Get to know anxiety: Chest tightening 


One of the symptoms that I had was being unable to breathe deeply. And so I felt a tightening in my chest. It was like I was breathing only from my tubes rather than from my lungs. So, almost as if the air was only coming this far. So that was distressing.

And there were also times when I wasn't conscious of being upset, but sighing rather than breathing. Not being sad or sighing for any particular reason, just, I noticed it happening that I was sighing.

Anxiety for me almost started off slowly, it took a while for me to realise that something wasn't right, and then I sought help from firstly my parents, and then I went off and spoke to my GP afterwards and then got the connections with the help that I needed.

I told him a bit about my background and the fact that I'd been overseas, the fact that I had had to come home because I was feeling depressed and anxious and suicidal. And so he put me onto some tablets, did a test with me, answering questions to determine what was actually going on with me and how severe that was. And then he made sure that I was able to access the right medication. He also put me onto cognitive behaviour therapy with a psychologist.

I'd done a lot of positive kind of thinking in the past anyway, because I belonged to a church that was very supportive of thinking positively about yourself. So that sort of stuff I knew. When I went to the psychologist he said "Well, that's really what you need to be doing". So it's, rather than focusing on your symptoms what you need to be doing is changing your thinking. So if you understand that you're overreacting or overacting in terms of what's going on in your life, then you need to start talking to yourself about, "Actually it's not that bad". And start to think in positive ways, perhaps do some problem solving exercises, just to alleviate almost where my mind was going. So yeah, so that's what I did.

The key advice I would give is to talk to somebody about it. Don't do it on your own. Find somebody that you can talk to, if it's parents or partner or whomever, but certainly go and talk to your doctor about it.