Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Anxiety and Exercise

I've just read our darling Drazil's post about her anxiety and recent panic attack, I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about mine a little bit.  It's not always easy to explain the anxiety, in no small part because so much of it is terribly irrational.

My anxiety makes every day difficult.  It makes everyday tasks difficult.  It makes living my life difficult.  By the end of my degree this time next year, I will have spent 5 years and 2 gap years to get through a 3 year degree.  It is so hard for me to go to my classes.  I can usually manage the lectures where there are lots of people and no one's looking at you or expecting anything of you, but the seminars made up of about 15 people are almost impossible for me.  They're also compulsory.

My anxiety makes it nearly impossible to get and/or keep a job.  I have to overcome so much to even apply for a job, I certainly couldn't make a phone call to a potential employer.  Then to get to an interview usually takes more than I have.  I have had jobs, several since I was 18, a moment of extreme boldness has got them for me, but rarely have I been able to keep them for more than a few months.  Usually I spent lunch breaks crying, chain smoking, desperately calling my mum begging for help.  The last job I had was at the end of 2010, I went on a break one day and just couldn't make myself go back in.  My legs just wouldn't carry me back in there.  Instead I found myself at the bus stop, then on the bus, then in my bed where I stayed for three days crying.  This terrifies me.  If I can't overcome this, how the hell am I going to make money, how am I going to live.  I can only just get by at the moment with my student loan and help from my mum.

I could let my anxiety get in the way of my workouts.  There are some days where I just can't leave the house.  I just sometimes don't have the courage.  I spend a lot of time on my sofa.  My gym is only a 15 minute walk away, but it sometimes feels too much to get there, stay there, and get back.  Too many people to encounter, what if I suddenly freak out or have a panic attack in front of everyone.  It's horrible to be confined to my flat, but if I'm going to be, I'm still going to get my workout in.  I do step aerobics at home, I do a resistance routine of squats and crunches and lunges and bicep curls etc, I do Jillian, I jog on the spot.  I've just borrowed some more exercise dvds from my sister, including Zumba ones.  Good to have the variety.

So today, despite it being a day where I couldn't make it to the gym, I did 60 very sweaty minutes of cardio and strength and was very proud of myself.  I'm not going to let my anxiety prevent my mission for fitness, because honestly, fitness is what I want most out of all of this.  I remember before surgery, I was so much less mobile than I'd ever been in my life.  I was 23, and couldn't walk without stabbing pains in my legs.  So mobility, freedom to move is my mission. x


  1. Oh sweetie...I could have written this post (or one very much like it) several years ago. I actually quit a job one time because I was working at home and my new boss wanted me to come in for a face to face meeting and I just couldn't deal with it so I gave my resignation. There are a couple of things that have helped me...therapy and medication. I was in therapy for several years and have been on medication (anti-depressants for a while and now klonopin for the anxiety attacks). The main thing that I learned through therapy is how to recognize when an attack is coming and how to make myself relax enough to get through it. That said, when I'm going into a situation where I KNOW I will have problems (job interview, meeting at work), I take my medication ahead of time so I'm prepared. My suggestion would be to talk to your doctor...it really can help.

  2. you and me both Mari! many times luch or break is when I would make my great escape and never go back... I could always get a job on the phone and manage to really shine during interviews but then wa waa waaaaaaah it would fizzle out and be like hell everyday just needing to leave or just no way in hell I could go in, I could drive all the way there and then just sit in my car then leave go home being so hard on myself for not just being normal, but I have to say now I am a stay at home mom and the not having to go to a job is such a big weight lifted, but I still have many other places I need to go and it takes days of putting stuff off to finally just get myself out the door, it is hard so hard I understand totally! I am agoraphobic I take ativan and I have just decided to accept myself the way I am (mentally) because I found I was stressed and anxious about having agoraphobia and anxiety I would beat myslef up about it, now I just do what I can, and try to just go with the flow and I have found it is so much less stressfull.......and I too am on a mission, even if I have to get my exercise at home I will not let my axiety mess this up...

  3. Oh babe...I'm so sorry. I understand and I so hope you can find a med that makes life easier for you. Can you check into therapy too? I think that's my next step too! Good luck hun.

  4. I'm so sorry to hear you struggle with this, Mari. I do as well, wish I knew how to put it into words, maybe I'll try next time I blog.

  5. Anxiety can be as debilitating as any physical ailment, but most people don't understand this. I am sorry you struggle with it so bad. Thinking of you.....

  6. Read my very first post on my blog... My psych diagnosed me with some damn stress anxiety disorder... I freak out about getting lost.

    I think we are all a bit off in some way or another. So don't feel alone, your not