Everyone feels anxious once in a while. The anticipation of finally being able to hug your family after 2 years of lock down from covid, or the dread of writing your final exams in school. We all get that pent up adrenaline feeling now and then. It’s our body’s way of helping us deal with real danger or to perform our best. When we experience anxiety it’s our body’s ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response (adrenaline response) is triggered. But what if that feeling never goes away? What if you had to live with feeling anxious and nervous every day? For many people what should be just butterflies in your stomach or goosebumps on your arms, or an excited adrenaline rush of anticipation turns into dread and constant worry to the point of chest pains and hyperventilating.
When the anxiety starts to impede your everyday activities, that’s when it’s not healthy anymore and you should seek help.
Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder and one of the most distressing emotions as people sometimes call it fear or nervousness.
As of 2017 an estimated 284 million people had an anxiety disorder in the world. Approximately 179 million were female and 105 million were male. The graph below shows that male and female difference.
There are different forms of anxiety including phobic, social, obsessive compulsive (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or generalized anxiety disorders (GAD).
Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:
- Feeling restless or tense
- Tension headaches
- Rapid heartbeat
- Hyperventilating (rapid breathing}
- Numbness and tingling sensations
- Nausea and stomach upset
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Felling weak or tired
- Having trouble sleeping
- Having difficulty controlling worry
- Having a sense of impending danger or doom
- Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
I was diagnosed with ‘severe anxiety disorder’ over 10 years ago. Severe because I not only have general anxiety, PTSD, I also have a phobia.
I’m claustrophobic. Claustrophobia is the intense fear of enclosed spaces. I’m ok in an elevator as long as it’s empty. If it’s crowded I have to try and control my breathing so I don’t hyperventilate. I always have to know where the windows and doors are in a room and have to be near an exit in a room full of people. I have problems with medical tests at the hospital. (The only one I don’t have a problem with so far is a CT scan.) So I’ll let them know when the appointment is booked that I’m very claustrophobic and I’ll need to be sedated. There were times when I got to an appointment and the technician was not informed so he couldn’t sedate me. The first time that happened they found another machine that could do the images without me being enclosed in it. The second time it happened, I left, and from now on I will leave and go back when they’ll do the sedation. I did try but I had a panic attack start within 15 seconds.
Through meditation, reiki and watching my triggers, all things considered, I’ve been able to manage my anxiety in the past. However, in the past few years I went against my gut instinct on a few decisions and now ultimately, my anxiety and stress have taken over. So I’ve gone back to practicing reiki and meditating, and I’ll listen to my gut and will try not to give in to pressure.
Until Next Time,