What Is Chronic Anxiety Disorder?
The word anxiety is everywhere at the moment and thankfully, it is a condition that is becoming more recognised as a disorder. But what does it mean? What is it like to live with?
Anxiety can be a serious problem – it makes it difficult to focus and find happiness in the world around you, leading to a less than high-quality life. It’s normal to have worries day-to-day, especially when facing a big life event such as exams or instability in your job. However, ‘chronic’ anxiety describes a type of panic that doesn’t seem to go away and often isn’t prompted by a specific event around you.
Where does it come from?
Personally, I have absolutely no idea where my anxieties stem from – I can’t think of a specific ‘trigger’ for it. It just seems to be something that has manifested over many years and doesn’t seem to have any ideas of abating as yet! However in general, anxiety can stem from a traumatic event leading to PTSD, or can be caused by everyday issues such as work, school, family life or social situations.
I spoke to Anna, 29 who suffers from chronic anxiety on a daily basis:
“Sometimes I feel like I can’t even get out of bed! I worry so much about what the day might hold that it can often trigger an anxiety attack before I even leave the house. Often I just go into work anyway and suffer through the day. Most of the time, my worries don’t come into fruition but it doesn’t change how I feel the next morning when I go through the whole process again. It really does take over my life, but I don’t want to take any medication. It’s a constant struggle, I feel that I have to live with. However, I’m glad there is more attention drawn to the condition and alternatives to medicine to try.”
What to do when you’re having an anxiety attack
I recently learned this simple but effective trick called ‘grounding’. It can help when you feel like you have lost control of your surroundings. Simply look around and focus on something you can see, touch, hear, smell and taste. Another great technique is to focus on three things you can control – as simple as what you might be having for dinner later, or what outfit you might choose for tomorrow. Grounding techniques help to bring us back to the here and now, with an awareness of our own bodies. In addition, don’t suffer in silence. If you’re having an attack, find someone you trust and have them sit with you until you are able to calm down.
If you have anxiety don’t be afraid to talk about it. It’s okay to admit that you need help. In fact, it can make a tremendous difference in your life when you do. It’s not dramatic to admit that you have an anxiety disorder; it’s human – and important. Please know that you are not alone. Many of us live with anxiety and other mental health issues and your voice matters – what are some tips and tricks you’ve tried to manage your wellbeing?