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What It's Really Like #Growing Up With Anxiety

When #Growingupwithanxiety started trending the world of Twitter jumped on the bandwagon. On one hand you had people sharing their innermost experiences of anxiety, while others talked about getting nervous giving presentations. But what is it really like growing up with anxiety?

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1. It's completely exhausting having your thoughts whizz through your head at 100mph

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Anxiety isn't about being a bit nervous before a class presentation. It's constant whirling thoughts which may be themed around one thing in particular (like fear of embarrassing yourself or a fear of open spaces) or generalised anxious thoughts about everything and anything.

The point is they happen faster than you can cope with and seem impossible to stop.

2. Anxiety is a physical condition as well as a mental health condition.

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Anxiety has a huge number of physical effects on your body and it can make you feel like your body doesn't belong to you anymore because it's so out of control. For people with health anxiety, this can be especially difficult.

3. Anxiety may introduce you to her friends: depression and shame

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Constantly battling to get through everyday with anxiety makes you more vulnerable to depression and shame because anxious thoughts use up all your coping resources.

4. Your experience of the same situation is highly different to everybody else's

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Anxiety can make you feel hyper - alert; you notice every single thing going on around you and every single one of your senses is heightened and you feel petrified.

Or anxiety can make you feel completely spaced out and distant from everything around you: in psychiatry this is called depersonalisation.

5. Panic attacks can make you feel like you are going to die

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Panic attacks are horrible bodily responses to severe anxiety which can cause heart palpitations, sweating, chest pain, shaking, tingling and a whole host of nasty symptoms.

Although they rarely last more than 4 minutes a sufferer can genuinely feel like they are going to die during a panic attack. Some people find breathing into a paper bag can be helpful.

6. Growing up with anxiety means always jumping to the worst conclusion possible

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Our brains aren't always rational when we have anxiety. Despite all the evidence suggesting we will pass this exam/get into university/find somebody to go to the Prom with, we always picture the worst thing happening. And then we picture it being even worse than that

We might irrationally worry about dying young or getting sick when we grow up.

7. Missing out on things as a teenager

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A big part of growing up is trying new things, making mistakes and having your friends there to muddle through with together. But anxiety can become so severe that you're too scared to try new things or you may have a phobia which makes leaving the house difficult.

When you continue to avoid the things you're afraid of, your fear tends to get worse and it becomes a cycle.

8. Less free time

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If you suffer from anxiety, you may have to attend therapy appointments or see your GP. Although this is incredibly beneficial and highly recommended, it does mean that you may have less time for homework, seeing friends and your hobbies.

9. You spend more time living in the future than you do in the present

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When you suffer from anxiety, you spend more time worrying about what might happen, what has happened, rather than what is happening.

You may worry about how you will cope with your anxiety in the future, at work or at university and hope that you will have found a way to manage by then.

10. Remembering that there is hope..

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It's completely normal to feel anxious at certain times, but if anxiety is ruining your life, things can and do get better.

Therapy, self - help resources, medication, mindfulness, exercise and taking good care of yourself can help make things much more manageable. Always see your GP or a counsellor if you have concerns about your mental health.

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