feeling or showing worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.
"she was extremely anxious about her exams"
synonyms: worried, concerned, apprehensive, fearful, uneasy, ill at ease, perturbed, troubled, disquieted, bothered, disturbed, distressed, fretful, fretting, agitated, in a state of agitation, nervous, in a state of nerves, edgy, on edge, tense, overwrought, worked up, keyed up, strung out, jumpy, afraid, worried sick, with one's stomach in knots, with one's heart in one's mouth, on pins and needles, stressed, under stress, in suspense, flurried;
When my friend didn't text me back and I was sure she hated me.
Before a first date. Will he like me? Do I look like shit? What if I burp mid-joke telling? What if I literally shit myself?
On the first date. Am I talking too much? Not enough? Do I sound ridiculous? What's going to happen next? Did I chuck my dirty washing in the pile where he can't see, if he comes back?
After the first date. Will I ever hear from him? Will he ghost? Should I ghost?
When I left it too late to respond to an email.
When I check my bank balance.
When I know I've left a spoon on the side and don't want to upset my housemate.
When I feel like a terrible friend.
When someone tells me bad news.
When I have to tell someone bad news.
When I think I've upset someone.
When I need to tell someone they've upset me.
When I have to answer the phone to a random number.
When I get the, 'we need to talk', text.
When I get any text that gives me a hint that something bad will happen.
When my sister phones me. I'm still not over the time it was to tell me my Mum was not responsive.
When I know I've fucked up at work.
When I've put out a shit blog post.
When my blog gets no comments/shares for more than a day - do people hate me?
When I have to meet new people.
When I have to see people I've known for so long.
When I'm invited to something fun and amazing but get the sudden panicky feel.
On the Tube.
In my bathroom, thinking about every seemingly insurmountable task I need to do as soon as I leave it for the day.
Even if they're totally surmountable.
Because that's anxiety.
Anyone that has ever suffered anxiety, and on whatever end of the spectrum will understand the often irrationality that is the source of the anxiety.
That's why it's so hard for others to understand.
To outsiders who think you seem strong, sorted, outgoing, confident and ballsy, it's hard to compute that certain situations can turn your stomach into a quivering ball of mush.
That your heart can suddenly feel like a caged animal, fighting to escape.
That your chest suddenly weighs double your body weight.
That your legs are now made of cotton wool and you don't know how you're going to able to walk any further steps.
But you do. Because you fight it every time.
How I Fight The Anxiety Within
It has taken me many years of self-reflection and pattern-observing to be able to tell when I'm feeling anxious and to what extent.
It's an inner risk-management process. Any one that's ever experienced any trauma has that inbuilt hyper-awareness ability to sense and measure potential risk.
if that's you, you'll recognise the feeling of being super aware of your own emotions and changes, even slight ones, in other people's emotions and behaviours.
You'll notice, in a hyper aware state, that your senses are elevated. Your heart rate rises. You sense danger. You're anticipating it. Then the anxiety hits.
So at these times you need coping strategies, here are mine:
- Deep breathing.
- Visualisation of a calm place or happy memory.
- Texting someone who knows of your anxieties something to distract you.
- Smelling a comforting fragrance.
- Tiggling the back of my hand (weird but works).
- Tapping my collarbones (see weird but works).
- Rubbing ear lobes (as above).
- Scrolling the ASOS app and filling it with thousands of pounds of things and never checking out.
- Watching The Office/Friends/Harry Potter/something comforting and familiar with no suspense or tension on TV.
- Reading a book with no suspense or tension.
- Listening to my favourite song on repeat. Which is currently Sorry Not Sorry by Demi Lovato which I'm definitely sorry not sorry about.
Here are just a few things I do when a wave of anxiety hits - what works for you guys? I'd love some ideas over on Twitter!
For more advice, I've teamed up with BetterHelp, head to their site for more information.