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Anxiety Triggers

I have anxiety.

I have BAD anxiety.

It doesn’t ever really go away, the only escape I have from feeling worried, stressed, irritable, scared, unfocussed, from overthinking or over-planning is when I’m distracting myself with comforts, and push my worries to the back of my mind.

They’ll still be present, but will kinda be in the background.

This happens when I’m able to just lay down and talk with my mother online about random things.

This happens when I’m able to go to bed and have my partner give me a nice shoulder and back massage.

And that’s about it.

The majority of each and everyday is spent avoiding stress and being stressed.

I thought I’d write about some of my triggers, because as my anxiety progresses, I realise that even though my triggers seem blatantly obvious to me, others either just don’t think about them or don’t care about them very much, or about the effect they have on me.

So I need to vent and yeah, I don’t know, writing about my triggers somehow makes me feel like somebody else is really taking in what I’m trying to say will actually HELP me A LOT.

IF YOU CARE ABOUT ME AT ALL PLEASE AVOID THESE THINGS AROUND ME AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.


 

1.) Loud noises. Actually, any disturbing, distracting sound to whatever the ambient background sound is for that particular setting. I hate it when my partner E-cigs, because that sound just breaks through any background sound and it just spurs on my anxiety. I hate the sound of dishes clanking when somebody is preparing to cook, or is doing the washing up, or is whacking the cooking utensil on the side of the pan. I hate the sound of people coughing. I hate the sound of phones ringing, or of doorbells buzzing. The sound of people moving furniture around or hoovering in the flat above me… Or the sound of them walking around REALLY loudly. I hate the sound of typing… I hate the sound of tapping really hard on an iPad or phone screen to click. I hate the sound of extractor fans. I hate the sound of fiddling with an object, like clicking a pen non-stop. I hate the sound of loud talking while in a library. ANY OF THESE INCIDENTS will LITERALLY make me unable to think, until the sound stops. My focus is so bad that I just can’t deal with those sounds. They make me freeze up, and just wait until it’s over, so that I can actually resume my thoughts. Just imagine that for a second. I mean, these are occurrences that happen multiple times in a day that most people don’t even notice. Well, I do. It sounds ridiculous but these interruptive sounds – oh, yawns aswell… Ugh, I hate the sounds of yawns in the morning. Anyway, these interruptive sounds LITERALLY DISABLE ME. I become entirely UNABLE to process thoughts while these sounds are going on, and even once they have ended, I find it much more difficult to process thoughts afterwards and it takes me much longer to, well, think.

2.) Interruptive things in my view. This includes pacing, fiddling with something, staring at me while I’m trying to focus… Even just people walking around in the kinda “background” of my view while I’m trying to focus, I NOTICE IT. Wow, writing this makes me realise just how bad it is, but this is all genuinely true. Again, it can be really difficult to focus with these distracting movements going on, although they are nowhere near as triggering as the sounds thing. Oh, and pop-ups in the corner of the screen. And the messenger tab flashing when somebody messages me. And you know the little line that flashes when you stop typing? That.

3.) Asking me questions, ESPECIALLY TO MAKE DECISIONS. PLEASE GOD NO. Ask me what I want to eat for dinner? You may end up waiting like, 2 hours, with me going back and fourth in conversation with myself trying to make a decision, only to end with me crying and having a breakdown. Not even kidding. Decisions can be okay sometimes, but usually not. The worst kind of question / decision making thing is when somebody asks for me to confirm something I had already decided previously. E.g. I decide I want something for dinner and tell them, and they then ask “So you really want that thing for dinner?” Ugh. As soon as they ask that stupid, stupid question, my brain overanalyses and we have another couple of hours of decision making, distress, headaches and anger on our hands. Please, if I make a decision about something, DON’T QUESTION IT. I don’t mind if it’s like “Oh cool, why do you think that?” Just not the “Are you sure?” sort of questions. Just don’t. Yes, I’m sure. I already made that decision, please do not put me through the pain of making it again!!!

