At first in didn’t recognise it as anxiety.
The constant feelings of worry, apprehension, or dread I considered normal, after all I was working in a very stressful job at the time. My heart would begin to beat faster, and I’d start sweating before a big presentation or before being interviewed on radio or TV. I got used to the constant knot in my stomach as I sat at my desk in the trading room, never able to celebrate the ups as I knew another down was just around the corner.
These kinds of feelings are absolutely normal. Everyone experiences anxiety at some point. It is was my body’s normal reaction to a stressful situation, and I had a stressful job so at first I dismissed them.
The problem was that these feelings gradually became my normal reaction to everyday events.I was feeling anxious all the time, triggered with no obvious specific cause/reason, and it began interfering with mypersonal life and my work. It was time to do something about it.
The following are 5 signs of anxiety that I missed, recognising them would have meant that I could have acted sooner.
- I was permanently exhausted & had trouble sleeping.
I was unable to switch off at bedtime which severely impacted the quantity and quality of my sleep. Sometime I’d wake up in the middle of the night and be unable to get back to sleep because I was anxious about upcoming events or my performance at work, or even just constantly replaying a conversation that I had during the day. As a result I was exhausted the next day, mentally and physically and found it difficult to function and carry out my normal daily tasks. This further added to my anxiety and the vicious circle continued causing more unbroken and poor quality sleep.
- I couldn’t control my mental chatter.
My mind was constantly racing and I felt that I had little or no control of my thought processes, powerless to stop the constant negative chatter. Feeling that I was not in control of my own mind was a very worrisome sensation. This is a common complaint that I come across regularly with my clients, and thankfully it is one that can be easily and quickly resolved when you learn the right skills.
- I couldn’t concentration properly.
When I was inundated with unwanted thoughts, it left me with little ability to concentrate properly on any one task in particular. People suffering from anxiety struggle with concentration as they generally have many thoughts vying for their attention. I was finding it difficult to concentrate at work, when I was out with friends or even just while reading a book.
- I was Over-Sensitive/Hyper-Sensitive.
What had happened was I had inadvertently activated my natural “danger warning system” but I was unable to switch it off. As a result my anxiety was being triggered by what previously or for other people may have seemed an easily managed situation, but for me it had become extremely stressful.
- I was moody.
Lack of sleep, poor concentration and an overactive/hyper-sensitive mind is understandably a recipe for moodiness. As I was unable to give proper attention to tasks, or people the default reaction was either to “snap” or “lash out” or alternately attempt to avoid and hide from a growing number of situations.
When I suffered from anxiety it felt like it was permanent, just how I was made. But the reality of it was thatI could do something about it and eliminate it from my life, I just needed to learn how to take control of my own mind rather than being at its mercy.
The modern world puts a lot of stress and strains on us that can contribute significantly to triggering anxiety. Most people are never given the skills to adequately manage their own minds and take control over them and stop normal levels of anxiety becoming chronic and impacting the quality of their lives.
There are plenty of options that can help; Yoga, Mindfulness and various talking therapies have all been used to bring relief and help sufferers to live lives free from anxiety.
The most important thing for me was to recognise the signs and seek help. And I did and it led me to a change in career path where I now have the opportunity to help others overcome anxiety and depression and live lives of fulfilment and happiness.
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Wishing you health and happiness!
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