Through My Eyes

blog, blogs, Drama, help, helpful, justgeorgej, Student, Students, Theatre, uni, University

Hello Readers,

I am really trying to get back into the routine of blogging to a schedule so that you, my readers, have some consistency as to when my content is actually posted. I’m failing, aren’t I? I really am going to try harder! It’s just getting into the swing of things and deciding what to write. To be honest, not knowing what to write has always been the downful of all my blogs throughout the years. The only reason this one lasted up for so long is because I could write about student things… and even though I am still a student, I do not want to start repeating myself multiple times. I’m still sort of doing that, but oh well! Let’s crack on with today’s article, shall we? ‘Through My Eyes’ is, yeah you guessed it, a article post about anxiety. WOW! Exciting, am I right? … I’ll just start.

Just for a moment, I would like you to imagine a couple of things;

Imagine that you are drunk. In whatever way ‘drunk’ means to you. Imagine that. That point where you cannot concentrate on one singular point. Where everything feels like it has a ‘buzz’ or ‘vibration‘ to it. Where everything is spinning. The room, the people, everything, your head cannot be still for a single second.

Imagine this now… imagine that you are not drunk and the room isn’t spinning, HOWEVER, you cannot concentrate on a singular point still. You feel distant still, but not drunk. Everything still feels like it has a buzz. You are ‘in the room’ physically, but mentally, you are trying to claw out of there for no reason whatsoever.

Now, these are just my feeble attempts at trying to get you to imagine what it is like when an anxiety attack kicks in or when you relapse.

It is feeling drunk but being completely sober.

Let me take you on a journey, as best as I possibly can. I am metaphorically going to ‘put you in my shoes’ for a moment. In this scenario, I am going to (to the best of my ability) try and allow you to see through my eyes what its like when anxiety strikes.


Ready? … Good, because I am not.

TRIGGER WARNING

It is a completely normal day. You do not have anything on. It’s a chill day. A Sunday perhaps. Your week hasn’t been to bad either, which is good. You haven’t had any stress that you couldn’t handle. Good. You haven’t got a particularly stressful week coming up either, again, good. At this moment and time, you are completely ‘chill’. Well, as chill as you can be. You are sitting in the living room with your feet up watching the TV or talking with friends and family. You are comfortable around these people. You are comfortable. You feel like you belong, you do not feel out of place or at ‘risk’. You are fine. You are good.

But then… (dramatic music)

As you are sitting there, your heart suddenly thumps your chest. Almost like it’s jumped a beat. It catches you off guard. Okay? Right, no big deal. Then it does it again, and again, again. You are starting to notice it. You can’t help but notice it. You are trying to keep eye contact with the person you are talking to but you cannot ignore what is going on underneath your own skin, so, though your eyes are maintaing contact, you are MILES away. You can feel a cold sweat coming on. You can feel a tremble in your fingers as you hold your coffee cup. You are trying to ignore it. You can see it out of the corner of your eyes. It lasts a moment or two but to you it feels like a life time. Right, it’s over? Okay. Back to reality. You are trying to calm down from what just happened. You wipe your brow and regrip your coffee cup.

But then… (more dramatic music)

