Anxiety for me comes in different forms. It began with my breakdown where I was convinced I needed urgent medical attention and that I was dying. My body felt like it was shutting down and I had no control over myself.
It then turned into being frozen, struggling for breath and feeling very frightened. I needed to stay where I was until it eventually passed and could hardly speak or hear while it happened.
These panic attacks had the same beginnings; overheating, sweating, chest pains, shortness of breath, yawning excessively... I've talked about these panic attacks before in my blog. These were when they were at their worse. Then I started to control it a little better. First with medication, after a few months I had less panic attacks and was able to remain calm while they happened and passed but I still needed to stop what I was doing. I then got to the point where I felt terrible but could manage to continue what I was doing, all be it as a hot mess but this was a huge improvement.
I feel like they haven't happened in a while but I can still get very irritable and feel panicked. Now without medication I've started doing a old habit that I have always thought was just part of my personality. I was quite shy as a child and teenager. I still can be a little now, it depends on who and in what situation. Public speaking has never been my thing either. In fact sometimes speaking one-to-one in a conversation can make me nervous and I'm very conscious that I speak quietly and I'm often not heard but a lot of people.
Have you experienced starting a conversation and then realised you can't get your words out or feel someone is looking at you a little strangely or judging what you're saying? I've noticed in this situation my speech really speeds up and I have no idea what's going to come out of my mouth! It's like I sound excited but inside I'm panicking and after I stop rambling on I feel embarrassed and will either go quiet or continue to talk about nothing while I'm telling myself "just stop talking!" I don't think this is a panic attack but I do think it is anxiety.
It's possible I've had anxiety longer than I knew or that I am naturally an anxious person. Although I can be quite laid back I've always been a worrier. I've always been socially awkward too! So it's hard to know whether mental illness has heightened my personality trait or whether I have developed anxiety. To be honest the label doesn't matter to me. I know I'm anxious and that is enough for me. It's irrelevant if I have anxiety, it's more important to know how I feel, what it affects in my daily life and what I can do about it. If it becomes uncontrollable I know that my medication helped but for now I'll just be the awkwardly, strange one in conversations.... afterall that is how people know me!