I never used to think anxiety was a thing I thought it was something that was made up by people that were weak and unable push through tough times. I would think to myself that people just weren’t as resilient or as tough as I was or that they panicked easily and called it anxiety. I have since learned a lot about what anxiety actually is and have suffered from it myself.
Now there are lots of slightly different meanings to what anxiety is but the most general explanation is: Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.
For me during my time in the military I was always extremely confident and forthcoming, noting really phased me or bothered me too much. Being in the infantry and a mostly all male environment it can be pretty tense or aggressive at times with all the alpha male behaviour around the work place. I for one was definitely guilty of some of this behaviour at times as were many others.
My style of leadership tag times was a sort of controlled aggression where I would get the best out of my men by shouting or man handling them around fitness events or indeed the battlefield. This was for the most part typical for the environment we worked in.
I never at any stage of my career felt the effects of anxiety be it in battle, in camp during work time or even if it was out of work. I have never ever experienced anxiety.
Fast forward to 2019 during the time leading up to leaving the army and since leaving the army I have changed many things about my lifestyle, who I associate with and what I do when I am socialising. I have had a few experiences of anxiety. I have had what I see as two anxiety attacks within the last two months which is something I never thought I would be saying.
Both of these anxiety attacks came off the back of arguments with other people. You see since changing my lifestyle I have cut out aggressiveness, confrontation and as much negativity as possible. So when confronted by someone regardless of the situation I wont back down but I am a lot calmer than I have ever been. It’s in the immediate moments after the argument that the anxiety grips me. I start to feel shaky and my heart rate increases. Shortly after comes the tightness of my chest and a feeling that I am going to be sick. This for me is an anxiety attack.
I don’t really know wether the way I deal with it is the correct way or not but I just go really quiet and withdrawn from whats going on around me and try to focus on slowing my breathing down and get away from the situation as best possible.
If you’re dealing with similar symptoms its always best to seek medical advice. If there is something else I should try please do let men know because this is something pretty new to me.
Always remember its ok not to be ok and always reach out and speak to someone if you’re feeling low.