What is anxiety?

Anxiety is the mental and physical reaction that we experience when we perceive a threat. In small doses, it protects us from danger and helps us make smart decisions. But in extreme cases, such as following a trauma or mood imbalance, the symptoms of anxiety can ruin our ability to perform everyday tasks.

Some of these symptoms include uncontrollable worrying, difficulty sleeping, bodily aches and pains, increased heart rate, upset tummy, excessive sweating, trouble concentrating, memory lapses, and avoidance of stressful or difficult situations.

Anxiety grows when we try to avoid things that set it off: that immediate sense of relief we get from avoiding feeling anxious can be addictive, but unfortunately it often worsens the underlying causes.

So anxiety is a useful tool, right up until it’s not. If we’ve suffered something extremely distressing such as loss of a loved one, or a serious injury, or mental illness, our brains can go into anxiety overload.

What can we do about anxiety?

There are a variety of treatments for anxiety – for example; medication, exposure therapy, mindfulness and relaxation, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). These are tools we can use in whatever combination suits us best.

Peer support can help a lot, and that’s why the Catastrophe Club was founded.