Anxiety, the invisible monster – Part 1. The symptoms

Anxiety. It could manifest itself as social anxiety, general anxiety, simple shakes or damaging panic attacks. Most our anxiety may be caused by other people or exam results. It is an invisible monster that we hide from the world and often from ourselves.

Art by Toby

“P.S. You’re not going to die. Here’s the white-hot truth: if you go bankrupt, you’ll still be okay. If you lose the gig, the lover, the house, you’ll still be okay. If you sing off-key, get beat by the competition, have your heart shattered, get fired…it’s not going to kill you. Ask anyone who’s been through it.” Daneille LaPorte

I discovered that I had anxiety last year and since then, have made remarkable steps to changing my life. For years I thought that something was wrong with me, with an eating disorder caused from anxiety, two suicidal episodes and bottomless pits of depression that were all caused by the monster that is anxiety. If you have anxiety, or think you do, then this series of articles were written for you. My goal for this article is to make you aware of the many shapes and forms of anxiety.

Common Symptoms Anxiety:

  • I was born with a tension tremor, meaning I shake intensively due to excess amounts of adrenaline pumped out of my brain. Two years ago, I found out what my condition had been and this has helped me overcome some of it’s consequences. While the tension tremor should have been an indicator of an anxiety disorder, I didn’t know what the indicators were to start off with. It gets in the way of most activities. I always joke around and say that I may have missed my opportunity to become a million dollar surgeon.
  • Ever since I was fifteen year old; I also struggled to eat until I was full, I would often feel nauseous in the mornings. A nervous stomach is another sign of anxiety.
  • Rumination is another – the curse of having the same worried thoughts on loop. Most people ruminate, but when ones ruminations stop you from sleeping and going about your day to day activities, that’s when you know it’s of a more serious nature.
  • A sore chest used to also happen to me at night, sometimes it feels like you’re having a heart attack.
  • There’s also muscle tension in the shoulders and neck which often causes terrible tension headaches.
  • Profuse sweating is also a symptom.
  • And finally, the panic attack.

The panic attack actually has two varieties. There’s the familiar one, where people often use brown paper bags to relieve it. One hyperventilates and feels such a shortness of breath that they breathe too rapidly, causing them to feel faint and display other symptoms. The other, ones that I exhibit, don’t look like panic attacks. The victim unconsciously stops breathing, which also causes the muscles to tense and the brain to go into panic mode. The symptoms thereafter are similar to the first. In most occurrences of the secondary type of panic attack, other people around the victim don’t actually observe the victim’s symptoms, nor does the victim often realise that they’re even having a panic attack.

Now that you all are aware of how anxiety usually operates, the next few articles will deal with ways of treating anxiety by living in a more positive way! I look forward to going on this journey with you all.

-Sasha-Lee Schafli

“If you obsess over whether you are making the right decision, you are basically assuming that the universe will reward you for one thing and punish you for another. The universe has no fixed agenda. Once you make any decision, it works around that decision. There is no right or wrong, only a series of possibilities that shift with each thought, feeling, and action that you experience.” Deepak Chopra

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