Tag Archives: act

This is What Anxiety Feels Like

Many people feel anxious, but what does an Anxiety Disorder feel like?

this-is-what-anxiety-feels-like-the-last-krystallos

I’ve suffered with an anxiety disorder since I was a child, and for many years I just thought I was a worrier, and I always felt there was a derogatory association with being a worrier.

Many people believe you need to have reasons to be anxious.

We all suffer anxiety: going into an exam, taking your driving test, being late for work, when you’re about to give a presentation, travelling, and more. You get that flutter of worry in your belly, nausea, light-headedness, fear of the unknown, fear of failure… but the difference between GAD, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, and situational anxiety is that those symptoms and emotions go away. You know that your exam will be over in a few hours, your driving test will be complete, you’ll get to work, that presentation will be finished, you will have reached your destination and the worry will be over, and you will move on. The reason for your anxiety will be resolved.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder does not give you that luxury.

Imagine those symptoms continuing for the rest of the day, the week, the month…

almost-one-in-five-feel-anxious-more-than-half-more-anxious-anxiety-uk-2016-quote-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

I’ve learned a lot about my anxiety. I’m on antidepressants and my anxiety has been much lower, but I recently mentioned to my husband that I was feeling anxious again. Now, he’s incredibly supportive and very understanding, but to someone who has never experienced depression or severe anxiety it’s a difficult condition to comprehend. I tried to explain that there were several things on the horizon worrying me, but there’s more to anxiety than that.

There doesn’t have to be a reason.

I tried to explain what anxiety felt like.

It’s like you are treading water with no land in sight. This is what anxiety feels like.

You believe you will drown. This is what anxiety feels like.

Now, common sense tells you that a log might float by and you could grab it, or a boat might sail past and rescue you, or a lifebelt might appear – but as your brain puts those ideas out there, it also brings in a rolling fog. Now you’re treading water in fog and you can’t see anything. This is what anxiety feels like.

That log will float right by, that boat will sail right past, and that lifebelt is out of reach. Pretty quickly, as anxiety heightens, the waves about you grow and you’re treading water in fog and ten foot waves. This is what anxiety feels like.

That log is about to tip off the wave above you and knock you out. The boat is off course and will never find you, and that lifebelt, well, it’s gone. This is what anxiety feels like.

To top it all, beneath you a whirlpool whips up, you can’t breathe, you can’t keep your head above water, you’re getting pulled under, and you will drown. This is what anxiety and a panic attack feels like.

Anxiety removes the common sense option. Anxiety tells you you’re going to drown and your mind cannot get past that.

anxiety-disorder-quote-by-lisa-shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

Depression is often referred to as the Black Dog, and you can’t command the black dog to return to its kennel, instead it jumps at you and hangs about your neck, or it pulls you down and holds you in a half-nelson. Anxiety is a Boa Constrictor. It’s a snake that coils about your legs and works its way up your body, squeezing and coiling tighter – and it doesn’t let go.

If you’ve never experienced long term anxiety it’s very difficult to understand.

Sarah Fader started a hashtag a week or so ago on Twitter @AnxietyHashtag and people began sharing #ThisIsWhatAnxietyFeelsLike Find out more in these articles: Huffpost and Psychcology Today.

Sarah has opened a floodgate of understanding and validation for those with anxiety, and I asked her how she came up with the hashtag:

‘I started the hashtag because I was feeling anxious about not hearing back when I texted a friend. That thought resonated with people on Twitter and I wanted to give them a chance to articulate what anxiety felt like to them.’

-Sarah Fader CEO and Founder Stigma Fighters www.stigmafighters.com

It is liberating. Firstly, we know we’re not alone, and secondly, it offers an insight into what life is like with an anxiety disorder.

understanding-self-harm-the-last-krystallosJust a few examples… Severe anxiety is exhausting to live with, both for the sufferer and their family.

I’m working with my therapist to find ways to deal with my anxiety, and I’m currently using ACT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. I’m finding the more I accept and acknowledge my anxiety, the more power I have over it. Learning to recognise and use this will take time and effort, and anxiety is likely to always be part of my life.

