Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Anticipatory anxiety

Hi everyone, I hope you’re ok?

This week is Dyspraxia Awareness week it is Wednesday it is also World Mental Health Day. The Dyspraxia Foundation has recently released a press report of the emotional needs of people with dyspraxia finding 55% of dyspraxic people feel anxious all of the time. It also mentions high levels of anticipatory anxiety. Time To Change have recently launched a campaign on their website, talking about if a mate is acting differently, to ask twice as people if they're ok as I know how easy to say you're feeling fine when things may be more difficult.   It's important to remember not to be stereotypical and get to know someone as an individual as anxiety/mental health issues will be different for everyone. Also from a dyspraxic perspective, not every dyspraxic may have mental health difficulties. It’s also important to remember “life” may be different for everyone, people live in different areas of the country, some may live in towns some cities and different family backgrounds and circumstances and maybe a few sensitive life experiences which for me don’t focus in this blog but my anxieties generally.

Anticipatory anxiety is the feelings, thoughts and sometimes dread before something is going to happen. This could be; a social situation, a holiday, a day at work or uni, or an appointment- the list is very much endless. Anticipatory anxiety is your mind racing with all of the “what if’s,” and the brain can conjure up an endless list of possibilities or scenarios of what might happen, and more often than not think of the worst possible scenario and catastrophize it. This can lead to physical symptoms being triggered and even lead to panic attacks. This can be exhausting enhance low mood.

One (of many) for me is before social situations: as a  quiet/shy person who experiences social anxiety, initiating and joining in conversations sharing ideas, or being in situations where I may be the centre of attention such as 1:1 meeting. I worry people won’t want to meet me, find me boring, that they won’t enjoy my company or they will assume I’m rude. I can self-doubt myself and my abilities probably far too much.

What I’ve found with anticipatory anxiety is that it’s not just something which might happen the night or day before but can happen days or even weeks beforehand. Although, from personal experience,  the night/morning before can be really hard.  I know how easy it is to get into that vicious circle myself and the frustration of when it can feel anxiety has got to you or affected your plans. I’ve personally found anticipatory anxiety can be worse if it is new and unknown to you or has a new element or unpredictability.

Check in with your friends, although talking can be difficult for many a listening ear and knowing you have people in your corner may not take away the struggles but can help someone not feel alone. I also think it’s important no matter what difficulties someone has that they still feel included or invited to things or included in the conversation. That inclusion is something which is really important and can help build someone’s self-esteem and confidence in themselves. I also think it’s important to take a little bit of time especially if someone is shy/quieter or has social anxiety is to get to know them as an individual and how they may be affected, but also as a person.

Always be kind, you never know what fully is going on someone’s life.

Life hasn't been too easy for me recently so thank you to those who have been there for me.

Keep going, you’re stronger than you think! I was given some words of advice from my therapist today: "don't believe everything you think."

Until next time..

For more about mental health:

To donate to the Dyspraxia Foundation 30th birthday appeal:

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