My Story: 10 Years of Suffering from Anxiety

Posted on October 6, 2013

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I said last week that I’d say something about my experiences of anxiety, and in the last few days i’ve not been able to write because i’ve been suffering from it a little bit. I just woke up, a sunny Sunday in October – and thought ‘I need to talk about this’.

Whenever I get anxiety now, it is caused by certain life experiences or conversations, that I call triggers. Usually it is stuff I’m sensitive about, which taps into something in my subconscious, most likely resurfacing pain from my childhood. What I experience is a combination of different sensations, depending on how overwhelming the anxiety actually is.

But its taken me nearly 10 years to get to a place where I can explain it.

What anxiety looks like to me

For me, anxiety can come in the form of emotions like paranoia, fear, loneliness, sadness and nervousness or physical manifestations, such as heart palpitations, chest pain, or simply a general feeling of unease. I can also struggle to concentrate on anything whilst i’m suffering, and my mind can be filled with thoughts that feel like they slowly drive me insane. It’s like I become consumed by this illness, and my mind goes into overdrive.

Breaking it down – anxiety usually starts when someone says or does something that hurts me. It then used to manifest into a general conviction that the world is against me, starting off with the sense that people don’t like me. That they think i’m weird, incapable, stupid, ugly or annoying. As if they’re saying one thing to my face and thinking something else completely. Now, my rational brain knows that this is all in my imagination, but I used to have arguments with myself where the other part of my brain was telling me to trust my gut, that this sense of what the world thinks about me, was my intuition telling me something. My mind would then go round and round in circles, not knowing which ‘voice’ to trust.

Where my anxiety came from

I first noticed I had anxiety in my mid 20s. I was working for a big media organisation who publish high profile national consumer magazines, and was desperately unhappy. I became withdrawn, moody, and argumentative. I started punishing myself by reducing my food intake. I lost a lot of weight. Looking back, I can see now that when I was convinced everyone hated me, that was the manifestation of how I felt about myself.

I’d just got back from travelling around the world, a trip that I had thought would save me from falling into the big black hole that had been threatening to engulf me post-university. I had this fantasy that I would go away, meet the love of my life and come back happy.

Whilst I was on this trip there were three key moments that changed my life. I think its worth explaining them, so you can get an understanding of the context around which I had my first anxiety filled mental breakdown.

CLICK TO READ PART 2

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Posted in: Journal, The Truth