…Not exactly. Anxiety can come in many different forms and have a multitude of symptoms associated with them that can vary from person to person. Some of the more common forms anxiety include social anxiety, generalized anxiety , obsessive-complusive disorder and PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder).
So What is it like to suffer with Anxiety?
Well, all of the above mentioned conditions share a common value in that they are all considered an irrational response of fear or anxiousness towards typically mundane situations. Let me give you an example. The London underground can see upwards of 5 million passenger journeys each day! Most of those people consider the journey to be just a minor inconvenience to their busy schedule. But for the few who suffer with, social anxiety for example, a ride on London tubes is nothing short of hell (trust me, I know). Who would have thought that sitting next to strangers on public transport could trigger;
- Rapid breathing
- Confusion and feeling feint
- Actually feinting
- A faster heart beat than Usain Bolt during a 100m race
- Overwhelming feelings of dread and self-consciousness.
- Trembling/Shaking uncontrollably
- Sweating Profusely
- A feeling of ‘choking’ and a dry throat
- Inability to communicate (Stuttering etc)
- And many others…
Unfortunately these irrational responses to everyday situations are not so easily ‘ignored’. They can become overwhelming and really debilitate someone, and severely reduce their quality of life.
Why me anxiety?
Why do some people flourish in public while others (Like me!) appear to pale in comparison? Well…That’s a difficult question.
(Keeping with the topic of social anxiety) Some people experience a traumatic public event that can instill a sense of anxiety whenever similar situations arise. While others have no idea where, why, or when these automatic responses developed. It is not as simple as picking up a broken arm playing sports, where you have an X-ray, have the problem identified the same day, and receive treatment accordingly, setting you on your way to a full recovery in the coming months. Identifying and managing any mental health issue is a complex and lengthy journey that can take years to get a hold on.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain”
The truth of the matter is that we still don’t know enough about social anxiety to really point a finger at something and confidently say ‘There. That’s the problem, now we need to do this…’ with any great certainty.
That is why we need to communicate with each other and help raise awareness, share our stories and experiences, and take anxiety out from the shadows and bring it to the attention of the rest of the world. (The Irony!)
Take a look at some of our other posts for hints and tips on making life easier when you suffer with anxiety. (See Knowledge is Power)