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Anxiety can show itself physically and emotionally.
For me, anxiety has been like a helmet you had to wear to ride your bike as a kid. It’s hard on the outside but cushioned on the inside, you never really liked to wear it but it protected you from harm.
Although there are many ways that anxiety manifests, here are some of the common symptoms:
Nausea or a churning stomach
Rapid heart rate or noticing your heart beat more
Dizziness or feeling light headed
Grinding teeth (during the day or at night)
Headaches, back ache or other pain in the body
Faster breathing or feelings of breathlessness
Experiencing panic attacks
Feeling nervous, unable to relax or worried about the future
Struggling to focus on tasks
Having a feeling of dread or unease
Feeling that other people are noticing you’re anxious
Thinking about a lot of past bad experiences
Feeling disconnected or unable to relate to anyone or anything
When you have anxiety you might also find that you struggle with the day-to-day things like:
Going to work
Trying something new
I am unable to get a job. I struggle to travel to see my boyfriend and friend. I refuse to eat out of the house. Anxiety is slowly eating away at the person I was, and I’m not sure I want to be the person I am becoming.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is the name for the ‘long-term condition that causes feelings of worry and distress about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event’.
It’s estimated that around 5% of people in the UK are affected by GAD, making it extremely common. Women are also twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders than men.
While it’s not fully understood what causes longer term anxiety (GAD), we know that the following may be triggers:
Genetics - you’re five times more likely to develop GAD if you have a close relative with the condition
An imbalance in the mood-regulating brain chemicals serotonin and noradrenaline
A history of abuse or traumatic experiences in your past
Suffering from a long term painful health condition
Difficult life conditions - for example struggling with finances, employment, working long hours, losing someone close to you, feeling lonely or isolated
Experiencing other mental health problems such as depression