4.) Time limits. Having to get ready in the morning to be on-time for lectures everyday. Having to go to bed before a certain time in order to achieve my 7 1/2 hours of sleep per night. Having to take a pill at the same time everyday. Deadlines. Having a party at a certain time. Someone asking if I want to hang out last minute, requiring me to have to get ready quickly in order to meet them in time. Mostly the getting ready thing. Jese. The amount of breakdowns I’ve had in the mornings, the amount of times I’ve stood in the shower balling my eyes out, the amount of times I’ve finished my makeup and find myself just crying it all back off once I see what time it is. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I hate it. I CAN’T FUNCTION UNDER THESE CONDITIONS. Once you put a time constraint on me, it takes me twice as long to achieve anything. It’s the pressure, the stress. For example, I only ever really manage to answer around half the questions in multiple choice exams and have to just gamble on the rest. I’m late to things multiple times a week. THIS IS NOT LAZINESS OR ME BEING UNPROFESSIONAL. This is me setting myself a decent hour to get ready and my anxiety making it take me an hour just to wash my bloody hair. It is NOT my fault. Have kindness people and do not judge situations based on preconceptions.

5.) Asking me about my day, my progress, my plans, my achievements or talking about your day, your achievements, your plans etc. Even if it’s just asking me what I want to do today, or telling me what your plan for the day is. It just stresses me out so much and makes me super tense. I hate all of those conversation topics. It makes me go into this overanalysing mode and makes me tense up and feel really uncomfortable.

6.) Doing things that interrupt my day or what I’m working on. It takes me so long to decide anything, and even longer to get started working on the activity I decided on doing. So, once I’ve started said activity, please, do not get in my way or break my focus. I hate it when I’m tidying up, only to have somebody sitting RIGHT where I need to tidy, when my entire goal was to get the place super perfectly tidy. I know it sounds really extreme but ugh, this is my life guys. This is a lot of people’s life.

 


Those are the biggies!

I’m sure I come across as rude in this post but eh, I’m just, y’know, stressed out. As usual ūüėÄ

Storm

0

Terrorised by my mind.

General Anxiety Disorder

General, adjective: not specific or definite.

Anxiety, noun: a state of apprehension and psychic tension occurring in some forms of mental disorder.

Disorder, noun: a disturbance in physical or mental health or functions; malady or dysfunction.


That’s it. Summarised neatly in the definitions of three words.

Anyone could have found those definitions, though. Displaying them on a page for viewers to read doesn’t prove anything – and what is there to prove? That I have¬†a disturbance of the mind that causes non specific tension..?

General anxiety disorder – something almost taboo to speak of when relating to oneself personally. Because it is a disorder that is shamed? No. Because it being so widespread and voiced online, particulary through bloggers and YouTubers, makes it a dysfunction that seems almost… petty. Fake.

“I suffer from anxiety disorder.” – a statement that causes an instant reaction¬†in the mind of anyone listening… “Jesus Christ… the billionth so called victim of this apparently debilitating disease…”.

It isn’t that anyone disbelieves that GAD is a true illness. They just don’t believe that everyone who claims to have it sincerely suffers to a debilitating extent. Even I sometimes doubt it – it seems so widespread but surely if all those people were to have it, they’d not be able to function at work, at Uni – they’d not be able to be the social butterflies that they are.

No one needs to prove or justify that they have a mental disorder. If they think that they have one, then that should be that. How would everyone know the extent of how much the disorder affects that individuals personal life and besides that, why does it even matter? What does it matter the extent that someone’s disorder hinders them from living a normal life?

I am still hindered by this… “mental disorder”…. I don’t even know that it is a disorder, really. Perhaps some individuals just respond differently at different times in their life. Perhaps some people are more susceptible to fear. Perhaps it is more a personality trait – one that surely is difficult to cope with, but does that make it a disease of the mind? How does one even define a mental disorder? The mind working different from “normal”. No one is normal, everyone is normal. I don’t know.

