Anxiety takes its form in many different shapes and sizes. For some, anxiety has been part of their everyday lives for as long as they can remember, while others may find it hard relating to feeling anxious at all. For me, anxiety first entered my life when I was a teenager and while there was no specific event that happened to cause it, it happened very suddenly. I went from being carefree to overcautious because of what ‘could happen’- a threat that came from somewhere inside my head. This led to OCD where I’d have to turn the light on and off a dozen times or tap the side of my bed before it was ‘safe’ to fall asleep.
The following are the different types of anxiety that most of us are familiar with:
Generalised Anxiety Disorder- People with this disorder suffer from feeling anxious most of the time, they very rarely feel relaxed.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder– OCD is characterised by people with frequent obsessive behaviours and thoughts.
Panic Disorder- The sudden onset of a panic attack at any time, this may happen regularly and for no apparent reason.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder– PTSD is caused by stressful, frightening and painful events, often people with this disorder will have flashbacks and nightmares.
Social Anxiety Disorder- Also called Social Phobia, a person may feel completely overwhelmed by social situations and this often begins during the teenage years.
The social anxiety I experienced happened throughout my teenage years and although it didn’t completely affect the way I lived my life, it certainly did affect the quality of it. I’d be a wreck on Sports Day or at school performances and the word ‘presentation’ would get my heart racing.
The OCD I had earlier experienced eventually left as quick as it came and I found ways to deal with other events that would make me nervous. Once I realised that my anxiety wouldn’t go away but it could be controlled I began to deal with it better. School led to college and college led to university. During the three years I spent at uni I honestly don’t remember a time I became overwhelmed with my anxiety. Yes it was there, yes I worried what people would think of me if I made myself look stupid in front of a group of people but the part of me that cared before didn’t care as much anymore.
It wasn’t until after I had my first son that the anxiety I thought had long gone came back with a vengeance. Coping with anxiety and stress will have been something that almost every parent will have experienced at some point. Raising a child by any means is no mean feat, it’s only natural to feel worried you’re not doing something right. Sometimes however, the anxiety of being a parent can overwhelm you and leave you feeling incredibly stressed and anxious. It’s at these times that we must stop, sit down and have a chat with ourselves.