Inside the anxious brain

This week you get an extra post from me- I have started back at work, and my anxious brain is in overdrive. Why? I am not too sure- there is obviously something worrying me, but it’s buried somewhere I can’t get to at the moment. So I thought I would sit and have a bit of a write, which always seems to calm me and my thoughts.

Today I shall show you a bit of what happens in my brain, and about my anxiety in general.  Please note: These are my thoughts and feelings on anxiety- and this does not reflect what other sufferers of anxiety may or may not have.

My Brain won’t shut up

When you have a busy day and you get into bed its common to have your brain suddenly wake up and think about all the things. When I get anxiety bad my brain is like this all the time. Its just doesn’t stop. My thoughts flicker from one thing to the next in a couple of seconds. My brain decides to drag up memories of past conversations and actions, before switching to thinking about bills to pay, or the chores I need to do. I get distracted super easily- I will start a range of tasks at the same time, and drift between them all, never quite finishing anything. I will start watching a TV program and realise I only paid attention to the first 10 minutes. Or forget to respond to people.

What I do to help: I use to do lists at work- which I tick off when I have done a task. This helps me stay on track. When I am trying to get to sleep I put an audiobook or and try and get myself to just listen to that, to focus solely on the story.  Sometimes I write the thoughts down- especially if they are thoughts about experiments I need to do.

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I withdraw

I don’t mean to, I just do. I skip lunch with people, eating at my desk instead, and I don’t respond properly to peoples text messages and emails.  Sometimes, I will cancel on people- its nothing to do with you I swear, its just at that moment in time, I just can’t. Its hard to explain why you can’t- Maybe its triggering some sort of safety thing in your brain, you feel anxious and ‘fearful’ so you want to hide away to not get hurt?

What I do to help: If I have planned events, I make myself go to them anyway- it can be hard, but getting yourself out of your own head can help to break the cycle you are in.

Social anxiety

I am normally pretty social, but when I am in suffering a bout of anxiety I really withdraw. If I get myself to go out, I will have psyched myself up before hand, and even before I have left the house I will be coming up with excuses in my head to go home early. Once I get back from the social event I will feel completely drained and head straight for bed.

What I do to help: as above, I try to go to the event anyway. If I really just face it, I will cancel and try not to worry about what I think people might be saying about me because I cancelled… As you can tell, I am still trying to figure out how to get better in this area…

I start to doubt myself and the people around me

Oh- they have all gone to lunch and today didn’t ask me? That’s fine I guess… they obviously just hate my company, and find me a boring person…

I begin to check everything so many times

Did I definitely close the incubator door? I know I already opened and closed in 6 times, but maybe I should do it again… just in case

What I do to help: With these sort of things I try to “be in the moment” really paying attention to what I am doing, so I can recall the memory of doing it sharply with no doubt.

I catastrophize

This is where you take something super small and insignificant and blow it all up. You think the very worst things are going to happen- and generally over-exaggerate.

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What I do to help: I whip out my anxious predictions chart, and bring it back into perspective.

I get super tired

Sleep becomes even more important than it already is to me! I feel physically drained all day long, and wake up feeling no better. This generally only lasts for the time that I am anxious and then I bounce back to normal, but man, it makes it hard to get up in the morning.

My Jaw gets unbelievably sore

One of my physical symptoms is a super achey jaw. I grind my teeth, and clench my jaw- this is not good for your teeth or your jaw muscles.

What am doing to help: I am hopefully going to be getting a mouth guard- this will help to protect my teeth from being further ground down, and hopefully reduce some of the tension.

I sometimes get panic attacks

I can now tell when they are coming on- I find my thoughts get super jumbled and more and more panicked. My hands start to tremble slightly- you know when you have just had a surge of adrenaline and after you are left feeling odd- that’s what I get, but I am just sitting and not doing anything exciting.

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What I do to help: At this point I try and calm myself- calm thoughts, calm mind, calm breaths. I haven’t had a panic attack in a few months now (yay) managing to see the signs and calm myself down before one happens.

So… yeah. That’s some insight into the workings of my anxious brain.

I am super anxious today, but hopefully I will be better tomorrow. Not 100%, just better. Anxiety ebbs and flows, and sometimes comes out of nowhere (apparent nowhere… there is always a cause. Just figuring that out can be hard.)

But, I have ways to help (some of which I have shared above), and I am still at work- still doing experiments, still researching, still planning. It is not stopping me from doing what I love, so that’s a win in my book.

If you don’t have anxiety I hope this has shown you what it can be like for someone who does, and if you do have anxiety- I hope this has shown you that we are all in the same boat! We can do this, we will beat it, and it won’t stop us 🙂

Until next time.

 

Extra Info:

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/anxiety-and-panic-attacks/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIyoD2vvWf1gIVzbftCh1WUA7XEAAYAyAAEgLPT_D_BwE

https://www.wellbeingnands.co.uk/

 

Pictures:

The awkward yeti: http://theawkwardyeti.com

Sara Pocock: http://sarapocock.tumblr.com/

 

2 thoughts on “Inside the anxious brain

  1. Wow, I can relate to almost everything in your post! Even the sore jaw thing, I honestly thought I was the only person to deal with that. I clench my jaw almost every night when I’m in periods of heightened anxiety – it is definitely not a nice feeling.

    Like

    • It is so painful isn’t it- I have been told getting a teeth night guard really helps, so I am hoping if I get one sorted that might help in the future.
      I have found as I have started talking to more people- a lot of people have the same symptoms, although I hate it that so many others a suffering, it is also nice to know I am not alone!

      Liked by 1 person

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