You feel a pinch in your chest. It hurts. It’s painful. This is the end you tell yourself. This is the moment I die. I’m having a heart attack. My hearts out of sync. It’s skipping beats. There’s not enough oxygen or blood, there must be a blockage, whatever it is, it’s the end. I am about to embarrass myself (oh yes, I said embarrass) in front of my friends and family by dying via a heart attack. Right here on the living room floor. All of this is happening under the surface but you are maintaining your cool so nobody knows anything is wrong apart from those who truly know you and know the signs. Your eyes are glazed. The cold sweats are back, except you aren’t cold, you are burning up. You’re on fire. The shakes are back. Oh no, I can’t breath. You have a shortness of breath. You are trying to catch a breath that you feel is always out of reach. At this point your body is having a full blown breakdown. You are both freaking out and accepting it at the same time. Guess what? This conversation is still going on. You are still trying to play it cool, apart from the fact some idiot in your head has hit the ‘flight or fight’ button in your head a million times for no reason and you have no idea why. There is NOTHING to be anxious about. Well, guess what? Try telling yourself that! To be honest, it’s either throw your cup of tea up in the air as a distraction and run out of the room and curl up in your duvet away from everyone where you feel ‘comfortable’ (even though you were before) or if you believe the ‘fight response’ punch your dear friend in the face because you know, your body must have dedicated they were about to do something without you realising it first. Ridiculous, right? WRONG. These are the ‘rational’ explanations we try and tell ourselves to understand what is happening because honestly, under the ‘calm’ exterior we are doing this…

WHAT THE FUCK?! WHY?! WHAT?! WHAT’S HAPPENED?! WHO DIED?! WHAT?!

Do you know what it’s like? It’s like when you startle a sleeping dog and they are all of the sudden awake and alert and ready to go (even though they have NO idea what is going on).

Right, where were we? Oh, yeah! So, the ‘fight and flight’ response button in your head has obviously broken and you are sitting there shaking like a drug addict that hasn’t had their fix, coffee cup shaking and everything. Again, you are STILL trying to maintain this conversation because you know if you do not, you could REALLY upset the person you are talking to and if you did that they may get angry and then they will never talk to you again and then once that happens the friendship group falls apart and its all because of you, you, you ruined everything. Why would you do that? (Notice how that rambled on, it’s like that in our heads at a MILLION miles per hour). This is what the part I asked you to imagine earlier comes into play.

Now, at this moment, you are ‘numb’. You are aware of everything that is happening to your body but, you are ‘ignoring it’. In other words, you are numb to it. You are just letting it happen because you know its all you can do. So, again, physically you are still in this living room where you feel perfectly comfortable having a conversation with a close friend but in your head, well, mentally you are GONE. You are far gone. Your mental state has ran out of the living room, straight upstairs, closed the door and hid under the duvet. Following this, the adrenaline that has been released due to your surivival mode kicking in is coursing through your body and making your heart beat fast, your breathing shallow and your head spin like you are the drunkest you’ve ever been. Now you are struggling to concentrate. You are trying to focus on one spot – their eyes, their lips – but as you do, you keep drifting and you cannot control it.

How does this end? Well, you either excuse yourself from the room and go deal with this alone; allow itself to ride out and feel crap and exhausted afterwards; or actually voice how you’re feeling and get help. (The latter is rarely the option chosen).

So, the problem with the previous is that you often come off as rude; distant; vacant; quiet and well, the list goes on. You fall under an umbrella of terms that you do not belong in. That ‘persona’ is a direct cause and effect of ANXIETY. Or, more specifically, an anxiety attack.


To be honest, I’m intrigued at myself for being able to put that into words. It may not be 100% accurate and to be honest, for each and every sufferer, it is different. This is my personal account of how it feels, some what. Sure, it’s a little comedic but if you cannot make fun of it, it is winning and it should never win. I know it is easy to say that and I can hold my hands up and say that 50% of the time, it does have a hold on me and effects me greatly but the other 50% of the time, I have a hold on it.

One thing you should know, if you do not suffer this particular mental illness, it is exhausting. I am in no way implying other mental illnesses are not exhausting, I am just allowing you to know that it is exhausting. It drains you mentally and physically. When adrenaline ‘fuels’ your body like that, you have a come down afterwards and it is not in the slightest pleasant.

Therefore, if you are reading this because you have anxiety and want to know how another person suffers, keep going, you are strong and you can overcome this. If you are reading this because you want to understand somebody with anxiety, this is one person laying themselves bear because hey, it’s good to talk about it. It is difficult, it is EXHAUSTING and soul destroying. We just want you to know something…

We are NOT rude. We are NOT ignoring you. We are NOT doing this conciously.

