Jesska Denise is an Irish beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog


Anxiety - It's Not Always What You Think

Jesska Denise Irish Beauty Blog
This isn't a blog post I fully planned on writing, I still don't feel comfortable enough talking about my mental health in person, let alone on the internet for everyone to see, and share. But over the last couple of days I've seen the same image come up on my Facebook news feed numerous times, from different people and it got me thinking. Thinking about how anxiety isn't a one glove fits all, it's not the stereotypical rocking back and forth, ~hyperventilating, breathing into a paper bag image we all may be familiar with. I know that's how I used to picture anxiety, and sometimes, that is how my anxiety shows itself. But that's what I call 'level 8 anxiety', when I become so overwhelmed that I feel like I might never breathe properly again, where my hands start to tingle and my face feels like it's bubbling and on fire, and my heart races so fast that I feel like my body will never keep up and I begin to panic even more because, I feel like this is a heart attack and I'm having chest pains, chest pains, that feel like a stabbing twinge in my heart, and I can't breathe and I feel like air is getting trapped in my throat and someone is balancing all their weight between my neck and heart and 'breathe Jess, you need to breathe' starts running through my head, and I'm dizzy, and my body, my body feels like when you've sat in the same position for too long and your foot is asleep, but it's all over and it's torturous, and I'm wrapped up like a pretzel because I need to make myself smaller, smaller because I can't breathe and my mind is screaming danger, and my body is reacting in a way I don't want it to and I have no idea why, and seconds become minutes, and minutes become hours, but eventually I can breathe again, and my body returns to normal, all the while I've just been sat on the chair in my kitchen. No immediate danger. My mind has this way of just over taking my body. I get so overwhelmed, and I over think things and without even meaning to, I'm somehow at 'level 8 anxiety'. I call it that because that is the worst I've ever felt, but it comes in other ways, in many different ways. For me anxiety creeps in in ways I never would have imagined were even anxiety. It's only through therapy that I have learned, that little things I do are 'habits' that I 'taught' myself to do in a way to 'deal' with my anxiety better. I fidget, I fidget a lot. More than the average person, and I've become embarrassingly aware of this in the last couple of months. It gets worse in work. When I'm standing at a till waiting to serve someone, and I'm not able to do anything else because I'm waiting. Waiting for a customer to come along or the previous one to leave. I'm tapping. Tapping the till and the counter because I can feel my breathing is starting to get a little heavier, and I'm trying to distract myself from the fact that I may go to 'level 8' if I don't defuse now, and the queue is getting longer and I'm tapping even more and I'm waiting and I look around and I'm growing increasingly self conscious cause I feel like I'm breathing too much now, and my heart races some more, and flicking my fingers, everyone is staring at me, but realistically I know they're not, it's just how I feel, and I'm flicking them more, trying to tell myself to calm down, my body is on high alert and I can't remove myself from the situation, so I tap more, and fidget more and this eases it a little. And it eases it some more. And I'm nervous and the queue moves and eventually I calm down. Nights out are a similar scenario, if not worse. I find night clubs trigger these feelings even more, the loudness, the crowds, the small spaces and my mind screaming at me to escape because it isn't a safe place to be, even though I'm surrounded by my friends, and security but I still find myself stood in a toilet cubicle multiple times throughout the night, having an inner argument with myself over how i just need to 'chill the fudge out', and some times I can, other times I can't and the night can go on forever with me hyper aware on the dance floor of everything around me and no amount of pinching my palms or tapping my fingers or scrolling through Twitter will ever calm me down, so I remain silent, with my senses on high alert and the fear of feeling like this stops me from going out with my friends more than it should. When I was 13/14 I was bullied. Bullied to the point where I was afraid to leave my house, even walking to the shop at the top of our road filled me with dread in case I'd bump into any of them. They'd taunt me from across the road, or laugh at me when I'd walk by. They egged our house on multiple occasions. They made fun of my clothes, insulted my hair, and would take jibes at my lack of perfect skin, something which I'm still really paranoid about today. Social settings are where my anxiety comes to the fore front. I'm afraid. I get nervous about everything. My outfit, my hair, my make up, how I come across to those around me, I question and over think, everything, and I think being bullied contributed to those feelings a lot. It means I miss out on a lot, especially when it comes to blogging and events. I constantly feel on edge and like I need to escape and unless there's a degree of 'certainty' to a situation, I'm less likely to go along with it. I found college was difficult in regards to this too, because classes were constantly chopped and changed. I like order and familiarity, and for my days to follow a similar routine. It eases the feelings of anxiety, and I panic less when I know if I'm 'coming or going'. I can't do spontaneity because it's not part of the 'plan', and I'd be afraid I'd start getting overwhelmed and 'showing' my anxiety being silent or awkward, and I spend a lot of time trying to avoid 'level 8 anxiety', and considering it's Christmas, I feel quite close to that and I know my anxiety levels are high, because things aren't 'normal' right now, it's the holidays. Schedules are off, my days are different, routine is out the window. I'm a little more on edge, easily pissed off, just so aware of every damn thing, it's like I'm on high alert and constantly trying to remind myself to breathe, it's knowing I'm completely safe but my body refuses to listen, and a chunk of my mind is going 'yeh but, what if?'. I'm stressed without even meaning to be.
It's different for everyone. I truthfully, do not manage it very well, I used to take something for it but stopped back in August because of physical side effects which outweighed the mental benefits for me, right now I manage the physical side (chest pains) with tablets my GP gave me when I really need to, but other than that, I'm not one to be giving advice. If I could find something with minimal side effects, then I might reconsider my thoughts on medication, but right now I have no idea what I'm doing, but hopefully, some day, I manage it better. Because it is pretty damn miserable right now avoiding life, for fear of an anxiety/panic attack. The anxiety isn't the full picture of my life right now, recovering from an eating disorder plays a lot into it too, but Id rather not discuss that until I'm in a better place to do so.
(i haven't edited this post, it's pretty jumbled/doesn't make a whole load of sense, but it's just a fraction of my experience with anxiety, if you suffer from anxiety or think you might need a little support check out or Mental Health Ireland for more information than I can give.)


Cardigan Jezebel said...

This is such an amazing and honest post. Than you for sharing your experiences because it makes people like me (who have similar issues) feel less alone <3


Lucy said...

Its really brave of you to write about your anxiety, I know how difficult it can be. Trust me, you're not alone and its good to share your feelings sometimes. I'm the exact same when it comes to distractions, I fidget so badly...usually touching my face or playing with my hair, I can't help myself!

Lucy | Forever September

R's Rue said...

Thank you

Unknown said...

i hope you are felling better now and hope you could be happy all the time. i wanns show you soms curtains to change room environment to make you released.

Richard Butler Creagh said...

Just always remember that you are never alone.. More power to you!