A note from George

A few weeks ago I was asked a few questions about my anxiety, now immediately I thought, great! However, upon answering the questions I was completely stuck with what to say. This happened very recently when I was talking to someone over a coffee and they merely asked me, 'What is anxiety?' and I was about to speak confidently about it, but became lost for words and had no idea exactly what it is, I ended up rambling. Because really, anxiety is a kaleidoscope of symptoms. Anyway.. the questions I answered are below, and explain what I feel and what others may feel, especially in regards to the social media.
1. Please tell me about your anxiety (including how long, it's impact, where it stems from/when it started)?

I’ve had anxiety all of my life, especially whilst I was attending primary school, however, it settled down whilst studying at secondary school. Near the end of my time at school I became a bit silly, unaware, and foolish at the time and tried drugs because my friends did. The affect this had on me was cataclysmic, and so crippled me for the further 3 years ahead. This resulted in probably the most dramatic change of my life. I completely cut myself off from all of my then friends. I attended college but was on the wrong course and didn’t enjoy it. I don’t think this helped my anxiety at the time. None the less, it got me out the house and I was socially interacting with people at college. It was incredibly difficult and I would almost fall into a panic attack at the slightest change I felt physically (heart beat increasing, feeling hot, losing breath). But all of this change was the best thing I believe. I moved on, changed my daily routine and focused my mind fully on starting my own business which is now Maison de Choup. 
2. Do any of the following leave you feeling anxious?
A. Finding a job/having a career
No. I’m currently working on my own business and excited to see what the future holds.
B. Rent prices and/or getting on the property ladder and/or having to live with parents due to your financial situation
C. Pressure to go to university and succeed academically

D. Social media/technology
Sometimes. I find these days social media and technology is at the heart of the problem when it comes to young individuals anxiety, on certain days I live in a constant state of anxiety worrying about whether someone will reply to me or not, it occasionally makes me lose complete focus, I feel this is the same with a lot of young people. With Instagram and Twitter so intensely used on a day to day basis, people may feel depressed because their photo on Instagram didn’t get enough likes, or their tweet didn’t get enough retweets, the quick rush of adrenaline when this happens seems to determines peoples moods.
3. Why do you think our generation is more prone to anxiety than older generations?
I believe technology and the speed of everything these days is the catalyst of anxiety, it’s not all to blame but I believe it plays a big role, because we are so dependent on our mobile devices and social media, we create problems for ourselves. As ridiculous as it sounds, I sometimes get in a state choosing what photo to post on Instagram, having said that, it doesn’t affect me if people don’t like it. A recent article in GQ on how to be happy wrote “We’ve become slaves to social interaction - it’s why we’re addicted to email, why we get excited when we get likes on Facebook or RTs on Twitter. Dopamine fills us with anticipation and makes us constantly seek things out, to get things we want. Digital notifications fulfil this immediately, constantly rewarding us. Dopamine rewards unpredictability, so when we suddenly get emails or Twitter favourites, we feel good. And constantly checking for these little presents can actually cause low-level stress. So, when we don’t get what we want, our likes and RTs, we become worried, anxious, maybe even depressed and question why people haven’t liked my photo, am I ugly? don’t people like my lunch? etc. But we have now got to a stage where taking this away from ourselves also has the same affect, if you try telling someone to ‘take a break from social media’ they may leave it a day, but their mood will drop, they won’t know what to do with themselves, and they will feel ‘lost without it’. What chance does one have if either way affects us?
4. Do you find you drink more alcohol on nights out when feeling anxious? 
I don’t tend to go on nights out drinking (mainly because I am on medication), so no, but when I was younger I used to go to parties and get drunk, however, one weekend I did this I found that the next morning I felt awful, almost like I was impending doom and I had no idea why, (before I was diagnosed) this was three days prior to visiting CAHMS, it seem to have come at the right time. Upon being told there was a 40 week waiting list, luckily my parents were in a position to pay for me to go privately. But what happens to people who aren’t in this position?
5. If you do binge drink, does it leave you feeling more anxious? 
N/A, answered above.
6. How old are you and what do you do (for a living or study or unemployed)?
I am currently 19 years old and I have now found the confidence to start a fashion label called Maison de Choup, which I run on a day-to-day basis. I started MdC about a year ago during the dark days of spring in 2014, by this time I had now left college and wasn’t doing anything, but with the therapy I was getting from my Psychiatrist, I began to realise that I needed something to do to occupy my mind and take myself away from the thoughts inside my head. Thus leading to the creation of Maison de Choup, it originally started as a small t-shirt business but has grown into some very exciting indeed, my aim is to now inspire other young anxiety sufferers that they can get through their darkest times and do something incredible. I am still working part-time at Sainsburys, to fund my venture, even though this is incredibly dull, it helps focus my mind. 

©gdh ©mdc 2015

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