Living With Anxiety
I didn't realise that I was living with anxiety, until I was well into my training to be a counsellor. For as long as I can remember I was aware that I felt nervous in lots of situations, and would avoid certain activities because I found them stressful. I missed out on social activities that I longed to join in with. I left jobs, because I couldn't cope with making mistakes. The fear of being judged was immense. I never felt that I was good enough and worried constantly that other people would find out my shortcomings. When I made mistakes I felt crucified with embarrassment and shame that other people also knew I wasn't good enough.
Outwardly, people didn't know.
They saw me as calm and confident, when inside I felt like I was struggling to keep it together. Like the swan gliding effortlessly across the water. Nobody could see the frantic paddling that was going on below the surface.
I felt like I was wearing a mask, trying to be the person that I thought I should be. Rarely relaxed enough to immerse myself fully into the joy of life experiences and aware that I carried an air of sadness within me. I felt as if I was on a constant high alert, watching out for signs that I had done or said something that other people didn't approve of. I believed that I knew what other people were thinking about me (it was never good!). I struggled to maintain focus or sleep well due to the never ending whirlwind of thoughts that were spinning in my mind. Living life in this way took it's toll on not only my mental health but also my body. I was in constant pain from the tension that I was holding in my body.
Recognising that I have anxiety, enabled me to find ways to manage it. I still feel anxious in certain situations, but now I can control the anxiety instead of it controlling me. Through counselling and CBT, I can recognise the physical signs of anxiety before it overwhelms me and control the thoughts from spinning in my mind.
If you would like help with managing anxiety, you will find more information and my contact details on my website at sandrakilleencounselling.com