For those of you who suffer anxiety, maybe you can recognise some of these feelings or behaviours. For those of you who don't, maybe this will help you understand someone else. /1

Anxiety is a slow burn. It's a constant boil deep inside. It's a prickling around the eyes. It's forgetting to breathe and gulping air. It's a physical weakness, a sense of dislocation. /2

Anxiety stops you from seeing and hearing what's in front of you. It has you dealing with a thousand past and future events, at the expense of the present. To others, you may seem absent-minded. Inside, you know that you're trying to handle everything, everywhere, all at once. /3

Anxiety forces avoidant behaviour. It puts you into a constant survival mode, in which you try to prioritise what seems important to get through the day at the cost of everything else - appearance, preparation, health. /4

Anxiety is made worse by certain situations. Some spaces make it relent. When home & approached about social occasions, you might agree to go. As the event approaches, a slow horror begins to build. You bow out, feeling awful. You have the appearance of being a bit of a flake. /5

Treat yourself right, and anxiety can fade into the background - there, but managed. All it takes it a few bad nights of sleep, or a sudden diet change and you're soon back in a cycle of exhaustion and misery. /6

That's the thing about anxiety, that's the killer - the fear is horrible, and it burns, but it can abate at times. The exhaustion is there, and it grinds you down, so you put on that unironed shirt, let the work pile up, stop answering phone calls. /7

Anxiety can also manifest in the most bizarre and aggravating ways. Loathe a particular song? Just when you don't need it, it'll be cycling through your head, over and over again, until you want to stick a pencil in your ear. If things are really bad, involuntary twitches! /8

When Anxiety has been going on for long enough, when it's that bad, all you want to do is not be conscious. When you're having trouble sleeping, that takes you to dark, dark places. More than once I've clutched onto the seats on a train platform, fearful of what I might do. /9

I'm lucky. I've had expert help and I've got a loving family who understand what anxiety is, where it may have come from in my case, and what to do about it. I can now manage myself in such a way that it doesn't run my life - still, I have the odd bad day. /10

If you recognize any of these feelings or see them in someone else, know that your GP can offer a range of treatments, from medication, to CBT, to talking therapy. If one thing doesn't work, there is always an alternative. /11

The important thing to understand is that nobody is really alone in suffering anxiety. It is a recognized condition with understood causes and it affects millions, literally. Help is there when and where you need it - it starts with a single conversation. /FIN

PS. Always ready to listen and lend an ear. DMs open.

You can follow @MikeStuchbery_.


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