We ARE fighting battles that you cannot see. We ARE trying our hardest each and every day. We thank you for sticking by us and trying as hard as you are.

Good fighting good people and my lovely readers!

Until next time,

JustGeorgeJ

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Anxiety and It’s Disabling Capabilities

University

Hello Readers,

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post now and I have been juggling university work, job searching and life in general. To be honest, in the past couple of weeks, this anxiety that I suffer from has attempted to rear it’s ugly head back into my life and in the past couple of days, it succeeded. Therefore you can call this moment I’m experiencing, the “relapse”. From the title you can gather I will be talking about anxiety (as usual), but this time (and in more detail) exploring its disabling capabilities.

Whether I’ve explained this before, I cannot remember, but since anxiety has settled itself like a unwelcome visitor in my life, it has continually found ways of rubbing me up the wrong way. Or in other words, found ways to make me pay attention to it.

If that doesn’t make sense, let me go back and explain. Anxiety has a way of affecting you both physically and mentally – as many of us suffers (and non suffers) will understand. The physical affects can range from person to person depending on who you are and the level of which you suffer, e.g. rapid or irregular heartbeat, hyperventilating or shortness of breath, shaking and twitching, light headedness or dizziness and so on and so fourth. The mental affects are racing thoughts, constant feelings of dread, overthinking, negative thoughts etc. Whatever way anxiety decides to manifest within you, it isn’t a pleasant feeling with most suffers saying that when they have an attack, it feels as though they are dying. Which is something I feel all too well.

A lot of these symptoms that are listed above (as long as those that haven’t) are also known as “triggers“. Normally meaning that any of these symptoms can occur and then “trigger” the rest of the anxiety (or panic) attack. Of course, whether you know it or not, anxiety and panic attacks are a cause of the “flight or fight response” in the body. The way I like to think of it, simply, is as a mis-wiring within the body. The “fight or flight response” within the human body is all about basic survival. However, anxiety suffers, our flight or fight fires 100x more than it needs to and within the release of chemicals (such as adrenaline) it triggers the symptoms above. This makes us feel like we are on “vibrate” and as though we need to be running or doing something when all we are doing is sitting in bed and everything is fine. A major problem with suffering from this mental health issue is that it causes us confusion. Humans naturally suffer from a base form of anxiety, e.g. being nervous and unfortunately, we no longer are granted the basic anxiety which helps us. Instead, we are running on overdrive 24/7 for no reason, dealing with irrational and silly thoughts and although we know there is no need to feel this way, it’s difficult to talk yourself out of it, although, not impossible.

This brings me to my journey. Throughout my journey, I have battled throughout a lot of my triggers. It originally started with a rapid heartbeat, that would set me off. Then once I overcame that, it was having a shortness of breath. Defeating that led me to twitching and shaking, I suffered from this a lot. This goes on and on, you get the idea. I am at a point now where I have fought with my anxiety a lot and overcame A LOT. Usually, I relapse badly at least once a month, if not a little longer. This is one of those times. The most recent of these triggers is that of being light headed and feeling nauseated. Badly. Normally, it’s not too bad and it passes easily, however, this time it has decided not to grant me the simple pleasure of having to endure it for a short while. In the past couple of days, it’s completely disabled me in day-to-day life and social situations. I hate it. Ever since early yesterday, it has felt as though the room was spinning. It has felt like, well simply, it has felt like I have vertigo. It seems as though I am unstable and it makes me feel sick to my stomach. Although, it is purely a product of this dreaded anxiety. If I shake my head widely, it does not make me feel sick or dizzy, but, if I sit normally or live my day-to-day life then BOOM! I feel as though I’m about to pass out. Excuse my language but it is completely shit. This has led to me having to miss my girlfriends grandmothers birthday and be in bed for most of the day which makes me feel absolutely horrible. It makes me feel disrespectful, rude and idiotic. It is completely disabling in every way. It is a battle every second. Why do I tell you this? Well, maybe to help me vent or maybe to help you understand that if you are reading this and you suffer as well, you aren’t alone or to let those know that don’t suffer, it is not a choice we make. Our brains are working overtime and the questions never stop; what if I’m out and I faint? what if nobody believes me and they think I am being silly? what if I embarrass myself? And so on. It completely disables you from being able to be a normal human and we want nothing more than for it to stop. We do not choose this.

