Anxiety will always be a part of my life, but itís how I manage my symptoms that will enable me to control this illness.
I first realised that I was suffering from anxiety in my mid-20s. I had gone through a very difficult period in life, as a result of a workplace dispute and as a result of this, I was forced to quit my job.
I noticed that I started feeling nauseous at different points throughout the day, but I put it down to eating the wrong things, being out the night before, not eating that day, and lots of other Ďreasonsí.
During this time and at the worst point of my anxiety I would feel so nauseous that It lead to me being physically sick. At this point, I still hadnít attributed my sickness to anxiety, but with growing concern, I made an appointment with the doctor. After a food diary, anti-sickness medication and an endoscopy, we came to the conclusion that I was suffering from anxiety and finally a diagnosis put my mind at ease that it wasnít something worse.
Little did I know that anxiety would rule my life for the following 6 months to a year before I began to find ways to recognise the symptoms and manage the triggers. I noticed myself socialising less as I didnít want to be around anyone. Stressful situations only exasperated my symptoms so as soon as I began to feel nauseous, I would stop what I was doing to have a glass of water and take a few deep breaths.
I would then retrace my thoughts to see if there was anything troubling me at that moment or over the past 24 hours. If it was something that was playing on my mind, I would either write it down or talk to someone about it as this would allow me to voice my feelings and either come up with a solution or a plan of action.
I began to manage my anxiety and it wasnít until after my son was born that I began to experience chest pains. The first time was when my son was around 3 months old and it lasted for a couple of hours. I felt like someone was standing on my chest and the pain was sharp and continuous. I sipped on water, lay down and tried to take some deep breaths until after a little while, the pain eased.
There were a couple more episodes like this until one night, the pain became too much and my mum insisted that I go to A&E. By the time I got there, I was hyperventilating as the pain was unbearable and I was put through a serious of tests. The results were all clear and I was given codeine and advised to make an appointment with my doctor. After a few appointments, we came to the conclusion that it was reflux caused by stress and I realised that once again my anxiety was back.
Anxiety will always be a part of my life and itís how I manage my symptoms that will enable me to control this illness and not allow it to control me.
Below are a couple of things that help me day-to-day:
I try to remove myself from any stressful situations before they affect me.
I write down my feelings at the end of the day, which allows me to release them and not take them into the following day.
When possible I take one evening a week to relax and do something just for me.
I keep my house and life as decluttered as I can, which keeps my mind clear.
Music is my solitude and when I feel myself getting a little overwhelmed, I put on my favourite playlist.
My favourite perfume can transport me immediately back to a happy time, so when I feel a little lost I spritz it on and instantly a smile will appear on my face.
TALK TALK TALK. sharing how I feel with someone I trust instantly makes me feel better as itís true what they say Ė Ďa problem shared is a problem halvedí.
Do you have any tips to manage anxiety? Let us know!
My son was a very fussy baby. He only settled when he was being held, he didnít nap for very long during the day, he was very uncomfortable after a feed (more so in the evening) and he never slept through the night.