I think some people are more prone to anxiety than others, but that does not mean you have to live with it. You can use it as a chance to reassess your life because anxiety is the body's way of telling you that you are dealing with too much.
Stages of anxiety:
The invisible build up - most (not all) people that suffer from anxiety are kind, caring, sensitive, forgiving, empathic people, which can be their downfall. This type of personality attracts several unhealthy personality types:
1. Vampires: people who offload onto you and make their stress your stress.
2. Users: They only ever get in touch when their life is in turmoil and they usually want 'a favour', they then disappear until the next crisis.
Equally you may have your own personality traits that add to stress build up:
1. You may find it hard to say no to people - which works well for those above personality types.
2. You may have a desire to be a high achiever.
3. You may care too much about people that do not care about you.
Usually people are blind to the invisible stage.
Visible build-up - You are semi-aware that you are stressed, but that's because your life feels hectic, so you accept this and carry on as normal. The kids might be driving you mad, work might stress you out, you might be drinking more and making jokes about it, or eating unhealthily because you don't have time to make meals from scratch ... the list goes on, but most people in this stage are semi-aware they are stressed. I use the phrase semi-aware because if you were fully aware, you would do something about it.
Anxiety phase - It feels as if it hits out of nowhere. Your first panic attack sends you into a spiral of shock, fear and dread as you become afraid of your own mind and body. You wander around, searching for your former self, but you are nowhere to be found. Simple tasks that you managed only weeks ago, like going to the super market or driving your car, feel impossible. You can't stop worrying about possible disasters that will turn your life upside down. You try to hide it for a while and carry on as normal, but you are certain that everyone is aware of what is going on, and you feel that they are judging you. You feel scared about how out of control everything feels.
Escape route - You look for a way to stop the sensations and thoughts that invade your body and mind. It might be in the form of food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, gambling, over exercising, or you might retreat from the world and lock yourself away. You are looking for an escape from the horror that has become your daily life, and while some of the above things may give you temporary relief, you know that anxiety is there, lurking in the background.
Identity - You wear anxiety like a layer of clothing and it becomes part of who you are. You have become a 'master' at living with anxiety, and you now identify yourself as anxious. Sometimes it works in your favour when you want to get out of things that do not interest you, a lot of the time it drains the life out of you and restricts you like an invisible coat of amour that only you see and feel.
Curing it - You can't keep living like this. You want to get well and go in search of medication 'to take it away'. Sometimes it helps for a short while, but you dare not think about coming off the pills.
Cycles: You may develop a cycle of having good / bad times. If you are lucky you will get some relief from time to time and during those times, you remember how it feels to be care free, to be able to do anything you want without anxiety standing over you like a shadow.
Final stage - You've had enough. You no longer want to live like this. You don't want to rely on medication forever. You want your life back. You want to be 'you' again, the person before.
I am here to tell you that you can be, infact you can actually be your best ever self after anxiety. I know this, because I lived with anxiety in childhood and it impacted upon my life hugely. I also lived with panic disorder and anxiety in adulthood. I was a prisoner in my own body - I have now been anxiety free for 10 yrs+, I have lost loved ones and endured many different forms of life stress, BUT I HAVE NOT SUFFERED PANIC ATTACKS OR ANXIETY SINCE. You can also live a life free of anxiety if you choose to. Check out my website to find out more visit my shop and check out The Road to Recovery PDF.
Laura Adams - qualified counsellor and owner @InnerPeaceBears
As a former sufferer of childhood anxiety, my passion is helping children and parents overcome anxiety. I currently work as a child trauma counsellor part time and in my spare time I write and build my website which has a shop dedicated with resources that aim to reduce anxiety. Thank you for reading my blog. Laura 🌸