A big reason I searched for answers as long as I did is because of the rubbish I kept being told, mainly due to the fact they were after my money and more concerned about telling me what I wanted to hear, rather than giving me information that would help.
It became apparent, if I wanted change, I’d have to go and find the answers myself.
Along that journey I came across facts I didn't want to hear. But, I realised if I wanted to overcome anxiety and experience lifetime change, I had to accept the rough with the smooth, which sometimes meant dealing with things I didn’t want to.
Here are four things that others won’t tell you about anxiety.
1. You Have to Face Your Fears
I was once told that I’d never have to face my fears. I’m sure you agree, this sounds nice, but it’s complete rubbish. If you want to overcome anxiety one of the first things you need to do is face up to it, otherwise it will rule your life for however long you let it.
I go to college part-time and my Mum works full-time. Whenever she leaves the house I get separation anxiety and find it unbearable. I get panic attacks and I’m just waiting for her to come home.
I’m 16 and I know this isn’t normal for me to be feeling like this. I just feel so dependent on her. When she’s gone I think the worse and horrible thoughts race around in my head. I call my friends to keep me busy but I know I can’t keep doing that and I have to deal with the problem.
When we’re feeling anxious, to make ourselves feel better, we want to try and control things. When we feel like we can’t control the situation we worry that things will get worse, and that creates more anxiety.
Separation anxiety is caused by the ‘what if…’ thoughts, and when you’re anxious your excessive energy is used to create lots of these thoughts that make you worry. When you worry a lot you fear the worst, and your mind creates thoughts that you wouldn’t normally think.
When we sit still we allow our minds to wonder off to places we don’t want to go, so it’s great to hear you keep yourself active and go to college. You’re doing the right thing by keeping yourself busy, and all you need to do is expand on that.
Do you have a part-time job?
What are your hobbies?
Do you go out and see your friends often?
To break separation anxiety you have to change your environment, which will change your focus and the way you think about things. If you keep doing the same thing everyday you can’t expect it to change, right?
Keep yourself busy. Use your creative intelligence to do good. Break the pattern. Your life will move forward in a more positive way, and given a bit of time separation anxiety won’t be an issue for you any longer.
I’ve been lying to my family and pretending to go to work, but I’ve not been going for the past few weeks because I’m too anxious. I’m getting harassed and bullied and I’m having spells where I get dizzy which gives me panic attacks.
Things have never been this bad and I don’t know what’s going to happen, especially when my wages don’t come in as usual to pay the bills. I feel like I’m letting my family down. I want to be strong but I just feel depressed and want to stay in bed which is making things worse.
You need to get back to a level playing field so anxiety can’t dictate your thinking. When you’re feeling stressed and anxious it will cloud your judgement and make you believe there’s no way out. It’s very easy to get into a spiral, and although you might not think it right now, there is a way to change your situation as quickly as it happened.
Hiding the truth from your family isn’t doing you any good. The first step is to be honest. You might feel like you’re letting them down, but you’re not. You’re going through a challenging period that everybody at some time faces, and a supportive family will understand and recognise that. It takes bravery to open up and be honest, but no more bravery than having to face what you’re currently going through.
Once the truth is in the open you can move forward and deal with it. Including your family will help you appreciate you’re not dealing with the situation on your own. This will give you the strength and belief you need to move forward in a different direction.
If you feel like you need to talk to somebody outside of your family unit, find a good counsellor who will help talk through the things that need to be brought to surface. To deal with the panic attacks and anxiety at work there will be underlying fears that need to be tackled, and a good counsellor will help you do it.
Nobody deserves to be bullied, and bullies only do what they do because of the reaction they get. When you’re brave enough to get the truth out there and start speaking about whats really on your mind by exposing your fears, the bullying will stop - both internally (panic attacks) and externally (at work).
I feel like crap. The world is a horrible place. I can’t stand people and they don’t like me, which is fine because that’s how I like it.
You don’t have to suffer from chronic depression and anxiety to feel like this. At some point we all go through these types of days.
Here’s what I want you to draw from them:
1: They Don’t Last
These horrible days / feelings are temporary.
The great thing about us humans is our resilience. If you break a bone, your body goes through a miraculous healing process. Your mind can do the same when you’re dealing with negative thoughts, or going through a tough time.
You’ll move through the negativity - tomorrow is a new day.
The cycle of being overstressed and becoming ill became too obvious to ignore.
I’d let things build up, hold things inside, not talk to anybody, and pretend I was coping just fine. It always led to me being ill.
My illnesses consistently followed the same pattern, revolving around my throat. It would start with a sore throat, which progressed onto a throat infection (tonsillitis), which caused lots of other physical symptoms (cold sweats, fever, headache, neck ache, nausea, lack of energy) leaving me completely bed bound, normally for weeks at a time.
Not uncommon. I’ve known anxiety sufferers who have spent months at a time in bed. In an effort to protect themselves from the stress they’re trying to bury their bodies completely shut-down.
Some of them recognised their symptoms as being stress / anxiety related, and others lived in denial, like I used to - probably because like me, they saw being ill as a weakness, and didn’t want to face up to the reality that being bed bound was caused by anxiety / stress.
Why can’t I cope with the stress that life throws at me? Everybody else seems to manage it.
(Obviously not true, but that’s what you believe when you’re not feeling great.)
It’s a horrible cycle to be trapped in, but is it breakable. The key to breaking the cycle lies in regaining your balance.
The best way to connect with Carl and join the discussion is on his Facebook page