16 symptoms of anxiety that no-one tells you about

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  • Juliette Burton, 30, is an award-winning actress, writer and comedy performer.

    She also, along with many other people in the UK, lives with symptoms of anxiety. With recent stats from Mind revealing that four fifths of 18 to 34 year olds put on a brave face when they are anxious, it’s becoming more important than ever to understand anxiety and how those affected cope.

    Image: Alexis Dubus Photography

    Juliette is an award-winning actress, and shares her experiences with anxiety in her stand-up routines

    Here, Juliette explains the things no-one tells you about anxiety:

    1. When people tell you to breathe, you laugh at them and say ‘Of course I know how to breathe!’ then realise as you take a deep breath that actually maybe you don’t.

    2. You try meditation and realise it’s really hard; I mean, who has the time to inhale air and exhale air?! Do you really need to take in that much oxygen? Really!?

    3. Leaving the house gets your heart rate going more than Benedict Cumberbatch.

    4. You’re sometimes hit suddenly by a feeling of nausea and light-headedness, and you haven’t just seen Benedict Cumberbatch.

    5. You get pains in your middle like you’ve been playing in the Rugby World cup and an All Black has just kneed you in the stomach.

    6. You pace up and down so much you’ve worn away your very own runway into your carpet.

    7. Sitting down and being still is the worst, like THE WORST, and nobody else seems to get it.

    8. When people say ‘Calm down’ you want to grab them and shout ‘WHY DO YOU SPEAK THIS ALIEN LANGUAGE TO ME? DON’T YOU THINK I WOULD’VE CALMED DOWN IF I COULD CALM DOWN BY NOW?! DO YOU KNOW HOW DEEPLY UNHELPFUL THAT IS?!!’ Which, you know, might not be the most helpful thing to do either.

    9. You can’t sleep. It happens so often you go on Twitter to proclaim how insomnia is the best and make loads of new Twitter friends who all live in Australia.

    10. It might be cold but you suddenly feel really hot, your palms are sweaty and are confused as to why. This may often happen at night. And Benedict Cumberbatch is unfortunately not in bed with you.

    11. You forget what it feels like to wake up ‘refreshed’ and start resenting those perky smug gits who are ‘morning people’.

    12. You, erm, well, you have trouble with, well, you know… *whispers* toilet stuff. Oh come on! I’m British! We don’t talk about things like IBS! But we’re gonna have to start…

    13. Little things, like how you can’t get your hair to be exactly right, suddenly become The Most Important Thing In The World Or I Will Die.

    14. You find one of the only things that helps is when you cry*. Really cry. And don’t stop crying until you need to**.

    15. *The reason for crying is not always important, just the fact that you’re feeling real feelings and not shutting them away. If you need to cry because you’ve just remembered that Benedict Cumberbatch is now married, go for it. It might be more helpful than you realise.

    16. **For friends and family of those who might have anxiety: Saying ‘Don’t cry’ is akin to saying ‘Calm down’ – not the most helpful. Let people cry; it’s good for them.

    Think you or someone you know might be experiencing symptoms of anxiety? Text ‘ANXIETY’ to 70660 to receive a free copy of your Mind guide to stress and anxiety.

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