Take time to understand the debilitating nature of this condition and use patience and compassion when we need it.  

Validation is the first step to helping someone recognise and cope with their anxiety.

How do you manage and what helps you when you feel overwhelmed and lost?

Burn with the Brightest Flame and Believe in Yourself…

Dream big, and you can be anything…

dream big, burn with the brightest flame, believe in yourself,  the last krystallos,

Driving home last week, through the most beautiful welsh countryside, I felt on top of the world, truly amazing! I was thinking how blessed I and my family are living our dreams. What a great feeling…and then The Script and Will I Am came on with ‘Hall of Fame’, and I realised just how true the lyrics read.

“You can go the distance. You can run the mile. You can walk straight through hell with a smile. You can be the hero. You can get the gold. Breaking all the records they thought never could be broke.
Yeah, do it for your people, do it for your pride. How are you ever gonna know if you never even try?
Do it for your country, do it for your name, ’cause there’s gonna be a day…
When you’re standing in the hall of fame, and the world’s gonna know your name, cause you burn with the brightest flame, and the world’s gonna know your name, and you’ll be on the walls of the hall of fame…”

It’s what I’ve always believed…you can do anything, be anything…
but, you’ve got to live your dreams…

castle on a cloud, lisa shambrook, the last krystallos, clouds,

Dreaming of the castle on a cloud © Lisa Shambrook

There was a time, many years ago, when I was a shy little thing and I let my dreams escape. I didn’t believe my dreams were worth dreaming. My default was to put aside my own feelings but be sure to fix everyone else. This continued from early childhood into my teens, where I allowed someone else’s preference push me to a different path than the one I wanted, and then on into adulthood.

I became the mother with holes in my boots for a decade because I refused to buy myself a new pair, deeming everyone else more important. There’s a time and a place for others to take priority, but that should never be a permanent condition!

My family © Lisa Shambrook

My family © Lisa Shambrook

As I hit a breakdown and emerged, still snow blinded, the other side, I began to be coaxed by my wonderful husband and children into believing in myself. Now I know that I’m important too, that my dreams are worth dreaming, and more than that, they’re worth putting into action!

There’s nothing I want more for my children than for them to live their dreams…

My oldest is extremely talented and enthusiastic, and always threw caution to the wind when embracing her dreams! She lacked direction, but as she’s matured, her direction evolves and her plans are coming to fruition. We’ve been able to instil self-belief and a confidence I only wish I’d had thirty years ago! She’s recently had the strength to do something my younger version would have cowered from, which is to close some of her enterprises and head towards a new ambition. She stands with assurance and ability and dreams. My soul bursts with pride as I see my child grow and plan and act towards her new horizon…

My son is moving into an exceptional period of his life. He struggled greatly at school, and had some real soul searching to discover what he wanted to do once he left. He has since excelled in the work he’s done, to the point that his employer would love him to stay on at work, but he’s made a decision to explore life. He has, of his own volition, decided to serve a ministering mission for the church which we belong to. This means accepting a call to preach in a place he’s never been. He’s been called to serve in Halifax, Canada for the period of two years, and he is bursting with excitement and opportunity, and so am I…

My youngest is still at school and of an age where I struggled to be anything but a shy little bird. Exams and subjects she’s not keen on bury her, and I see her heart trying to decide where it lies. Those middle teens are years I’d not choose to return to, but they are the years where you grow, where you begin to learn who you are and where you want to go. These are the years where my daughter will begin to grow wings, to emerge from within and to want to fly. These are the years when I will refuse to stand in her way, and I will encourage with everything that I have, just as I have with her siblings, to be just who she will be. ..

© Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

My husband and I both waited years to begin to achieve. I lived with clipped and broken wings for many years, but I want my children to believe in themselves, to spread their wings and fly.

To do that they, and we, need to dream, and dream big!

To quote The Script again “Be students, be teachers, be politicians, be preachers, be believers, be leaders, be astronauts, be champions, be truth seekers…” and we can, we can be all of those, if we just dream and believe!

Did you get encouragement to believe in yourself?

Have you achieved what you set out to do, or is it an ongoing goal?

Share your dreams and encouragement…