Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Antipatory anxiety

Hi everyone, I hope you’re ok?
I wanted to blog about something which can affect me quite a bit and isn’t the easiest to talk about. Anticipatory anxiety is the feelings, thoughts and sometimes pure 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 worse possible scenario or catastrophize it. This can lead to the physical symptoms being triggered and even lead to panic attacks.

What I’ve found with anticipatory anxiety is that it’s not just something which might happen the night or day before something but can happen days or even weeks before something. Although, from personal experience,  the night/morning before can be really hard. Given how challenging it can be it’s understandable why many people who have anxiety may want to avoid or pull out at the last minute of doing something as those feelings can get so strong it can lead to panic/anxiety attacks which can leave people feeling guilty. 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.

This is something I’m hoping to work on, but I’ve been told understandably confidence and believing in yourself can have a lot to do with it too, something I’ve always struggled with. Everyone is different and different things help different people, it’s finding what works or helps for you.

This is something which can be quite difficult to talk about and affects people in different ways and under different circumstances. I’ve been told it can be quite common in people with dyspraxia etc who may also struggle with anxiety, this research is ongoing, although I do think organisation and planning difficulties can add another layer to the anxiety.

I’ve personally found anticipatory anxiety can be worse if something is new and unknown to you or has a new element to it or unpredictability.

From the outside looking in, people may make assumptions that someone is being lazy, or being silly. It’s easy for others to say, “there’s nothing to worry about.” or “stop panicking.” Whilst I think nobody can fully understand unless you have personal experiences, empathy and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes can mean a lot to them. I appreciate that it may be difficult if a friend has to cancel plans or leave early but understand that they aren’t doing it to be flaky. On the other hand, if you see a friend has managed to push through their anxiety to be able to find the courage to do something, try and empathise how much courage it might have taken them to be able to something even if it’s something small you take for granted. Celebrate their achievements, no matter how little they may be.

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.

Personally, I know too well how anxiety can make you feel socially isolated, like an outcast or like an outsider. It’s horrible and this can make you feel quite low and depressed.  But by writing this blog  I hope it can help people feel less alone slightly. Always be kind, you never know what fully is going on someone’s life.

Keep going, you’re stronger than you think!
Until next time..

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