Anxiety is a feeling of unease. Everybody gets anxious when faced with a stressful situation, for example an exam or interview, or during a worrying time such as illness. It's also normal to feel anxious when you face something difficult or dangerous. Mild anxiety can often be positive and useful, particularly if you are better at working under pressure. However, anxiety can become a problem when you still feel anxious after the event has passed... or it may never even have happened.
About one in 10 people in the UK are affected by ‘troublesome’ anxiety. This is considered an anxiety disorder when it's long-lasting, severe and is interfering with everyday activities. Excessive anxiety is often associated with other mental health problems such as depression.
Anxiety is a healthy response to stressful, challenging or threatening situations. It prepares us for 'fight' or 'flight'. This is extremely helpful if you are facing challenges and dangers and the local sabre toothed tiger is potentially eyeing you for his lunch. Anxiety means we will be on our guard and is likely to keep us alert for our not so friendly sabre toothed tiger and prepare us to run (flight) or fight. However, our brains can sometimes function too well and we stay in a state of flight or fright even when danger is not present. This is exhausting it can be scary. It has been described as a, "living hell" by some who experience it. Your mind cannot switch off and imagines threats when there are none. You feel vulnerable, unsafe. It can leave you wondering where the confident, capable person you were has gone.
In short if you are experiencing anxiety there is a strong chance that you share the following tendancies.
1. You over estimate the severity of a hazard and its likelihood of happening. e.g. I have a rash. I am going to be seriously ill.
2. You under estimate your ability to deal with the hazard. e.g. I am going to be seriously ill and I am not going to cope. "DON'T LEAVE ME ALONE".
3. You avoid situations that cause you anxiety. e.g. avoid a lift incase it breaks down. Unfortunately while in the short term this helps you feel ok, in the longer term it just makes you feel even more anxious as you haven't learned that the thing you fear doesn't always happen or how to manage it if it does. You are also going to be even more anxious if the time comes when you have to get in a lift.
If you can identify with this you may want to go to our Get Support page
Facing our fears and sharing our challenges and triumphs is not easy but it is worth it.