Anxiety

In daily life, most of us will find ourselves in situations that cause anxiety.

Being anxious - that feeling of being unsettled, uneasy or scared, is a natural human response to stress and is designed to protect us from a perceived danger. This is often known as the fight, flight or freeze response.

Usually, we can manage these feelings and they pass over time, but sometimes they can become overwhelming, affecting our ability to get on with our lives.

Anxiety can take many forms and, If you are worried about it, we can talk to you and help you to access support.  

Why do we get anxious?

There are lots of things in daily life that can cause anxiety.

This could be linked to something specific like:

  • studying for a big exam
  • preparing for a job interview
  • meeting someone new for the first time – either as a friend or on a date
  • big life changes like moving house or having children
  • dealing with a traumatic incident such as a car accident or being a victim of crime  
  • experiencing violence, abuse or discrimination

However, in many cases, you might not be able to identify what’s making you anxious.

Many of the services that are there to support people with mental health will be able to work with you to identify the factors that contribute to your anxiety and help you work through them.

How do I recognise anxiety?

People who are experiencing anxiety will often experience symptoms that affect them emotionally and physically.

Many of these symptoms are normal responses to stressful situations but could indicate a mental health issue if they are experienced either over a prolonged period of time (weeks and months) or are particularly intensely.

You may find that:

  • you worry all the time, sometimes with no good reason, or out of proportion
  • you notice physical symptoms like feeling sick, losing your appetite, struggling to sleep (or oversleeping), losing interest in sex, feeling your heart racing in your chest, changing toilet habits, pins and needles
  • you may feel your mind is racing with many thoughts – some of which may be unpleasant
  • you have panic attacks – intense and sudden feelings of fear or discomfort, often accompanied with shortness of breath, nausea and a feeling of ‘losing control’
  • you have a tendency to always see the negative things in any situation
  • you avoid everyday situations that’s you may find difficult

Anxiety takes many forms, and services that are there to support people with mental health will be able to work with you to identify the factors that contribute to your anxiety and help you work through them.

Anxiety – looking after yourself 

When feeling anxious it can be hard to think about what next steps to take. Here are a few ways to help manage anxiety.  

  • It may be useful to shift your focus from your feelings of anxiety to another something that interests or comforts you. This may be an image or an object in the room, spend time really focussing on the details.  
  • Try and steady your breathing. By inhaling slowly through your nose and exhaling through your mouth, you can establish a slow and calming pace. Relax your muscles and focus on your breath. 
  • Speaking about what’s making you anxious to someone you trust, can be really helpful in managing your anxiety. They might have experienced a similar problem and can talk you through it. You can always talk to a member of our health improvement team.  
Anxiety and Gay and Bisexual Men.

As with other mental health conditions, gay, bisexual and all me who have sex with men are disproportionately affected by issues around anxiety.

Our experiences of mental health are closely linked to the challenges we face as a community, from experience of homophobia and discrimination to accepting our own identity and the pressure to conform to a heteronormative society, sometimes known as minority stress.

Our mental health is also shaped by other health inequalities. From higher rates of poor sexual health and alcohol/substance use to pressures within our own communities, such as body image and age.

Anxiety and Trans men

Anxiety often impacts trans men’s ability to live their lives as they wish.  

There are a number of different reasons trans men may experience anxiety from issues accessing healthcare, discrimination in the workplace, and coming out. 

Anxiety can often be linked to the process of transitioning and experiences of interactions with health professionals. These professionals can play a pivotal role in whether someone is able to transition or not.  

During points of anxiety, community support, including friends and social groups both in person and online) can make a very real difference for your wellbeing.