Anxiety – What it can feel like

Anxiety – What it can feel like

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Feel like my brain is going to explode, there is too much information in there and it’s full to the brim. It’s fizzy, adrenaline fueled, sparks of anger, glimmers of hate, feeling stressed and I’m going to burst and lose it any moment.

I feel like I could do anything in this moment and it scares me. It overwhelms me. I want to run away and scream, smash stuff up and be at peace. Who is this person that is so wound up and full of darkness? I don’t think I’d like to meet this person, they could be dangerous and I don’t feel they would be a very nice person to think those things.

It’s me, of course it is, I know that. But in the throes of feeling overwhelmed with life I do not recognise myself.

Why am I feeling like this? My brain won’t stop long enough to think of any reason or look at the emotions flowing through my head. I just know my brain feels it in that one millionth of a second rushing round and round. It doesn’t stand still, my thoughts are flying through one after another unless something else causes me to stop (like a child wanting a drink or as I swear under my breath upon finding there’s not enough potatoes left to finish making the shepherds pie I’m about to start making)

It could be any number of reasons really and today had started off good. Then I started thinking, about the things that any one of us normally have to think about – paying the bill’s, doing the shopping, work, childcare and household chores. Then I started to panic about money, especially since the recent car service cost over £350 which we hadn’t ‘saved’ for and how we hadn’t even started the new month yet but were already looking skint.

The next thing that adds to my inner panic and thoughts is hearing my son complaining he doesn’t want to go food shopping and is not putting his shoes on. I listen as I hear him and his dad each protesting about it and just like that, I shout. I shout loud enough it can be heard anywhere in the house and most likely next door that none of us want to do it but we have to or none of us will eat this week.

The pressure and flying strands of mixed emotions are in my head as I walk towards my son and he looks worried? Concerned?

My heart breaks that I have upset or possibly scared him. What child wouldn’t be scared if their shouty mum is coming round the corner. I would never hurt him, I want to try broker a peace deal and get us out the door so we can move this train in my head to a better place.

The guilt and overthinking will come later, most likely followed by sadness and an all nighter tossing and turning in bed asking myself why I’m like this again after so many years of being free from it. It’s funny (not real funny but that’s the word I’ve chosen to use for now) that last Sunday all I felt was depression, sinking, loneliness and sadness gripping my soul making me wonder why I’m around. My family deserve a nice loving mummy and wife. Not this blob walking round in a cloud of darkness.

Simmering and bubbling like it’s about to erupt, my head can’t deal with my father sat beside me in the car telling me of his relatives woes whilst my youngest shouts Dad from the top of her voice to get my attention (she won’t call me mum) and my son sits beside her making ridiculous meep woo noises pretending he’s something or other in his imaginary game he’s involved in in that second.

It’s not that they are saying or doing anything wrong, my head just isn’t in the right place to listen or absorb it into my brain today, right this moment. It’s not their fault, they don’t understand.
I tell my Dad I’m feeling like I’m going to explode today, his reply was simple but not helpful – “Well we all feel like that from time to time I’m afraid”. Thanks Dad.

I must look feral today as he asked if I was tired the second he saw me. Am I carrying a look of some kind around with me? Because I know I did my makeup today and only yesterday I had my hair done which looked fab (admittedly today when I do it it’s not so fab).

I cannot concentrate on what anyone is saying and if they want my attention it is too much. I’m half hearing what is being said, stuck with thoughts swirling around. That’s the problem with anxiety, all the normal things that may have us concerned or cross that any other person could dismiss and forget about isn’t like that for me and it’s what makes having anxiety hard.

To a person with anxiety all those normal thoughts are over analysed a thousand times over, often without the brain picking up on it until it erupts. It fills your head with too many concerns, worries, emotion and you don’t know how to process it. It’s like a cup being filled with water and there’s only one way out, no one wants to share the load so it’s coming out the top and once it’s over half way it speeds up and begins to bubble away like it’s boiling.

Once those thoughts are over analysed, often there isn’t a solution in sight. This sets the cup of water to boiling point and a teeny thing like listening to my husband and son protesting over food shopping is one drop of water too much. The cup shakes, the water is steaming and boiling over and just like that its whizzing high into the air until it simmers back down to lie in wait ready for a refill.

Almost 2 years ago I was on top of the world, I had just given birth to my second child, we had moved house less than 2 weeks after birth and life was amazing. I had a new home, was enjoying my time with my son and newest addition, my husband was excelling in his career and nothing could make me believe I would be here down the line looking back like it was a dream. Although back then, everything really was rosy. Until my baby became very unwell.

Looking back now I can see where it all began again, the little wheels that started the anxiety in motion again.

Today’s episode will look different to next times but the structure will remain. Something will take root inside my head until more roots burrow inside with it until I can no longer ignore it and have to look at it from all sides trying to fix it or come up with a solution.Something insignificant will be the extra drop of water that will be too much for my head and I will become that person again, the one who looks dangerous and wild, the one who will look tired and overwhelmed with life.

