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)