I find going out for a run or a walk with my dog to be a great way to ground myself and put things into perspective
Anxiety is defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease. It refers to the physical and psychological symptoms that we feel when we are anxious. Anxiety is a very personal thing and we will all experience it differently, but symptoms such as nausea, an accelerated heart rate, difficulty sleeping, a feeling of fear, dread, or numbness, an overactive mind and a sense of restlessness are common.
Why do we get anxious?
Anxiety is part of the ‘fight or flight’ response of the sympathetic nervous system – the way our body reacts to a perceived danger or stress. This response developed to help protect early humans from threats such as wild animals, by putting the body in a state of high alert to either fight the threat or flee. These days, it is far more likely to be triggered by pressures at work, home, or school. It should go like this – threat, response, recovery.
The trouble is, that for some people (1 in 6 people in any given week, according to the charity Mind), the reaction is being triggered so often that a state of anxiety becomes the norm. There is a lot of information available about the potential long-term effects of living in a prolonged state of anxiety. I came across an article which explains in a bit more detail how you need a balance between the two sides of the autonomic nervous system. It’s an interesting read and gives you a better understanding of the physiological side of anxiety.
This post is more personal - a snap shot of my own experience with anxiety. I want to share with you a bit of my own story in the hope of raising awareness of how anxiety can gradually take over, and that by talking about it, acknowledging it and being aware of why it is happening, you can beat it.
I was a very anxious child. In fact, I was an anxious teenager and an anxious adult too. I was very self-conscious and constantly worried about what people thought. I had some very good friends that I could trust and I had a lot of fun - I just worried too, and over-thought everything. I never really ‘did’ emotions when I was growing up. I had a secure and loving family, but discussing or displaying emotions didn’t really happen. I didn’t know what to do with my emotions, so I just kept them bottled up inside.
School was the biggest source of anxiety for me. Doing a talk in class was the absolute worst thing. I was very creative at finding ways to avoid doing the things that made me anxious, which was basically anything where I was in the spot-light.
My anxiety mainly manifested as nausea. For years I barely ate on a school morning. I can clearly picture myself in the kitchen before school with my mum, feeling so sick and dreading going to school. When I got there and I was with my friends, I was usually fine, but knowing that didn’t alter how I felt every morning.
The crazy thing is that I just don’t think I realised what was going on at the time. I think I knew it was the worry about school that was making me feel so bad. I rarely felt ill at the weekend, well not until we all sat down to watch Open All Hours, Miss Marple, or some other Sunday night TV. It meant the weekend was almost over, and acted as the trigger for the anxiety to start all over again.
Anxiety in the driving seat
Fast forward a few years to my first proper post-university job. Within a year or so of being there I had developed Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This had a big effect on my job and involved being sent to see the company doctor. I took the decision to find a new job - something more within my comfort zone and out of the anxiety-trigger zone. The anxiety was taking over.
Regaining the controls
Another seven or eight years later, I had my first proper homeopathic consultation. The effects were incredible. It felt like all the layers of uncertainty and anxiety I had been carrying around with me since childhood were gradually falling away. It was such a subtle change that it was only at follow up appointments when I was questioned about certain things I’d mentioned before, that I would realise how much I had moved forward. I was still me, but those anxious thoughts and the almost constant inner dialogues were gone.
I can now say with certainty and gratitude, that anxiety doesn’t rule my life anymore – it hasn’t for years. That’s not to say I’m never anxious, but now it’s just how it should be - a temporary state, not one that takes control. The way I experienced anxiety was unique to me. My homeopath asked about my childhood experiences and the triggers and manifestations of my anxiety to give me a personalised prescription. It changed my life.
Interested in finding out more?
If you are interested in hearing more about how homeopathy’s individualised approach can help the symptoms of anxiety please get in touch - remember that anything we discuss is confidential.
For a few tips on slowing down and taking control of your day right now, you can take a look at my December post :)