It’s night time now and I’m me again. I cooked the meals I had planned before I went loco , I had showered and I had eaten. One, if not all of those things helped bring back my inner peace. Me doing normal things bizarrely enough brought back normality. The worries have crawled off to their box for a while and I’m turning my thoughts to my daughter who is waking repeatedly crying, wondering to myself is it a reaction? Or is it teething?

She’s not hot, she’s not cold, she is off her food but at the moment all I can do is hold her tight until she falls asleep before we do it all over again half hour later. Inside I’m thinking I can not be up all night, I have work tomorrow but in reality if that is what it takes to help my baby feel safe and it helps her get back to sleep I would happily hold her in my arms until the end of time.

I wrote this post whilst I was still feeling like a caged wild animal wanting to be free, the emotions that I felt then are not here now as I finish this piece. It’s like being 2 different people, I imagine my poor family think the same.

The effects my words and actions have on other’s will last a while as they remember what I said or the angry movements I do when I’m on one. They stay with me too, along with the guilt and overwhelming sadness that I’m failing at being a caring wife and mother.

My children will be wary of coming too close and won’t want a cuddle in case I’m still moody mummy. My husband will be on eggshells trying to keep out of my way. My friends don’t have any idea, I don’t show it around them. Why is that?…to them I am happy, calm and patient. It is always the ones we love that take the brunt of it. My work colleagues wouldn’t see it either.

My anxiety manifests in an angry stressed out response although there have been times when I feel claustrophobic and want to get away. (I think that’s me trying to outrun myself).

Anxiety can affect us in many different ways without us knowing that’s what it is such as fear, shortness of breath, a feeling of impending doom, loss of sleep, eating too much or too little, loss of concentration, needing reassurance and avoidance.

Mostly we can deal with these things as we tend not to relate them to anxiety but when they impact on your life that is when it is a problem. At what point should you seek help? What help is out there? Is it going to go and come back? Will it be worse?

At the moment I’m choosing to see how it goes, to see if it’s related to recent events or if it’s decided to camp out for the long haul. When I figure that out, I will get help if needed and if it does happen to be event related I will know soon enough.

I have been here before, in my 20’s. I suffered with depression and anxiety for years before I went and sought help. It looks as though it runs in my family and one by one it has grabbed hold of us all. Is it genetics or life events having such an impact that our poor brains were not able to cope?

I do not know the answer to that but I do remember being young and always being a deep thinker. I do not remember having that feeling you get when you’re truly happy and bursting at the seems. That is not to say that I wasn’t happy as I do have many happy memories, rather I think I was more of an introverted child than an extrovert.

The only reason I sought help the first time around was because it was having such an effect on my life that I would wake every morning and before I had even opened my eyes I would be crying. I did not want to go to work, I had insomnia, I wasn’t taking care of myself and my relationship with my partner (now husband) was in serious danger of ending if I did not get this under control.

I did not want the label of depression and anxiety, I would not admit that what was happening to me I had already been dealing with for years with my family. I didn’t want to become hooked on medication with no hope of ever getting off them – that is what you read about isn’t it?

However I was so deeply unhappy that there were a few times when I rushed off in my partners car after having an argument and had thoughts of killing myself. Once I had calmed down though I realised I could not do that to anyone. It would be awful for the person finding me and for the people who cared about me.

So I went to the GP, I filled in a sheet that had descriptions where you had to tick if you felt you had these feelings or thoughts either every now and then, more than a few days or every day. I didn’t complete it totally honestly, I didn’t want the doctor to know I had thoughts of taking my own life, he would think I was a coward or an attention seeker.

The GP scored it up and I was classified mild to moderate depression with moderate to high anxiety and prescribed some medication. I was also offered cognitive behavioural therapy of which I only went to one session. I did not feel this was the right therapy for me, I realise I did not give it enough of a go to say for sure it was no good for me but at the time that’s what I thought. It took a few weeks for the medication to kick in and I was embarrassed to hand my prescription in at the chemist each time I needed more.

Would they see the name and think not another one trying to pull a fast one on the system? Or would they look at me and think what do you have to be depressed about? You have a job, a roof over your head, a partner who loves you? Most likely they thought none of these things, maybe they did but as I am a thinker and I was depressed these are the thoughts I would have rather than more positive ones and thinking who cares what they think of me!

I did feel more like my old self after a while although the insomnia remained and I did still have down days but as my partner told me – “ Everyone has down days, you mustn’t expect to feel on top of the world every day”. I remind myself of this often.

I stopped taking my medication the moment I found out I was pregnant with my first born. I know it’s not how you should do it, you should slowly wean yourself off them but I managed okay and stayed okay until my second born was around 6 weeks old.

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