I don’t remember a time that I didn’t feel this fear. It dies down and it grows, like a flame does. Right now, I have it alright. Sure – I still find it difficult to cope with being in the flat alone… It just feels like… everyone is trying to get in? Does that even make sense? It’s the most uncomfortable feeling. You feel like your “safe place” is under attack by invaders, yet at the same time, know that you are being irrational. You know the chances of anyone even knocking on your door is slim and even if they were to – that it would almost certainly just be to discuss something simple or to pass on some mail or something.

Knowing that doesn’t help in the slightest.

Afraid to hide in the comfort of your headphones in case someone does knock on your door about something crucial. Afraid to not hide away in case someone does knock or call and intrude on your safety.

What are you even afraid of?

Do you hear that?

Panic.

The sound of voices talking outside your door.

Panic.

What do they want? Please don’t knock on ¬†my door to speak to me… please don’t… please… go away…

Panic.

I’m not safe until they leave. When will they leave…

Wait…

Do you feel that?

I feel a presence.

I can FEEL that I am being watched…

Do you see that…?

Nothing. You are ALONE and nobody is watching you. The feeling doesn’t subside.

… My anxiety right now feels like I am constantly being attacked, from all angles, by intruders. It is only a feeling I have when at home or when I’ve just finished a long day at college now. But there is always an underlying feeling of tension. You know when someone makes you jump? Your whole body tenses up, you are in a hyper-alert mode. Every soft sound that occurs sounds more like a crashing disturbance in the harmony of silence that you welcome. GAD is like that. To a much lesser extent for the majority of the time, but still, it is like that. I can feel that my shoulders are tensed and raised and rigid and burning with a continuous ache far more than they should be. But no matter what I do, I can’t make them relax. It’s just how they are. It’s just how I am, how I’ve always been.

It’s far better than it has been in the past. I feel much safer now that I am living with my partner. I failed the first year of my course at University due to it.

My anxiety that year was the year that it has caused me far more troubles than ever before. It started growing slowly. At first it was just a feeling of… loneliness… isolation. The feelings everyone has during their first few days of moving into dorms. As I started to meet new people, my anxiety only grew. These people aren’t like me… I don’t find them that interesting… they can tell I am different… I felt out of place. Again – a feeling that a lot of students feel during their first year of Uni.

This grew quickly and within one week I was at the¬†point where I was too afraid to even cook in the shared kitchen. Whether I KNEW there were people in there or not, I didn’t want to find out.

I’ve never really been afraid of people on a whole. I used to be very shy when I was younger, but now and even during Uni, I would comfortably speak to people when I felt ready to crawl out of my den. Sure, they probably found my responses to their questions to be a little unusual, but I’d speak slowly and with confidence. It was just… a fear of… being seen? A fear of having my privacy attacked? A fear of being different… I don’t know.

I didn’t make any close friends during my first year at Uni. I guess I’m not very good at the whole friends thing. I joined one society – Star Trek Society. That was alright for a bit. I didn’t attend my lectures. I hardly left my room.

Anxiety ruined that year of my life. I did have some great experiences, like, on 3 days of the year, perhaps. Every other day was a blur of me being trapped in my room. I clearly remember waking up in the morning to my alarm, and… being paralyzed. I searched it up later – I think it was a mixture of analysis paralysis and panic attacks. Either way. I would just… be staring, straight up to my ceiling, still. I felt I was going insane. My mind would race. It’s like all of my thoughts were merged and executed at exactly the same moment. What should I do? Do I get up now? Do I get dressed? Do I get myself some food? How do I leave the room if someone else is awake? Do I need to make sure my skin doesn’t look too gross before I leave the room? I need to go to the bathroom… What should I do first? They are all important, I have to do them all and I only have a couple of minutes available to do them in. I had homework – did I do my homework? Is my mother okay? I should check on her. Do I have clean clothes to wear? Which lectures do I have today? Help. Help.

And then… Nothing. Staring up at the ceiling, my mind would just… pause. I’d be frozen. Still. I couldn’t speak, couldn’t move. Paralyzed by my own pathetic mind. It seems ridiculous, reading it back now. I couldn’t decide whether to pee or eat breakfast, so I froze up? I decided laying in bed would be best?

