AD | I’ve always been very open and honest about my mental illness on my blog and have written a plethora of posts around different areas of anxiety in the past, mostly information which I’ve learnt over the years based on my own experience. Because I’m not a doctor or a psychiatrist but I do have my own experiences which I’m quite happy to share and if the things that have helped me can help someone else, then that’s amazing and I’d say that’s a job well done.
But today I’m teaming up with Kalms to discuss a general overview of anxiety, which I’m absolutely thrilled about because I’ve been using Kalms tablets for years now and I still take them on a daily basis. Anxiety comes in all shapes and sizes and it’s certainly never a one-size-fits-all kinda thing.
We all experience anxiety from time to time; a doctors appointment, a school exam or a job interview. But sometimes when those feelings are present every day, even when there’s no trigger, that can be when you’ve stepped across the line of what’s considered “normal” anxiety.
All information provided in this post can be found on various health websites but obviously if you feel like your anxiety is becoming overwhelming and you’re not coping, you should always see your GP.
My own anxiety experience
I’ve written about my own anxiety experience in much more detail here, so if you want the long version, head over to that post. But for those that might be new around here, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder in 2011, after a bout of the flu in 2010 which left me bed-bound and housebound for 2 weeks. Everyone gets the flu occasionally. It sucks. But for some reason, once I was better physically, I just couldn’t get back to “normal”.
It was like a switch had been moved in my brain and all of a sudden, I was terrified of everything. Being in public made me feel like I was going to faint. I developed weird strategies for things and I just couldn’t function anymore. And before this, I was the most outgoing and carefree girl in the world. It was like I’d been replaced with someone else. My anxiety has changed over time. Things I used to be scared of don’t bother me anymore and I’m much better now than I was all those years ago.
I went to the GP and was prescribed medication (which I didn’t take but that’s another story), I went to CBT then eventually to a private therapist who I quite frankly believe I own my life to. I’ve learnt coping mechanisms over the years and I’ve learnt to live with my anxiety, instead of constantly fighting it. It’s been a journey. One I never thought I’d experience.
Common causes of anxiety
My own experience is a bit of a weird one, clearly and is much more extreme than what we’re talking about here. My anxiety affected every single aspect of my life and turned it on it’s head. Mild anxiety shouldn’t do that and if your anxiety is impacting your every day life for more than 2 weeks, there might be a bigger issue than just your “every day anxiety” going on, so go and see your GP.
But mild to moderate anxiety is common, with 1 in 5 people reporting to suffer from it. But the causes and the symptoms are still not widely known or discussed in some cases which, understandably, leaves people feeling confused and alone and not knowing what’s wrong with them. Some of the common causes of anxiety can be:
- Working long hours, extra stress at work and not giving yourself enough down time
- Financial strains
- Losing a loved one, a pet, a break up, a friendship break-down or other personal problems
- Feeling lonely, isolate or worthless (again, if these feelings are impacting your day to day life, you may be suffering with depression, so go and see your GP)
- Past trauma and experiences e.g. being bullied, assaulted, losing a parent
How to spot anxiety
Anxiety is far from just panic attacks and worrying what other people think of you. These are two symptoms but there is a huge spectrum of other symptoms that some people might not even be aware are related to their anxiety.
Physical symptoms of anxiety can include:
- Nausea, having an upset stomach or being sick
- Muscle aches, tension and feeling rigid
- Racing heartbeat or palpitations
- Sweating, clammy hands or feeling hot
- Dry mouth or a tight throat
Psychological symptoms of anxiety can include:
- A racing mind with poor concentration
- Feeling restless, irritable or agitated
- Having a sense of dread about everything
- Fear of losing control
- Constant worry or fear
Ways to manage anxiety
Like I’ve said 3 times already, if you’re really struggling with your anxiety and it’s stopping you functioning on a day to day basis and is impacting your life in a negative way, then you should always see your GP first to get a proper diagnosis before you find alternative ways to cope. But for those that suffer with mild anxiety and could use a helping hand, here are some other ways you can manage your anxiety:
Assuming you’re not on medication for anxiety (whether you are or not, you should always check with your GP before taking any natural or herbal products for mental health), the Kalms Lavender range is a great option to relive symptoms of mild anxiety. The 1 a day capsules aim to work within 1 or 2 weeks before you start seeing lasting effects, with 70% of those taking them saying they improved their feelings of anxiety at the end of the trial. Kalms Lavender One-A-Day capsules are available in Boots, Asda and online at www.kalmsrange.com.
Speak to someone
Aside from your GP, sharing your thoughts and concerns about how you’re feeling can be really helpful. I know it’s the last thing we want to do sometimes but confiding in someone can really help take a load off and even distract us, if that’s what we need! A parent, friend, partner or even ringing the Samaritans is a great option.
Write it down and recognize your triggers
Keeping track of how you’re feeling and why is also a really useful tool. For mild anxiety, this can work really well by helping us recognize our triggers, our physical and psychological symptoms and also how to deal with these triggers when they arise. Remember, avoiding your triggers can be counterproductive. I learnt that the hard way.
Find ways to help you switch off
And finding something we love and are passionate about is a great way to distract us from those anxious thoughts and feelings and channel our anxious energy into something more positive. Something like reading or playing a video game is an amazing distraction and painting, drawing or something else creative is a wonderful way to express ourselves emotionally.
Learn some basic coping mechanisms
This will be different for everyone but having some basic but effective coping mechanisms in your back pocket is so helpful. For example, keeping a packet of Kalms tablets in your bag to take when you need something to take the edge off. Learning breathing techniques which work for you (I like the 7/11 technique), visualization, listening to relaxing music or anything else which helps you manage your anxiety.
Anxiety is so common and in today’s society? I can’t say I’m surprised. There’s constant pressure on us from a younger and younger age to do the right things and look the right way. Social media no doubt has played its part in that too. I love social media and the online world (I wouldn’t have a job without it) but it definitely heightens my anxiety from time to time.
If you have anxiety or think you might have anxiety, remember that help and support is out there. Not everyone might understand what you’re going through but a lot of people will so please don’t stay quiet because you think it’s silly or irrelevant. Your mental health matters just as much as your physical health does. So take care of it.
My comments section is always a safe and monitored space for you to share your own anxiety stories, so if you have anything you’d like to share, I’d love to hear it!
* This is a sponsored post