But hey, all in all, this may just be the next battle I am going to have to face. Just the next step in this journey of an anxious life. It’s shitty but it’s a part of me. However, it will not control me for long. I will overcome this soon.

What Anxiety Actually Is – Reflection

blog, blogs, Drama, help, helpful, justgeorgej, Student, Students, Theatre, uni, University

Hello Readers,

As I previously mentioned JustGeorgeJ is going to begin to focus on Mental Health. Specifically, anxiety. Due to the reason, this is a mental health issue I have dealt with since the end of my Second Year, as previously discussed. Also, I am keeping my promise of having a writing schedule and here I am, Friday’s post! If you missed yesterdays post over on The MA Life, please find it here.

Today’s article is a reflection on a post from ‘Thought Catalogue‘ which I retweeted over on Twitter the other day. The article in question is titled ‘What Anxiety Actually Is, Because It’s More Than ‘Just Worrying’‘. After reading through it, I related to the post and thought I would reflect upon specific areas of the article and share with you as a way of kicking off this new ‘season’ of articles.


What Anxiety Actually Is, Because It’s More Than ‘Just Worrying’ – Reflection

The article kicks off with the following quotation;

“Anxiety is the restless nights of sleep, as you toss and turn. It’s your brain never being able to shut off. It’s the thoughts you over-think before bedtime and all of your worst fears become reality in dreams and nightmares.”

I use this quotation to open the article due to the fact it reminds me of the first night anxiety reared it’s ugly head into my life and then relates to every single night of my life since. The first night it happened, I was laying in the dark in bed when all of the sudden, it felt like someone had flipped my heart into overdrive. Fast forward past the trip to A&E and it was my first truly restless night, I do not believe I really slept that night. I would truly have the tagline of anxiety as “It’s your brain never being able to shut off” if it was my choice. It is like your brain is hooked on adrenaline and it never stops craving it. It is double guessing every decision you have ever made and will ever make. It is overthinking every single word that comes out of your mouth. It is overanalysing everything situation that you face and being able to read another human’s body language in a super detailed way. It is a constant daily struggle.

“Anxiety is that critical voice that says ‘maybe they’re deliberately ignoring you.’ It’s believing every negative scenario you can come up with.”

Personally, I believe, anxiety is like adopting an alternate version of you. This version of you is that critical voice. It is a physical embodiment of every negative part of you from the darkest recesses of your mind and body and if is there to ensure you question EVERYTHING you do in life. It convinces you of the worst and ensures you never forget it. It is the niggle in the back of your head that will ALWAYS drag you back down, even when you think you’ve overcome it.

“Anxiety is apologising for things that don’t even require the words, ‘I’m sorry’.

These are the words that will leave your mouth the most. “I’m sorry.” You’ll often say these words before you have even done anything wrong. You will use them when there is no call for these words to be used. They will be second nature to you. Your number one most used phrase. You’ll let it slip through your slips at the end of every sentence. At the end of every situation. At the end of every bad day, you go through. It will be apologising on before of your anxiety, which by extension, you believe to be you.

“Anxiety is self-doubt and a lack of confidence both in you, yourself and those around you.”

This one is self-explanatory. It is thinking the lowest you could ever think of yourself in every possible situation. It is breaking bonds with people before they even begin because you cannot trust people and ruining the ones that already exist with people. It is consistently thinking you are not good enough.

