Author and podcaster Chloe Brotheridge has experienced anxiety since she was in her teens and it has taken her many years to learn how to cope with anxiety attacks.
She says: “It it wasn’t until I was about 15 that I really started to notice that I had anxiety. I had a panic for the first time when I was 15 at a friend’s house. It seemed to come out of nowhere and, like a lot of people, I thought I was dying.
“I think this is very common for people having panic attacks, because you have this sense of adrenaline, your heart is racing, you feel like you can breathe.”
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Chloe says that she experienced anxiety attacks and panic attacks for about ten years, but at the time she didn’t feel as though she had the power to change how she felt. “I thought: this is just who I am. There’s nothing I can do about it – it’s just the way I was born,” she says.
What is anxiety and how do you know if you have it?
“Anxiety is a very broad term to describe a lot of different things,” Chloe explains. “Being a worrier is a symptom of anxiety. If you go to your doctor, they will have a list of criteria where they will diagnose anxiety and often it’s feeling like you can’t stop worrying, having a racing heart, overthinking.
“Physical symptoms of anxiety are often understated, but they can be the biggest part of anxiety: the nervousness, the stomach issues, the racing heart, that sort of thing.”
If you think that you might have anxiety, Chloe advises going to see your doctor to get a confirmed diagnosis.
According to Chloe, it’s important to remember that some anxiety is completely natural: “If we never worried, never felt nervous that would be abnormal.
“It’s normal as a human being to worry about things and it can be healthy to have some level of concern, but it’s about whether it’s affecting your life. Is that anxiety holding you back, is it stopping you from enjoying your life? That’s when I think it becomes a problem.”
What can you do to improve your confidence?
Chloe says that self-esteem issues are often at the root of a lot of anxiety. “It’s really difficult when you’re not feeling good enough to do the things that help you to feel good.
“I often say to people: take some action first. Do something to take care of yourself. Do something to show that you love yourself and you value yourself. And just take that action.”
“By taking action we’re proving to ourselves that we’re worthy, that we deserve to be taken care of and we deserve to do something for ourselves.”
Listen to the episode for more tips on how to get rid of anxiety.
This episode is sponsored by Omstars Yoga – listen in for a special offer for In The Moment podcast listeners!
About Chloe Brotheridge
Chloe is the author of The Anxiety Solution and Brave New Girl, both published by Michael Joseph.
Follow Chloe on Instagram @Chloebrotheridge. Looking for more ways to manage your anxiety? You can subscribe to Chloe’s popular podcast Calmer You, which provides practical advice and guidance to help you become less anxious and more confident.
Photography by Becki Rui.