Why do we first suffer from anxiety?
I regularly come across people who are bewildered and cannot understand why they suddenly started to feel constantly anxious. When asked why I usually reply with “Well have you been under a period of stress recently?”
They reply with such things as, “Well, my mother has been ill recently; my partner left me six months ago, my daughter has just left home and I lost my job a couple of months ago”. It is only when I ask them this question that they realise the stress they have been under for the last few months and that all of this stress has taken its toll on the mind and body.
If you look at your own anxious feelings then you will be able to trace it back to a cause. Are you a worrier by nature? Do you always expect life to go how you want it to and get stressed if it doesn’t? Do you expect others to behave how you want them to and get worried and stressed if they don’t act or behave how you think they should? Have you been through some life-changing event recently like the passing of someone close, a marriage break up or a loss in employment? Are you overstretching yourself at work or at home at the minute and not having enough downtime? We have to realise that anxiety is created, it is not something we just get for no reason like a cold.
What I had was a nervous breakdown due to numerous reasons, I was partying too hard, hardly sleeping and was a constant worrier. Looking back I realise why I was partying too hard, I was trying to switch off my overactive mind and not face how I felt and the end result of this was inevitable.
Why do our mind and body break down?
A breakdown basically occurs because your mind and body can only take so much. When you are going through a prolonged period of stress and worry, your body cannot cope, so it breaks down. It was not built or designed for what you have been putting it through. It has reached breaking point and has said enough is enough.
This may lead to feelings of anxiousness, panic, detachment and many other symptoms. It does not matter what the symptoms are, it is your body saying “I can take no more”. This is where the word breakdown comes in because that is really all it is. Just like a car will break down if you run it beyond its capabilities or don’t look after it, then so will your mind and body.
Now all your mind and body is asking for is a rest and time to rejuvenate itself. Do we give it this time? No! Through no fault of our own, we then worry and stress about these symptoms, we may worry that we are going crazy and start a pointless battle to get rid of these feelings.
This puts more worry and strain on our already tired and overworked mind and body and so we then usually begin to feel worse, so we fight and worry even more and it is at this point we usually find ourselves in the full anxiety cycle.
Understanding the cycle of anxiety
Well, I think you can now see the cycle we get into and why these symptoms persist. This is exactly what I did for all those years while I suffered. In fact, I was worrying because I had been ill so long and my days were filled with fighting and worry. Looking back, it seems crazy that I did not recognise the cycle I was in or how I thought I could feel better through worrying and fighting.
Through my understanding of anxiety and the knowledge I gained, I was able to reverse this habit of fighting and worrying and give up this constant battle I had with myself. I understood that what my mind and body needed was a break, but in my desperation to escape I was creating more of the problem I was trying to be free of.
One day I just accepted that, OK, this is me now. I actually understand why I feel like this. I have created my own suffering and kept myself in this cycle, there is no outside force doing this to me; there is nothing to defeat or fix. I just need to give my mind and body a rest.
I need to stop trying to make myself feel better; to stop trying to feel different than I do and just live alongside these feelings. When I give up this battle with myself, then my mind and body will heal itself. It never needed nor wanted my constant interference.
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