“Anxiety is ruining relationships before they even begin. It tells you, ‘you’re wrong, they don’t like you, they’re going to leave‘. Then you jump to conclusions and ruin it.

If you were to survey everybody to suffer from anxiety or any mental health disorder, they will all agree on this one. We know we are not easy people to love and we know we are frustrating. We understand that the things we think and do are not normal, that they are silly and trust us, we are not consciously doing them. They automatically programme themselves into us and though we fight, it takes every part of us to be able to change even one thing and then even then, that can leave us exhausted. Therefore, we tell ourselves that our partners can do better and that they should do better and this leads to self-destructive tendencies. Even if we do love the person.

“It’s sweaty palms and a racing heart. But on the outside, no one can see it. You appear calm and at ease and smiling but underneath is anything but that.”

Anxiety is a CONSTANT war ground going on just beneath our skin 24/7. The only thing that changes is how much that war rages on any one given day. Anxiety has a lot of mental symptoms but also a terrifying amount of physical ones. Beating heart. Sweating. Twitches. Racing thoughts. Shaking. Dizziness. Sickness. Weakness. The list goes on. These are always going on (the majority of the time). No one can see it because these symptoms can often be so small to anyone from the outside but on the inside, it feels like our world is collapsing in on itself. We may look ‘okay’ and ‘fine’, but it does not mean that we are. You never know what’s going on, even in these moments.

“It’s friends listening to these conclusions you’ve drawn and not really understanding how you got there. But they’re there trying to support you, as things go from bad to worse in your mind.”

Again, we know that you do not understand how we go there or why we got there in specific situations and conclusions. Trust me, we do not know how either. With our minds racing, we desperately convince ourselves of whatever we have to in order to calm ourselves down, even if it isn’t a rational explanation or conclusion. We appreciate that you are trying, please, bare with us, so are we.

“Anxiety is that voice inside your head that’s saying ‘you’ll fail’.

“Anxiety is procrastination because you’re paralyzed with fear of failing so you hold it off.”

Anxiety is giving up on your passions because you’re convinced you aren’t good enough. It’s not even attempting to give things ago because you know you won’t be good at them. It’s trying but never feeling like you have done good enough. It is studying at university and procrastinating because you don’t want to fail, so, if you don’t do it, you don’t fail. It’s a vicious circle we struggle to get out of and one that we are always fighting whether it be at school, university and work and more.

“Anxiety is the want and the need to control things because it feels like this thing in your life is outside of your control and you have to learn to live with it.”

Anxiety is constantly battling to have a control over everything in your life, in every situation because, at the same time, you feel like you have no control. You feel like everything, even the things that directly affect you, are far out of your hands and there is nothing you can do about them. You want to ALWAYS know what is happening when it is happening, where it is happening and who is going to be there. And plans changing at the last minute, in less you’ve made the decision, is a big no-no.


All in all, this is a brief reflection on the article over on Thought Catalogue and if you haven’t read it, I would strongly suggest you going to read it whether you suffer from anxiety and even if you do not. If you have it, you’ll understand that you are not alone in what you are feeling and if you do not, it’ll help you to understand a little more of how people who suffer from it, work.

Obviously, throughout this reflection, it is my personal views and opinions and what I have taken from suffering from anxiety. I understand that everybody that suffers from anxiety handles things differently and struggle in different ways. But remember, you are not alone.

Thank you for reading, next Friday’s article will explore different ways I personally deal with the anxiety that I suffer and I will also provide other methods that people use.

Until next time,

JustGeorgeJ

Break-Ups

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Good Afternoon Readers,

The topic of today’s entry is something that none of us is a stranger to. Break-ups. That is right, whether they are a healthy (good) break-up or a savage (bad) break-up, this is the topic of today’s conversation and something that we can all relate to. I aim for the entry to cover a vast area regarding break-ups, but, I shall see what happens.