So you know when you’re really nervous for something? You’re giving a presentation, going on a first date, or about to go on a thrill-seeking rollercoaster. Fair enough the last one of the 3 has an excited element, but those butterflies flying around in your stomach are still there right?
It’s familiar to most of us, and is a natural response to fear. It’s the adrenaline hitting your beta receptors, speeding up your heart rate pushing the caveman or cavewoman version of yourself into fight or flight.
It’s justified for a lot of people, and biologically needed now and again (not that we have much need for running away from terrifying predators anymore) and a lot of people can rationalise this feeling, they know the feeling will go after the anticipated event. You’ve just got to get through it.
But some amongst us have this churning of aggressive little winged bugs in our stomach on a day to day basis.
The pounding of your heart making you think you genuinely may drop dead. And me, a registered nurse who works in cardiology knows this isn’t the case. I don’t have an arrhythmia (irregular heart beat). Nor are the stabbing pains across your chest the indication of a massive Myocardial Infarction (heart attack).
But my irrational brain workings often won’t let me see in such clarity.
For nearly a decade now this has been a regular feeling for me, and of late, on a day-to-day basis. And the best part of it is, a lot of the time I have no idea why! Nor am I in a life threatening or completely nerve racking situation where this feeling is justified.
The human brain and body is fantastic eh!
My beautiful brain has been great to me. It got me some great GCSE’s and A-levels. It got me two bachelors degrees. One of those being a first class honours degree.
It works with me everyday; to keep patients safe, to plan their care, assess if they are on the correct medications, if the doctor may have missed something, and being with patients and their families through the most difficult times.
But along with all this, my brain loves to work against me.
It LOVES to read into every situation and see it in a daunting and negative light.
Off the top of my head things such as, someone says “you’re hair looks nice, why did you decide to change it?” Queue the feeling of dread whilst my mind shouts “they don’t like it, they think you’ve done something stupid and you look stupid, they preferred it before, now everyone is going to be laughing at you.”
Or, jokes, banter, a bit of sarcasm. And believe me i give as good as I get, it’s the main way me and my friends communicate. But that inner niggle in my brain says “they’re being serious you know, they really think you’re a joke.”
There are many other occasions and events that get my brain making bubbles. I’d love to list some more but them winged bastards are having a right fit in my stomach and chest at the moment so I’m going to leave it for now. But I can always keep you updated!
It stops me doing things I want to do, it strains my relationships, with family, friends and it’s apparently the reason my long term boyfriend decided to finish me over text message, with his families support, because they couldn’t get their head round it.
It’s debilitating. And it’s called Anxiety.
Yes everyone gets anxious, it’s part of being human. But not everyone has their lives tested by it every single day.
It nearly won recently. But, I’m the winner really, because I’m gonna kick them butterflies up the arse. Only my stomach ones, I’m completely against aggressive behaviour towards butterflies (the high brown fitillary butterfly has declined by 94% since the 40’s, so please don’t kick them).
25% of people are estimated to be affected by mental health problems. 1 in 4. That’s a lot.
Always be mindful of other people. Talk, or don’t talk. Ask people if they’re okay. Distract people, make someone smile. You never know what’s rattling around in their head.