self help, anxiety (From my draft archive)

Found this draft today. Someone wrote it months ago!!!! Pretty good I think. I’m unsure which of me wrote it, but am proud to have some so smart alters. :):) Bonny x

Stress overload??? Confused about  the cause?

Everyone feels stress. It’s a part of life. But when daily stressors become so overwhelming that they begin to manifest themselves into physical, emotional or behavioral problems, stress overload may be the culprit.the

When bad stress is becoming detrimental to your health, mental or physica. Your body begins to give off signs that stress overload is beginning. People with stress overload may begin to feel the following on a regular basis:

-Anxiety and panic attacks
-Constantly feeling pressured, overwhelmed, or hurried
-Irritability and moodiness
-Stomach ailments
-Headaches
-Chest pain
-Sudden onset of allergic reactions
-Sleep problems
-Overwhelming sadness or depression

When I say stress overload, I guess you picture an office worker, or a student, with papers stacked high before them. Basically blowing their top because their workload has become too much. That isn’t what I mean though, not that alone anyway.

Stressors that may cause stress overload can include any of the following plus others that may not be mentioned…. 

-Exposure to ongoing violence

-Death of a loved one

-Ongoing problems at work or home

-An inability to relax

-Constant overworking

-A chronic illness in yourself or a loved one

-Worry over your child or siblings for example following a bad path

-Money worries

-Psychological abuse or bullying.

Anxiety can be a result of such daily stress overloads. Anxiety can make even the most menial stressor, seem to be something truly overwhelming. That before the stress overload you know you could have managed with very little difficulty.

Symptoms of stress/stress overload may include:

  • Emotional: Feeling out of control, overwhelmed, lonely, isolated, unhappy, depressed, helpless, irritable, short-tempered, moody, impatient, unable to relax or agitated.
  • Physical: Aches and pains, tight muscles, a clenched jaw, nausea, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, diarrhea or constipation, headaches, back problems/pain, frequent colds or loss of sex drive.
  • Behavioral: Sleeping too much or too little, eating too much or too little, speaking and eating quickly, procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities, isolating yourself or using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to relax.
  • Cognitive: Poor judgment, constant worrying, anxious or racing thoughts, inability to concentrate, memory problems or seeing only the negative.

chronic stress may well rewire the brain. This may make you more susceptible to further depression and anxiety. Stress may also make emotional problems from your past seem to be much worse. Which can in turn increase thoughts of self harm or suicide.

I guess all that it pretty common knowledge but the difficulty is catching your stress overload before it manifests itself into something detrimental to your physical or mental health. Realising when you are becoming stressed can help us to avoid the vicious circle.

The circle you ask?? I’ll use myself as an example…..

It started in year 2010. I was around 20 years old. For the first time in my life I was in a good place. My life, content feelings and happiness was all due to my SO. Always considered my knight in shining armour for saving me from an abusive future that followed the suit of my past. I was happy, and ultimately I was safe. I could take on the world and it’s army of followers, or so I thought. BUT….

Then my SO lost his business. Through no fault of his own. He ended up out of pocket. Depressed, suicidal and a shell of the man I knew. I had all responsibility for my life and his placed on my shoulders. I handled it. I managed. I sorted bills, household stuff. Kept him safe, helped him through. I did pretty amazing, and held myself together throughout. I put him first, understood his worries,anxieties and depression as best I could. I was supportive, and mature beyond my years. He started to pull through. He started doing well, and everything should have been just okay. BUT….

There had been too much stress in my head. Too much to handle. As soon as the heat was off, as soon as he held his head higher. I caved. I don’t know if it was a nervous breakdown or what but I lost the strength. I became anxious like I’d never known before. I couldn’t leave my house, see family or friends. I was ruined. Not because I was still stressed, but because the stress had allowed me to build up anxieties, anxieties that overtook my existence. That ruled my life.

Fortunately I managed to get back into therapy, sort myself somewhat. No I’m not perfect, but I stopped letting anxiety control me. When I realised I was allowing it to control me, I started to overcome it. Slowly. I still am learning to overcome it, but I’m moving in the right direction!!!

So I guess you’re curious, how I overcame it?? Well it wasn’t easy, and it took a hell of a lot of courage and time. There were moments when I doubted myself, doubted what I was trying to do, what my Therapist was helping me do. But I did it and my advice is the following;

-Get moving. Help your body produce endorphins, or “feel good” chemicals. Don’t go  with not been bothered, or not needing to today! I’m not talking gym sessions. I’m talking walking up and down the stairs. Dancing behind closed drapes in your lounge.

-Acknowledge that you no longer want to remain in this negative pattern of thinking and that you will consciously make an effort to break free from it. Write down your negative thoughts on paper you can carry with you. Next to them write what you want to feel! Read them when you feel your anxiety coming on!

-Observe the thoughts you are having, but do not judge them. Do not try to wish your thoughts away either because it will only cause you to think of them more, trying to fight them, is allowing yourself to think about them and giving them precious mind effort! Do not fight your thoughts. To do so only creates a more obsessive thought. Allow your thoughts to happen, but do not validate or judge them in any way. Laugh at the thoughts, dismiss them, but don’t fight them off. Instead, simply observe, but don’t judge or respond to them. Ignoring them decreases their power over you. It  seems scary, but they are just thoughts, they cannot change you. It’s like wanting ice cream, thinking about ice cream, ignoring the want wont make ice cream smother you…. They are only your thoughts! Thoughts have no power.

-Take not of the thought and realize that thoughts do not define you and are not a part of you. They are simply thoughts. Look at the obsessive thoughts as a separate entity and you will eventually be able to distance yourself from them. The thoughts will always come, but the distance between you and them can become bigger. We have no control over them coming, but can control the entity they exist in! Do not fight that. If you fight that, you’re only setting yourself up for failure.

-Try not to even think of them as your own thoughts but simply “intrusive thoughts” that prevent you from getting in touch with your true self. Looking at them in this way is helpful because the less you identify with the thoughts, the more quickly you can get back to your real self. As mentioned earlier, the obsessive thoughts are just trying to distract you from feeling what you need to feel and doing what you need to do. Tell yourself how you should feel if you need to, or read the paper you made!!! Remind yourself how you want to feel.

– The minute you judge a thought, you give it more power. The important thing to remember is a thought is a thought. That’s it. You need not over-analyze it or judge it. You thought it, you control it, you can eradicate it!

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