If you’ve never experienced it, it would be very, very difficult to understand. But that was my reality. My mind had physically disabled me many times – to the extent that I’d just lie awake, in the exact same position, by myself, needing to use the bathroom, thirsty, hungry, for hours and hours.

I had missed so many lectures and practicals, yet I was afraid to face studying at all. It terrified me. The fear that I wouldn’t understand any of the work at all, that I would be so many miles behind my classmates, that I’d realise that catching up would be literally impossible, that I’d realise how I had caused myself to fail that year of my degree.

I remember on one occasion I actually plucked up the courage to book myself a doctor’s appointment at the mental health clinic on campus. I remember trying to pinpoint what was actually wrong with me. At the time, it felt like I was struggling with just about everything. General anxiety, social anxiety, ADD, depression, panic disorder, PTSD, missing home, that my work was too difficult, money problems, worried about family members of mine who were struggling too… I almost walked up to the door of the clinic, when I saw a woman through the window. I panicked and made a U-turn, back to my room.

It damaged my relationship with my partner, too. I felt that I needed his company, always. When he wasn’t visiting, I felt that he simply hated me. That he didn’t care about how I was struggling. That he’d rather pretend I didn’t exist and just focus on progressing in the other areas of his life. Thoughts like that consumed me. He was the only person I could trust, so I’d obsessively wait at my laptop for him to come online, for hours. He was not at fault – mental illnesses warp the victim’s perspective. I didn’t see how he was doing everything he could do to help me.

This is just what General Anxiety Disorder looks like to me. It is different for everybody. It is a continuous up and down struggle in my life. The past year has been far better, one of my better years in terms of anxiety, and for that I am extremely grateful. For others, this will be one of their worst years in terms of anxiety.

I’m 23 and have still never had a conventional job – something that just feels more and more difficult the longer I leave it. I have spent the last 3 years studying 3 different level 3 courses for the same subject (haha…,) and this is my fourth year doing the same.

My anxiety¬†now is mostly social anxiety and paranoia when in the home, that I get overwhelmed after being out of the house for a long time, an intense feeling of loneliness when I’m physically by myself, being constantly on edge and continuously worrying about the possibility of things in my life going wrong.

Checking¬†my bag for my wallet, ID, train tickets, keys and phone 10 or more times in one outing. Fearing that something terrible has happened to my mother if she doesn’t respond to me on messenger within a day. Being afraid my partner will come home expressing that he doesn’t want to be with me anymore. Disallowing myself to have hobbies like reading¬†or playing computer games out of fear that I’ll become too absorbed and end up forgetting to do something very important. Becoming on edge when I hear even the quietest sound, such as somebody tapping their fingers gently on a surface…

 This is my normal. My life. My anxiety.

I’ve compared anxiety to depression in the past, having experienced both. Sometimes I feel anxiety is easier¬†– at least I have the desire and passion to achieve things in my life. Sometimes I feel it is worse. That passion and desire is useless when I can’t actually utilize it – when I’m too anxious to take any action at all. Constantly feeling like a failure to achieving your own dreams is difficult.

If you are suffering from anxiety, then do what you need to do for yourself to heal. I had to leave Uni so that I could have a year out of conventional education to heal. The people that care about me thought I was crazy at first, and that was with them being aware of my mental health state. This made it a very difficult decision to make, but it was the best decision I could have made for myself at the time. Thanks to that decision I am doing much better now. If you are suffering from anxiety, be mindful of the people who care about you. It is easy to underestimate the difficulty experienced by the people caring for someone with a disability.

If you know someone with anxiety, be understanding.¬†Listen to what they say, and I mean REALLY listen. If they are telling you they really cannot go into work today, do not tell them that they must. Help ease their anxiety about the fact. Contact their work on their behalf. Help make them feel that it is okay for them to take the time they need to heal. Never be disappointed by their failures – trust me. They’re already feeling those failures a hundred times to the extent that you do. Support them and take what they say seriously. It might require a lot of energy to take care of someone with a mental health issue, but the more energy you put into helping, the faster they will get better, and the sooner you both can live happier lives.¬†

– Storm