This week you get an extra post from me- I have started back at work, and my anxious brain is in overdrive. Why? I am not too sure- there is obviously something worrying me, but it’s buried somewhere I can’t get to at the moment. So I thought I would sit and have a bit of a write, which always seems to calm me and my thoughts.
Today I shall show you a bit of what happens in my brain, and about my anxiety in general. Please note: These are my thoughts and feelings on anxiety- and this does not reflect what other sufferers of anxiety may or may not have.
My Brain won’t shut up
When you have a busy day and you get into bed its common to have your brain suddenly wake up and think about all the things. When I get anxiety bad my brain is like this all the time. Its just doesn’t stop. My thoughts flicker from one thing to the next in a couple of seconds. My brain decides to drag up memories of past conversations and actions, before switching to thinking about bills to pay, or the chores I need to do. I get distracted super easily- I will start a range of tasks at the same time, and drift between them all, never quite finishing anything. I will start watching a TV program and realise I only paid attention to the first 10 minutes. Or forget to respond to people.
What I do to help: I use to do lists at work- which I tick off when I have done a task. This helps me stay on track. When I am trying to get to sleep I put an audiobook or and try and get myself to just listen to that, to focus solely on the story. Sometimes I write the thoughts down- especially if they are thoughts about experiments I need to do.
I don’t mean to, I just do. I skip lunch with people, eating at my desk instead, and I don’t respond properly to peoples text messages and emails. Sometimes, I will cancel on people- its nothing to do with you I swear, its just at that moment in time, I just can’t. Its hard to explain why you can’t- Maybe its triggering some sort of safety thing in your brain, you feel anxious and ‘fearful’ so you want to hide away to not get hurt?
What I do to help: If I have planned events, I make myself go to them anyway- it can be hard, but getting yourself out of your own head can help to break the cycle you are in.
I am normally pretty social, but when I am in suffering a bout of anxiety I really withdraw. If I get myself to go out, I will have psyched myself up before hand, and even before I have left the house I will be coming up with excuses in my head to go home early. Once I get back from the social event I will feel completely drained and head straight for bed.
What I do to help: as above, I try to go to the event anyway. If I really just face it, I will cancel and try not to worry about what I think people might be saying about me because I cancelled… As you can tell, I am still trying to figure out how to get better in this area…
I start to doubt myself and the people around me
Oh- they have all gone to lunch and today didn’t ask me? That’s fine I guess… they obviously just hate my company, and find me a boring person…
I begin to check everything so many times
Did I definitely close the incubator door? I know I already opened and closed in 6 times, but maybe I should do it again… just in case
What I do to help: With these sort of things I try to “be in the moment” really paying attention to what I am doing, so I can recall the memory of doing it sharply with no doubt.
This is where you take something super small and insignificant and blow it all up. You think the very worst things are going to happen- and generally over-exaggerate.
What I do to help: I whip out my anxious predictions chart, and bring it back into perspective.
I get super tired
Sleep becomes even more important than it already is to me! I feel physically drained all day long, and wake up feeling no better. This generally only lasts for the time that I am anxious and then I bounce back to normal, but man, it makes it hard to get up in the morning.
My Jaw gets unbelievably sore
One of my physical symptoms is a super achey jaw. I grind my teeth, and clench my jaw- this is not good for your teeth or your jaw muscles.
What am doing to help: I am hopefully going to be getting a mouth guard- this will help to protect my teeth from being further ground down, and hopefully reduce some of the tension.
I sometimes get panic attacks
I can now tell when they are coming on- I find my thoughts get super jumbled and more and more panicked. My hands start to tremble slightly- you know when you have just had a surge of adrenaline and after you are left feeling odd- that’s what I get, but I am just sitting and not doing anything exciting.
What I do to help: At this point I try and calm myself- calm thoughts, calm mind, calm breaths. I haven’t had a panic attack in a few months now (yay) managing to see the signs and calm myself down before one happens.
So… yeah. That’s some insight into the workings of my anxious brain.
I am super anxious today, but hopefully I will be better tomorrow. Not 100%, just better. Anxiety ebbs and flows, and sometimes comes out of nowhere (apparent nowhere… there is always a cause. Just figuring that out can be hard.)
But, I have ways to help (some of which I have shared above), and I am still at work- still doing experiments, still researching, still planning. It is not stopping me from doing what I love, so that’s a win in my book.
If you don’t have anxiety I hope this has shown you what it can be like for someone who does, and if you do have anxiety- I hope this has shown you that we are all in the same boat! We can do this, we will beat it, and it won’t stop us 🙂
Until next time.
The awkward yeti: http://theawkwardyeti.com
Sara Pocock: http://sarapocock.tumblr.com/