Sometimes I wish a tornado would blow
the roof off this house of anxiety
and clear it down to the foundation
when the clouds clear and the sun shines again
I can rebuild
a stronger house
Photo by Sean Calvey
By Miriam Murphy
This year more so than most, friends, family and even conversations I hear on the street appear to echo anxious feelings or situations where people like you and I feel very stressed. Some list their fears, while others express how lost and helpless they find themselves in this current uncertainty and feel worried. On social media I’ve noticed people expressing how tired & guilty they feel; being more irritable with their partners and children because their stress levels have gone beyond what they normally would be. They find it hard to cope.
Anxiety is our body’s way of responding to threat. Feelings of anxiety instinctively lets us know that something is happening for us. In a healthy fashion, it may be a job interview, special occasion, work presentation or an exam a little stress can trigger feelings of nervousness and fear. Then once the moment or task is over, these feelings tend to fade away and we return to our usual selves.
However; sometimes these feelings are with us all the time and can feel out of place to our usual way of being. They may come from a deeper place like an uninvited guest that seeks to keep us in a state of dread, preventing sleep and not leaving us in peace. It may also take away our motivation to make changes or complete simple daily tasks. Leaving us exhausted. In this current climate, anxiety may also be triggered by feelings of uncertainly.
Some physical & emotional experiences of anxiety may include
* Not getting restful sleep
* Lack of concentration
* Feeling overwhelmed
* Lack of motivation
* Being pessimistic
* Nervous tension in the body; headaches
* Feelings of intense and constant worry
A personal experience of anxiety.
‘I simply can’t understand why I feel this way, I never used to. The other day I felt like I was literally standing outside my own body, like I was jet lagged. It was awful. I was frozen and felt like life was too much for me. Then I felt guilty because the neighbour is in hospital and is much worse off than me. I’m not sleeping and little things like doing the shopping and laundry are proving too hard. I can’t work because I have no concentration and am actually a little afraid to go to work incase I mess things up being so tired. I’m exhausted. Its not who I am. What is worse, is that no one can see my feelings. My stomach has a gigantic knot in it. I wish I could get out of bed in the morning and be back to myself. I am really a cheerful person at heart’.
A path to recovery
Talking about how we feel can give us back our power over our anxious thoughts.
Conversations with a therapist can provide an individual tailored way support and help a client cope with anxiety and to let go of anxiety. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) among others has been proven to be an effective tool to resolve anxiety. CBT can teach us how to challenge anxious thoughts and reframe them away from the anxious to more positive outcome.
Meditation techniques are proven to be effective through staying present and aware, moving away from overthinking future scenarios & deep breathing. People respond to different paths and each interaction in therapy is unique to each client. A trusting confidential relationship with a therapist can support the development of a personal strategy to overcome anxiety. Some people may also choose to chat with their GP, their friends or attend a support group.
Many people suffer with anxiety, you are not alone. There is support available ‘Wherever you are, we are’
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