Macclesfield Town are committed to playing our part in breaking the stigma surrounding mental health and as such, we are pleased to unveil a new series of articles which explores some of the most poignant aspects of what is an incredibly important subject.
We start off by taking a look at anxiety.
Statistics suggest that one in four people in England and Wales will experience some form of mental health problem each year.
In England, one in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.
Every seven years a survey is done in England to measure the number of people who have different types of mental health problems. It was last published in 2016 and reported that the most prevalent of these is generalised anxiety disorder which is said to affect almost six people per hundred.
Anxiety is a universal experience and is a natural human response when it is perceive that we are under threat.
The form that this takes varies from individual to individual and only becomes a problem when the severity or frequency of it becomes more than the individual can comfortably tolerate.
This then gives rise to issues such as worries becoming out of proportion to the situation, avoiding situations that may trigger anxiety and regularly experiencing symptoms of anxiety.
These symptoms can be wide-ranging, with those experienced largely bespoke to the individual.
The symptoms elicited by anxiety can be split into physical and emotional complaints.
In terms of the physical manifestations of anxiety, this can affect almost any part of the body and any system contained within it.
The most common physical symptoms include -
* a churning feeling in your stomach
* feeling light-headed or dizzy
* aches and pains
* heart palpitations
* problems sleeping
* experiencing panic attacks, which can be terrifying in themselves.
Anxiety can also have a devastating affect on our minds and this forms the emotional symptoms of the complaint.
The most common emotional symptoms include -
* feeling tense, nervous or unable to relax
* having a sense of dread, or constantly fearing the worst
* feeling that other people can sense your anxiety
* rumination - thinking a lot about bad experiences, or constantly thinking about a certain situation.
* depersonalisation - feeling disconnected from your mind and body, or like you're watching someone else.
* derealisation - feeling disconnected from the world around you, or like the world isn't real.
* wanting lots of reassurance from other people or worrying that people are upset with you.
As a result of all of the above, anxiety can have a massive impact on how you deal with normal day-to-day tasks and life in general.
For some, this can incorporate holding down a job, forming or maintaining relationships, paying bills and simply enjoying life.
In many cases, anxiety itself is a symptom and not a diagnosis in it's own right. Therefore, anxiety can accompany a whole range of physical and psychological conditions.
The critical point here is that it is absolutely essential that the prevalence of anxiety is recognised by the individual.
Once this is the case, then there is a range of options available to you in order to combat the effects of anxiety.
The first is to consult your GP in the first instance, as they have the ability to prescribe both drug treatments and psychological treatments (including cognitive behaviour therapy).
Don't be afraid to make that first step to seek professional advice about anxiety - it is a common complaint which GPs help people with every single day.
You may think that your situation is so severe that it renders you as being "beyond help" and conversely you may brush it off as something which will just pass.
In both these scenarios and everything in between, it is crucial to seek advice and not suffer in silence.
In addition to this, there are numerous things which you can do in terms of self-help.
These include -
* talking to someone you trust
* looking after your physical health
* trying breathing exercises
* keeping a diary
* listening to uplifting music which means something to you
We appreciate that the above is quite a lot of information to digest, but if you are to take one thing from this article then let it be this - no matter if you have suffered with anxiety for five minutes or fifty years, it is a very treatable illness and you don't have to suffer in silence with it.
You are on our side and we are on yours - for more information, please visit the designated pages on anxiety within Mind's website here.