How Would You Define Anxiety?

I have recently finished reading How to Survive the End of the World by Aaron Gillies (@technicallyron) which gave a really interesting insight into dealing with anxiety. Whilst researching for the book, he asked various people “How would you define anxiety?” At the end, he asks the reader to write their definitions in the front of their edition of the book.

I think this is such a super interesting question because people explain it in different ways. Here are some definitions that I’ve come up with, based on my personal experiences. Please feel free to share yours in the comments.

Anxiety is worrying excessively over something that you know is completely irrational, and yet your body won’t listen.

Anxiety is the fight between needing to escape and wanting to stay – escaping the panic but afraid of being left alone to think.

Anxiety is feeling like the edges of the world are the sphere of your skull; everyone else is on another planet that you can’t quite escape to.

Anxiety is the worm at the back of your mind; sometimes it’s buried within the apple and you can pretend it’s not there, but when it comes back up you can’t help but notice.

Anxiety is sitting out a blazing fight inside your head whilst seemingly calm on the outside.

Anxiety is pretending to be confident so much that others eventually believe you, but you know you can never believe it yourself.

Anxiety is waiting for the next train and it being delayed and rushing to another platform and rushing back to the previous platform and then finding out there were no trains after all and it was all pointless. You could have taken a taxi but your mind doesn’t like the easy route.

Anxiety is smiling and crying at the same time. No one else notices and sometimes you don’t even notice yourself.

This week is Mental Health Awareness week so I thought it was a good time to share these thoughts. I’m feeling great at the moment and a lot happier than I was a year ago so I really wanted to share this post to help those who may be in the place I was last year. If you feel like these relate to you, it may be worth considering talking to someone about it – whether that is a family member, a friend, or a doctor. It’s not a weakness to put your hands up and say “hey, this sounds like me”. These words define anxiety, but they don’t define you.

You can view my other posts for Mental Health Awareness week here:

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My Favourite Mental Health Books

Today is World Book Day, but it is also University Mental Health Day. Since I am a huge lover of reading and have struggled a lot with my mental health whilst at university, this day is really important to me. Therefore, what better to do than list some of my favourite mental health books?

1. Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig Image result for reasons to stay alive

I know what you’re thinking, I’m talking about Matt Haig again, but his books have been really helpful to me over the past couple of years. He gives an account of his struggle with mental health with no filter and that’s what I love about it. He doesn’t make it seem cool or sugarcoat it – it is his raw feelings in book form and I really admire that. For people who struggle with anxiety and/or depression, this may be really useful to you. Read my book review here.


2. Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

If you thought I’d just stop at one of Matt Haig’s books, you’d be very wrong. Whilst this one also tackles mental health, it is vaster in its approach to technology and social media. These are things that have become second nature to us and Haig discusses how this affects our minds. I think anyone who finds themselves even mildly attached to the internet can relate to this book. Read my book review here.

3. How to Survive the End of the World by Aaron GilliesImage result for how to survive the end of the world

Technically I haven’t actually finished this book yet, but I’m in the process of reading it, so that counts, right? This book focuses on topics similar to Matt Haig, but has more of a focus on anxiety. I really like the humour that Gillies brings to this book and the informal way it is written. It is split into categories, such as “My anxious brain vs the morning” and “My anxious brain vs socialising” which makes it really easy to pick out the parts as and when you need them. This one doesn’t have a book review yet (sorry).

4. Your journal

So I got to number four and realised that I haven’t actually read as many mental health books as I thought. Go me. However, having your own notebook and jotting down your thoughts is just as much a mental health book as any. It’s a way to release tension, to rationalise your thoughts, and you don’t even have to read it. Sometimes writing out your inner thoughts can be scary because you don’t know what’s lurking there, but it is unbelievably rewarding. Trust me.


I really hope this list was somewhat helpful, despite my slight downfall at the end with my lack of ideas. Today is a day about sharing books and caring for others, and I think that’s the perfect day.