Mental health awareness week is in its 22nd year in 2022, this year's theme is loneliness, and how to combat it. Loneliness affects everyone from time to time but can have a huge impact on our mental and physical health. Severe and long term loneliness can lead to many other problems and lead to a negative spiral.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is what we feel when we are panicked, worried, or afraid. It's a natural human response and can show itself in many ways.
Everyone has some experience with anxiety, no matter how big or small the reaction you have had. However, it becomes a mental health problem when it affects your ability to fully live life. I’m guilty of being that person and not admitting to myself that I suffered from anxiety.
Anxiety affects all types of people for different reasons. In the UK, approximately 1 in 5 women suffer from anxiety and 1 in 8 men. In 2016, there were more than 8 million cases of anxiety in the UK according to Clinical Partners.
When I first had a panic attack, I didn't fully understand what was happening and I ignored it. Then I had another… and another. This led to feeling panicked and nauseous all the time. I would become so ill that I couldn't keep food down. Having anxiety about a lot of things in life became a new normal for me.
I’ve always prided myself on my independence and the fact I enjoy my own company. However looking back, this was an excuse for secluding myself and avoiding talking to anyone. As difficult as it has been, and continues to be, I have been able to learn from it.
Now, I actively work to understand and manage my anxiety. I still suffer from it and understand it will always be a part of my life but in some ways, I am grateful as it has taught me a lot about myself and helped me grow too.
Mental health is an important topic and luckily we have easy access to information, help and support.
Talking with friends and family is easier said than done so there are many charities set up to contact anonymously. If you are unsure where to begin, you should speak to your GP., but some other helpful resources include:
- Samaritans is a 24/7 line dedicated to supporting those going through a difficult time & those worried about a loved one. You can chat with them directly on 116 123.
- Anxiety UK supports anyone with anxiety, phobias, panic attacks or other anxiety disorders. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 08444 775 774.
- No Panic offers emotional support and information on anxiety disorders & medication