I haven’t been posting as much as I’d like on here, but I know that my absence is in good faith. For the past three weeks, I’ve been on “high alert,” as I like to call it, due to circumstances out of my control.

As a person who has G.A.D, I usually find myself in this state when I’m in a new situation, a new (or triggering) environment or in the presence of others. Funnily enough, within three weeks, I was in all of these conditions, so I’m not surprised that my anxiety went through the roof. I’ve been so sensitive to my surroundings that my initial reaction was to just cocoon and let the world continue in the background, but I had responsibilities…

It started with my baby shower, and even though I was surrounded by people that love and support me, I was still anxious. I wish I could pinpoint WHY I felt this way but I can’t – my body just automatically felt like I was going to be in some danger, so I started showing physical symptoms (sweating & fast heart rate) even though there was nothing to worry over. I chalked it up to my pregnancy when others noticed, but I did confide in my husband and best friend.

The following weekend I had family obligations in Montreal. Montreal, for me, is a triggering environment since the majority of my trauma happened in this city. Luckily for me, I was only in town for a day, but that doesn’t negate the fact that my anxiety increased and fear set in. I was in the city to say goodbye to my beloved Grandmother who passed on earlier this year, so when I was becoming emotionally withdrawn, I was able to chalk this one up to my grievance. I saw family that I hadn’t seen in years, and even though it was nice to see them again, all I wanted to do was go back home.
As soon as we were on the road heading back to Toronto, a lot of my emotional and behavioural symptoms were subsiding, so I figured I would quickly feel better.

I didn’t immediately.

Now that I’m on my third week feeling like this, I started to look up my symptoms. It turns out, this is called “Hypervigilance” and is quite common for people with Anxiety, PTSD and Schizophrenia.

Here are some of the common triggers:

  • feeling trapped or claustrophobic
  • feeling abandoned
  • hearing loud noises (especially if they’re sudden or emotionally charged), which can include yelling, arguments, and sudden bangs
  • anticipating pain, fear, or judgment
  • feeling judged or unwelcome
  • feeling physical pain
  • feeling emotional distress
  • being reminded of past traumas
  • being around random, chaotic behaviours of others

so, what can you do if you find yourself in these situations?

  • I would talk to your doctor or therapist first so they can help with treatment. If you’re in a situation like me where you can’t take medication – the best thing you can do is be mindful.
  • Remember to take deep breaths (I have some breathing videos saved on my phone for these situations)
  • Before reacting to anything, pause and reflect. Taking this small step can help avoid any further issues or symptoms that you are feeling
  • Acknowledge how you feel NOW and remind yourself that you won’t feel this way forever.

I’m on the path to feeling better, but I think that everything is amplified due to my pregnancy.
I tried to take my mind off of things yesterday by organizing the nursery, but that just brought me into a hormonal cry over hanging up baby dresses next to my full-length ones. To be fair though, I’m crying over commercials that I see on T.V anyways!
I don’t have any more obligations to attend for the remainder of the month, so I’m hoping with this “time off” that I can recharge and get back to my old self.

My husband and I got back from an exciting and much-needed vacation. We ended up going to one of our favourite countries, Mexico and ended up staying one week in an all-inclusive. Usually, when I go away, I try to limit my phone use, since I rarely have my husband all to myself I try to bask in each moment. Since I’m also a freelancer, I know that I do need to check my professional e-mails for potential clients – I will log in each morning, but no longer than half an hour. The rest of the day I lock it away and spend quality time with my husband.

As we walked around our resort, I was astonished to see that the majority of vacationers were glued to their phones. People who are trying to get away and spend time with their loved ones are doing the exact opposite. Reading articles, listening to music, even face timing someone back home was amongst the things that I observed. I also witnessed one woman grab her caseless IPad into the party pool to snap a picture. (I kept thinking in my head, why not enjoy the moment?) I can understand that it might be tough to put down your phone, but I never felt that we as a society were THAT addicted to them! Unfortunately, this vacation just proved that we are.

I notice when I limit my phone usage, I’m less anxious. I’m not worrying about the perfect instragramable photo, the witty Facebook post or liking that political tweet. I know that I need this break in my life so that I can recharge and live in the moment. I’m glad that I did, I was more sociable with my husband, and we met another incredible couple from Ireland (Gemma, we’ll be there I promise!)

I think a lot more people would be happier and less stressed if they put their phone down. Look up and notice what’s happening around you. I urge you all to try – especially on vacation when you want to soak in all of those moments with your loved ones.

When my husband and I started dating, he didn’t understand what anxiety was. I tried my best to communicate with him what exactly was going on in my head, but even that thought alone would cause me to stay silent. No one ever understood what I was going through and whenever I did try to open my mouth, I was shot down by several people. It was exhausting, so, I just stopped engaging. I kept that fake smile on for so long that even when an intimate partner wanted to break me free, I immediately couldn’t. It was frustrating on both of our parts.

Over the years, I have tried to jot down my ideas on my anxiety – hoping that others could take away at least some knowledge of an anxious mind.

  • Anxiety & worrying are entirely different from one another.
    It’s normal for people to worry from time to time about finances, health, etc. but with GAD these worries are constant. It feels as if your suffocating within yourself, others call it drowning.
  • Even though I look normal or OK on the outside, my anxiety is wreaking havoc. I can’t just stop or turn it off; this is not a choice. Anxiety is an illness, and you can’t get over mental illness
  • I’m not overreacting. I’m not dramatic. I’m not ridiculous. I’m reacting to something that is attacking me from the inside, and I cannot escape from it. All the logic in the world cannot deter an attack.
  • I don’t always know why I get anxious and even a simple task can be overwhelming for me at times. I don’t need you to look at me like I’m crazy and say I’m irrational – I need someone to be compassionate.
  • I will always need to recharge after a long work week, an extroverted night out or an unexpected confrontation. This has nothing to do with you but everything to do with me. I will not be myself unless I’m 100%

Always in an emergency state

I’m sure that I’ll be adding to my list as the years go on but are there any points that YOU would like others to know about your anxiety?

Add them in the comments below!