What it means to have anxiety
If your heart beats through your chest and breathing becomes shallow, chances are you face a challenging situation. A sense of anxiety is helpful in dangerous situations as this sets your body on high alert to protect you. But if the feeling is unprovoked or prolonged, it could be a sign your mental health is under strain.
A higher level of stress
Most people have felt anxious at some point in their life. Perhaps when giving a public speech to a large audience or getting stuck in a lift. But living with anxiety as a mental illness means an attack of intense fear or panic can strike at any time and with no obvious trigger.
Common physical symptoms of anxiety include:
- Heart palpitations
- Sweating and flushing
- Difficulty breathing
- Stomach cramps
- Trouble sleeping
Other symptoms are more emotional than physical and can lead to persistent problems that interfere with every aspect of life:
Anxiety can also result in a number of different cognitive symptoms which include:
- Excessive worry
- Flashbacks to bad experiences
Many of these symptoms become a bit like a habit and leave anxiety sufferers feeling helpless and exhausted. In effect, they are in aperpetual state of high alert, which puts the body and mind under constant strain. When worry lasts way beyond the stressful event that first triggered it or a sense of dread interferes with day to day live, this is when anxiety has become a problem.
Day to day living
No one likes feeling anxious all the time. We are hardwired to try and control or avoid the unpleasant symptoms of anxiety. Very often the things that we do in an attempt to not feel anxious just end up making us feel worse.
Anxiety is a debilitating illness that affects behaviour. Sufferers may avoid situations to avoid an attack of fear, or they may panic in situations that other people do not ordinarily find stressful.
Everyone is different.
Going to work, being sociable or even leaving the house can become difficult. This means people with anxiety have the potential to become isolated with their fear, thus making the situation more intense. Speaking to a professional can be the first step towards recovery.
When anxiety is particularly bad, a panic attack can hit. For some, the physical effects of this are so severe they can feel like they’re having a heart attack or completely losing control. This is a very frightening effect of anxiety. However the symptoms can be treated.
It is important to seek help and ask for support if you are suffering from symptoms of anxiety. Free online therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy with a trained therapist can help you to achieve your goals and help you learn how to manage your symptoms.