Earlier this week, I watched Nadiya Hussain’s documentary ‘Anxiety and Me.’ it encouraged me to write this post. So, today marks the end of Mental Health Awareness week and although we have come a long way in removing the stigma around mental health, I have found from experience that there is still judgement and misunderstanding around mental health.
For as long as I can remember my default is to worry and to feel anxious. When my anxiety levels are high, I have a constant feeling of unease, I can’t relax and I cannot shake the feeling that something’s wrong. I feel irritable and emotional and I usually withdraw from social situations. When my anxiety is at it’s worst, the physical symptoms I experience include: shortness of breath, chest pains, heart palpitations and dizziness.
I have found ways to dampen the intensity of my anxiety disorder but I don’t think I will ever be completely rid of it. For me, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, meditating, reading and practising gratitude all seem to have a positive impact.
I would class myself as ‘high functioning’ so despite the anxiety I feel, I’m able to achieve, to work, socialise and maintain healthy relationships. Like many others with anxiety, I am able to hide my inner turmoil behind a smile and a laugh. It is only my very closest friends and family that can see when I’m struggling.
I know that having anxiety does not make me weak, it does not make me delicate or fragile. I am strong. I am strong because despite the feelings of dread and doom, I push forwards, I do my best and I’m full of hope and optimism.