It’s debilitating, isn’t it? I try to remember where it started but I feel like it started too young.
I remember sitting in my 3rd-grade class playing Barbie dolls with my friend Nadia. She was teaching me about the birds and the bees which made for an interesting conversation later with my parents and teacher. The conversation transferred to her telling me about how her parents were getting a divorce and so were all of the other kid’s parents. I told Nadia that would never happen to mine. It was a year or so later when my parents announced their divorce to my brother and I, and that was the first time I felt it. That tunnel vision feeling, fast breathing, my chest felt like it was going to explode, my thoughts were going a mile a minute and I felt like I was going to throw up. Ever since that day, anxiety would live with me.
I would get anxiety when I would walk into a party and suddenly think everyone was whispering about me, or when the bell rang for lunch in middle school because I knew I’d probably eat by myself and hide in the bathroom. I’d have it when I would take my tests because if I didn’t let people copy me, I was the nerd who no one liked. I’d have anxiety thinking about dying young or someone I love being taken too soon and I’d have it dating someone new and wonder if they would hurt me or have bad intentions.
Anxiety is so hard to understand and many will just tell you to not let your yourself get anxious LOL (thanks for the advice) or, you’ll find yourself in four walls with a lady who has a pen and paper and says “so how does that make you feel” and medicates you to “keep your thoughts at bay.” But usually, anxiety results because we’ve gone through hard situations that we never truly recover from. I know this because I have triggers that stem from occurrences in my past.
I get triggered when I don’t hear from the people I love before bed. My anxiety will hit the roof and the thoughts of my best friend passing away flood my mind and I envision a million things that could be happening to my loved ones. The people closest to me know I need “I’m safe, goodnight and I love you” before bed. Where a normal person may be like yo that’s too much, sometimes I just pass out.
I have never taken medication (I don’t judge if you do, meds just personally scare me) for my anxiety, or self harmed. I resulted to isolation for a while until I found other ways. For my readers who are dealing with anxiety and don’t know what to do, I’m going to give you a list of things that help me in these moments.
-Only surround yourself with good people and have a few people you can go to anytime the anxiety is too much. For instance, my best guy friend. No matter how I’m feeling he never tells me I’m crazy, to relax, that I’m fine, or to chill out. He always knows how to make me happy again when the noise is too much and he always answers his phone or texts me back. I’m blessed to have him.
-Find how to get out of it before it escalates. The minute I notice it’s happening I try to distract myself. I put on relaxing music, take a bath, wash my face, do breathing and meditating exercises but most of all I look up bible verses for strength and pray. The worst thing to do when faced with anxiety is to try and watch a heavy show, listen to depressing music, or talk to the wrong people.
-Hot yoga (you can’t think about anything other than not suffocating, it’s great).
-If you’re out and about and feel triggered, don’t feel bad about leaving. Tell someone you trust you have to leave and need help and if you don’t need someone else, just leave. Find some space to be alone and breathe. Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth, and think about things that make you happy.
-Read something calm. I have this awesome book that came in my send hope box that has encouraging words. It’s awesome. Here’s the link (no not sponsored, honest truth).
Read This Till You Believe It https://www.amazon.com/dp/1938298985/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_svQOzbPDWM3YF
-Sew things that need to be sewn
-Cry if you have to
-Go visit a dog shelter
-Get a theme park pass
And if the anxiety takes over try to breathe through it and know that it’s temporary. Know that it’s not going to win…you are and you’re going to be stronger than ever afterwards.
So many people suffer from anxiety but yet so many don’t understand it. The more we learn to deeply love each other and have patience, the more things will get better. If we do more loving instead of judging, we can help each other find ways to heal.
Anxiety will always be something we feel occasionally but it doesn’t have to be in control of you.
Stay hopeful, stay patient, and stay kind.