Hello again everyone. This is part four of the series Anxiety Insights. A lot of people suffer from bouts of anxiety from time to time rather than all the time like me and a lot of others. Although their anxiety is not constant, and is not something that follows them around, it is something that when triggered can be detrimental to leading a normal day to day life. This story is written by Beatrice* who is a 22 year old city worker from London...
"My anxiety first started when I got my first job working in London. It was my first proper 'grown up' job, in the centre of London in a big, well known company relating to the media and involved a lot of changes in my life, and a lot of new responsibilities. It was about a month into working there and I started to get an overwhelming feeling of worry and sadness for no apparent reason. I started turning up for work and would get asked to carry out the smallest tasks and I would want to burst into tears. My job role was to organise other people's lives so the overwhelming feelings I felt when asked to literally do my job made me so upset and panicked. I held my emotions in for around 2 weeks until one day after work I came home and it was a beautiful day. So beautiful, my family were having a BBQ, so my mood couldn't be more different. I could hear laughter from them all as I walked through the front door and it was then when the waterworks started and I didn't stop crying for a couple of days.
My parents thought something awful had happened and when they asked me what was wrong, I couldn't tell them. I didn't know why I felt this way and that just made me ten times worse. The fact that I couldn't put it right because I didn't know what was causing it made this time so much more difficult for me. I attempted to go into work the next day however I managed to only get so far on the tube that I had to get off where my mum worked and I went to see her. I just couldn't face going into work. I was scared but I didn't know why. I just couldn't carry out my normal day with this horrible, anxious feeling on my shoulders. My mum decided to take the day off work and take me shopping to cheer me up and we spent most the day walking round the shopping centre. Before I knew it, I had stopped crying and that feeling of panic and worry had disappeared. From that moment onwards, with the help of my Mum and Dad, I realised I needed a distraction to get me out of the claustrophobic bubble of worry that I was in. Once I got used to the change n my life, having to travel into London for my new job, getting to grips with the new job, my anxiety lifted and I luckily haven't been affected since. I still sometimes feel a little anxious when the tube is busy or I feel claustrophobic but nothing like the feelings I felt when I first started this chapter in my life.
To help me control my anxiety, I try and remove myself from the situation that I'm in by reading books on my kindle or iPad or listening to music. I've found that doing an activity which focuses my mind on something completely different really helps me forget that I'm on a cramped train or standing at a rammed station platform, and keeps my anxiety at bay. I also try to think about people less fortunate than me. Putting things into perspective makes me realise that really I have nothing to worry about, however it's still important to recognise that my problems aren't "nothing", it's just my way of picking myself back on and carrying on.
I've now managed to realise what makes my anxiety the worse and that's change. Any form of change in my life can trigger it. From changing my travel plans, changing job roles, changing social plans or plans for the week and having to rush. These kind of things send me into panic mode so when these occur it makes me really emotional and frustrated.
I think if anyone is suffering from anxiety is reading or relating to this, my advice would be to really work hard to use the technique of distraction. Turn your music up, download a new book to dive into or download an addictive game like Candy Crush. Make sure you do more of what makes you happy. Happiness helps you to have a clearer mind and this may lead you to understand why you are feeling anxious, and be able to distract yourself from it."
*names have been changed to protect the identity of the individual