21 Jun Anxiety within a start up business and a human being.
This is one of my harder posts to write, it removes the elusion of any calm and confident mask I wear and simply explains to people what its like running a business and functioning as a human being when faced with crippling anxiety attacks which can send the greatest of days in to a emotional straightjacket of despair. I hate it when it happens and I want to share how I have learnt to deal with it and who you should contact if you’re dealing with it too. This post is not for any pity or any round of applause like ‘Well done you for getting on with life’ type of situation. I want to use this post to raise awareness and let people know, if you think you have it, get it checked out!
There’s lots of posts (more recently) about what anxiety actually is so I won’t delve in to it too much but the best way I can describe it is initially a feeling of discomfort such as ‘I do not want to be here right now’ the feeling then seems to strengthen to the point of ‘ I can not be here right now’. After this point, my body starts to join in with the thoughts, palms sweat, heart rate increases and on a good day I can slow my breathing with great difficulty. This very quickly changes from a mental flaw to a physical challenge and it’s not only incredibly uncomfortable for myself but for those who know me well enough to see that I am experiencing it.
2/3 people suffer with anxiety without being treated. I was lucky enough to be referred by my doctor to free NHS counselling then cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in order to not ‘remove’ the anxiety but instead address, accept and prevent any episodes and ensure I did not alter my behaviour to avoid any situations i.e. Choosing to avoid walking through the park incase I saw something I didn’t like.
The odd thing about anxiety is it is completely unique and personal despite 1 in 10 people in the uk having a disabling anxiety order at some point in their life for example… I am completely happy to stand in front of a crowd of people, talk about the darkest failures of my business career and even unwittingly share a joke or two BUT… put me in front of one or two people in a social situation and ask me to make small talk and I crumble to pieces. I hate it.
However, until I completed my CBT, something much more simple used set off an attack and it sounds silly now… Ticking clocks. As dark as it sounds, they keep reminding me of the fragility of life and the seconds falling away until I ultimately check out. What if I never work out the purpose behind this carbon based existence? What if I die and thats it? What if I have regrets on my final breath? I get how insane this sounds, I really do. But it’s what I genuinely feel and I couldn’t deal with or understand it. This is where a lot of my unquenchable desire for growth/success came from.
Below, I have copied in my final session’s notes for you to openly read. I wonder how many people these thoughts resonate with? I’d be curious to know as I am pretty sure I am not alone on this one.
This post was probably some form of final therapy on my part, giving myself permission to move on from it all. However, CBT has changed my life in just 6 short sessions and I would incredibly urge anyone who even thinks they may be suffering from anxiety to speak to their doctor, it’s dead simple and well worth it.
Writing and speaking about it also definitely helps.
For more info check these guys out: