13 February 2015

Let's Chat: Anxiety

I suffer from anxiety.

I don't get immobilizing panic attacks, however, I do get mini "anxiety attacks"...if that is the correct term for them.

See, when I have something to do that makes me somewhat nervous, I get ridiculously anxious. Like, sweaty and shaky and tense....a lot of people feel like that when they have to present or do something scary for the first time.
There are sometimes when I get extremely shaky, like...uncomfortably shaky. I start sweating, particularly under my arms more than any where else, I get extremely hot. I feel uncomfortable in the presence of people, I have difficulty breathing and I get all tensed up. And it can last a few minutes, I have never actually timed it but I do know for a fact that it must last from 5-10 maybe 15 minutes.

Anxiety is something that seriously sucks. Because it can add to your quietness or shyness, so add anxious to the already existing "Introvert" list and what do you have? An extremely silent person who gives all the effort she's got to get the opportunity to experience certain social activities.
Now, I don't want people thinking that people with anxiety, like me, are completely incapable of doing anything with others outside the safety of our home, because that's not true. I'm just saying it can be a lot harder to get us to do certain things.
That doesn't mean we shouldn't try.
Those with anxiety have to...train themselves...
I did a presentation in one of my classes about anxiety and panic attacks and I learned a few things:

1. Think back to another time you experienced anxiety for a similar/same situation. Were you able to make it through? Were you okay?
See, I have always hated presentations. Who doesn't? But with my anxiety, I would always build it up to this horrendous event..I felt trapped.
Think up this scenario: you are walking towards the unknown and you realize halfway through that you want to walk away from it, quickly. You turn around and immediately there is someone there, grabbing you by the shoulders and pushing you towards the thing you are trying so desperately to escape from and they are pushing you towards it. No way out, you feel like you're drowning.
However, I have done so many presentations this school year that when I am assigned another, I think back to all the other presentations I've done, and how awesome I did, and that makes me feel better, it calms my anxiety.
Even though it is still there, I am able to calm myself a bit and breath.
Photo by: Caleb Ekeroth

2. Do not try to stop the panic.
Trying to stop the panic from coming on will not help you actually stop it. It will only make it worse, because you are trying so desperately to keep it at bay, and make sure no one realizes that your panic is creeping in on you.
Instead, think about the situation that is making you feel this way. Try to understand it and see it as something positive rather than a negative trigger. This also links to thinking back to a similar/same situation and realizing that you were more than OKAY the last time you had to experience it.

3. Spend some time thinking about your anxiousness and what makes you feel anxious.
I know some people might not want to spend time alone when they are feeling anxious or thinking about their anxiousness, that's ok. Spend time with people that make you feel great, and spend time reflecting on your feelings and emotions, events that seem too big for you too handle or that might trigger your anxiety.
I know that I like spending some time alone when I have a socially draining day, it helps me collect my thoughts, and recharge. Sometimes I do have to distract myself or be with people that know me well to recharge positivity. That usually happens when my anxiousness won't let me stop overthinking the simplest things and events.
Photography By: Chris Sardegna
4. Keep active!
Exercise in any way shape or form. Whether you do cardio, yoga, or just go for a simple walk, you can help reduce your anxiety. When I feel my anxiousness kicking in, or I can't stop my mind for going anywhere and everywhere I stop and (when I'm alone or in front of people that know me well) I just close my eyes, take calming breaths and it helps me relax. It doesn't even have to be for a long time! It can literally be a minute of you breathing in and out with your eyes closed.
I know that sometimes when I'm in school walking outside helps me keep calm. Of course not as much recently since I can't really enjoy the breeze (it's a frosty bite), the sun (doesn't warm me up at all when snow is being blown by wind into my face), or the walk itself (since I'm too busy being extra careful so I won't slip on black ice in front of a whole lot of people).
I really can't wait for spring/summer to arrive so we have some nice warm sun and a sweet breeze to bring us all back to a form of normality and happiness.
Photography By: Ales Krivec
5. Tea and less caffeine.
Caffeine is bad for anxiety (tough living since no coffee puts me in an off mood in the mornings). It triggers your nervous system and puts it in full drive (why do you think people are so awake after their cup of coffee has been consumed?) 
Tea in general can help you (caffeine free) because it is a relaxing activity/beverage. You are sitting, slowly sipping out of a warm mug, your body being entirely warmed. I have recently been into 7 Blossoms tea, it is aimed at helping you become calm for a good nights sleep. I like to drink it when I come home from work or in the morning (since I have been having quite the number of snow days). It really helps clear my mind and calm my muscles.
It doesn't have any medical benefits or anything like that, no doctor is specifically saying that this is a miracle tea. But I do think that it is good at calming and soothing at least some of the anxiety.
(Calm down, obvs you can drink your coffee in moderation.)
Photography By: Jeshu John
Now remember: when someone suffers a panic/anxiety attack, it isn't their fault. They cannot stop this form happening, it just does.
Yes they were able to do that and this without the panic, that doesn't mean the anxiety wasn't present. 
Only the anxiety sufferer knows when their anxiety is present and when it is not, only they know what they are comfortable doing and what they still need a little bit more time to allow themselves to do.
The only way to help someone with anxiety is to be there for them but not too close.
Make sure they know that you are there to support and help them, but give them their space, they already feel like they are in an enclosed space, being smothered.
Be nice, and understanding even if you do not FULLY understand what is happening.

We all need to learn to be way more compassionate and understanding.
I hope you found this blog post (although extremely lengthy) helpful.

You can do anything you set your mind to. So go out there and kill it, don't let your fears hold you down.

(Photos taken from various Stock Photo sites. Photographers are credited beneath photo)

09 February 2015

Ed Sheeran: GRAMMYs & North American Tour

Hello all!
(some of my professors begin their emails to the class that way, I think it's a little funny...I don't know why..)
moving on...

Did you catch the GRAMMYs yesterday? No? Well here's what you missed: Ed Sheeran lost both of his GRAMMY noms and I was extremely upset about it.
I mean, this is the second year he loses his nominations...when will Ed win?!!?! grrrr.
I mean, of course, hats off to the winners because they deserve it, just wish Ed would finally get his GRAMMY moment.

But here is some better news..
Ed just announced that he will be touring North America this summer!

Not my photo. Click photo for credit.

Here are the dates:

05 February 2015

Second Semester: February pt. 1

Remember last semester when I had the "College Freshman Diaries"?
I basically updated you guys with cool (or not so cool) things that were happening in my first semester of college, I did that every week..

Well this semester, I decided to do two a month, one at the beginning of the month and one at the end.
So I am currently sitting in the Student Center at my college, you know that place where students can come and have something quick to eat, hang out with friends, host club events..however, I am sitting in the "Fireplace Quiet Study" trying to get some work done but find it kind of hard to do so when I am so tired and slightly (slightly) miserable.
That whole "miserable" part isn't something serious, I mean, I'm just really tired of school and the winter, also I have like 7 presentations left to this semester...bleh.

Also, all the snow days have really slowed me down. I mean, they've slowed everyone down..
There are mountains of snow everywhere. There is actually snow falling outside as I type this..fun.