I am proud to say that since creating this blog, and starting up my Facebook page I have managed to reach out to so many people. Many of you have been in contact with me, going through exactly what I was just a few months ago. Knowing I have already had an effect on a number of people, and having them confide in me, is exactly why I started this blog. The Facebook page has already been quite a hit, having a lot of positive feedback, so thank you to all of you for your support.
I am happy to admit I am not 100% recovered, with the occasional irrational thought or two, but I am able to live my life to the full without anxiety constantly interfering, and I am proud of that. I have come a long way, even a couple of months ago I was a prisoner in my own home, missing countless days off work, struggling with keeping up my relationships, and had a complete inability to enjoy anything in my life. To all of you still suffering, find comfort in the fact that what you are experiencing is completely normal, and you will get over it, I can promise that. I am so sure of this, because I know that I experienced almost the worst extent of it, some people wouldn’t have had a clue, but I had distanced myself from the world, so they couldn’t have.
I experienced everything, my mind was completely taken over by my anxiety. My worst fears were realised when I couldn’t even think of a reason to live any more, a fatal blow to my whole being. Every hour, every minute, every second of my life I spent thinking about anxiety, my mind was never at peace until I fell asleep at night, the only time I could dream of a better life. Breathing now felt like second nature, my heart rate would beat to what felt 100 miles an hour, I would feel faint, my vision would become distorted, I felt like someone was holding a tight rope around my neck and limbs as I felt my body could collapse beneath me at any second. It was like being suffocated, feeling the whole world closing in on you. Feeling completely and utterly hopeless.
One of the books I read was extremely helpful, it taught me a lot about how the mind works and how your thoughts have a massive influence on how your body responds. I never believed what I was experiencing could only be anxiety, how could this all be in my mind? It couldn’t be. After reading this book, I began to learn that the human mind is so complex, a paradox in itself. Your thoughts determine how your body will respond, if you believe you are dying, having a heart attack, or about to collapse, your body will mirror these thoughts through signals from your brain, sending your body into panic mode, preparing for danger. Ironically your body is trying to save you, even though it doesn’t need too, hence why anxiety causes what we know as a ‘panic attack’.
I read every forum, tried every breathing and calming technique, bought multiple books, and was admitted to CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), counselling, and even put forward for hypnosis, although it never happened. The main turning point for me was when I took myself out of my own isolated world, I had hidden away for so long that I discovered other people were suffering. I had affected the love of my life so much as he suffered with me, my own parents and grandad, who I am extremely close too, did not recognise me any more. The worst of all was finding out my own dad had fallen ill with cancer without my knowledge, because I was consumed by my own demons. This was my turning point. Leaving my comfort zone to take a look at the wider picture was the best thing I ever did. The first step is accepting your anxiety, and not fighting against it. If you let yourself do this, you discover that you are in fear of what might happen, and not what is really happening.
I hope this has helped some of you, later on today I will be summing up from my experience why anxiety disorder, and panic attacks occur. Some of you will already know that it all comes down to our ‘fight or flight’ instinct that has been built-in all of us ever since the human mind existed. For those that don’t, it will be extremely helpful in your recovery. I will be adding this to my ‘Guide’ page if you want to take a look.