A is for Adrenaline… an A-Z of Anxiety
Everyone experiences anxiety at some point or another – it’s a normal emotion, and a little bit is actually a good thing – but for some of us, it can be pretty debilitating and impact on every area of life. It can also be pretty difficult for those around us to understand, so here’s an A-Z of anxiety… from someone who knows it only too well.
A is for Adrenaline. You know that fight or flight sensation you get once in a while? Well those of us with extreme anxiety get that feeling the whole damn day long; racing hearts and shaky hands are a speciality.
B is for Breathing. Trying to slow your breathing down when having a panic attack can feel close to impossible. For something that’s supposed to come naturally, breathing itself can be a real issue.
C is for Concentration. Sorry, what am I meant to be writing? Concentration of a sparrow, unless we’re worrying, of course, in which case we’re ace.
D is for Doubt. No matter how many times you tell us something, it still never quite sticks. The voice of anxiety can cast doubt on anything affirming, encouraging or positive – please don’t be offended, or give up.
E is for Energy. Too much of it, mostly. Just. Can’t. Sit. Still.
F is for Fear. Of everything, but mostly that we will always feel like this.
G is for Guilt. We apologise A LOT because we’re generally crippled with guilt about what we’ve done or not done or said or not said. And we feel guilty for needing help, which is why we’re often not very good at asking for it.
H is for Hope. It has to get better – help us hold on to hope, always.
I is for Insomnia. Sleep is for the weak. Or people without anxiety. Anything over 4 hours is considered a good night. Refer back to E, and then understand why we’re always tired.
J is for Justifying. We will feel like we need to explain ourselves, even when it’s not necessary. It’s basically another form of apologising, and annoys us as much as it does you.
K is for Kudos. Because sometimes, we win. Sometimes we do something without anxiety getting in the way, and it’s important we acknowledge that.
L is for Lonely. Anxiety can be a very lonely experience, as though a brick wall stands between you and the rest of the world.
M is for Managing. Not every day’s a crisis. Some days are marvellous (anxiety, who?) and other days a bit more of a struggle. Sometimes the best we can do is just manage, and that’s fine.
N is for Numb. When anxiety rinses you of all emotion, life can feel pretty flat, and even laughing doesn’t come naturally. If we’re zoned out, that’s what’s happening – we’re not just bored or being unfriendly. Not always, anyway.
O is for Opting Out. We’ll say we’re going to do something or go somewhere and then back out. A lot. The idea of something is often better than the reality of actually having to do it.
P is for Perfectionism. We set the bar high for ourselves, and are our own worst enemies.
Q is for Quiet. When you have a really busy brain, it’s important to make space for a quiet environment. Too much noise or chaos can be really distressing.
R is for Recovery. An episode of acute anxiety doesn’t leave town right away; it can take days to recover from a particularly bad episode – the worse kind of hangover there is. Be patient.
S is for Shame. Oh the shame. Anxiety causes us embarrassment more than anyone realises.
T is for Talking. It helps, even when what we say doesn’t make sense. Talk to us – sometimes we just want you to ask.
U is for Understanding. It can be hard to understand, so don’t feel you have to. Just ask us what we need, and if we don’t know, help us figure it out – we often don’t get it either.
V is for Value. We feel pretty crap about ourselves most of the time, as though a battle with anxiety reduces our worth or usefulness, and sometimes this makes us push people away. Sorry about that.
W is for Worry. As the saying goes, if it were an Olympic sport…
X is for X-Chromosome. Yes, a lot of women are affected by anxiety, but not exclusively so. We need to remember large number of men struggle too and break the stereotype.
Y is for You. We need you. We appreciate everything you do to support us, even when we can’t show you or we’re driving you crazy with our funny ways.
Z is for Zeal. And our passion for a life free of anxiety. We don’t always win, but we always try our best. Thank you for walking it with us.
@RachelWelch | @FreedomFromHarm