety ‘disorder’.
The feelings of apprehension and unease are disproportionate to the activity. For example, when my anxiety is really bad, small tasks like brushing my hair are very difficult. I get extreme feelings of fear, worry and frustration. The logical side of my brain is telling me “there is nothing to be afraid of here. It is just a hair brush, brushing your hair. You’re in control of the situation.” then there is the anxiety side saying “oh but we can’t be sure, body start to prep yourself for a dangerous situation, we have a brush approaching!” While this is easy for me to sit and joke about now, in the moment it is all consuming and very difficult to deal with.
When you start to have this sort of response to nearly every task in your day to day life it is exhausting and can be debilitating. I’ll run through some of the symptoms of anxiety to help you create a picture.
Symptoms of Anxiety:
– Nausea – Pins and Needles
– Numbness – Lack of Concentration
– Irritability – Muscle Tension
– Trembling – Churning Stomach
– Headache – Inability to Sleep
So, as you can imagine it is not fun. Particularly when a lot of these symptoms occur when you’re in public or around other people, which tends to make them ten times worse.
What causes anxiety? This I won’t attempt to answer as everyone’s situation is different. However understanding what causes anxiety for you is an important factor in managing anxiety. There are so many resources that can help you understand and deal with anxiety. If you’re experiencing these symptoms reach out and talk to someone. 1 in 4 kiwis experience anxiety, panic attacks or phobias everyday. You will be surprised how many people deal with this daily and you would have no idea. I will link some awesome resources at the end of this post if you would like to check them out!
If you have experienced anxiety, is there anything in particular that has helped to you get through? I would love to chat with you in the comments and swap some tips and tricks!
Alisha Barbara xx
New Zealand Help Lines:
The Depression Helpline (0800 111 757)
Healthline (0800 611 116)
Lifeline (0800 543 354)
Samaritans (0800 726 666)
Youthline (0800 376 633)
Alcohol Drug Helpline (0800 787 797)
In an emergency call 111