My personal story of my experience with anxiety started with a few bumps in my life path and having a few number of things not go the way that I planned. I’m not going to say that I have conquered it but I have gotten much better at acknowledging that anxiety is real and that it will pass and that its not going to hurt me.
There have been countless moments (sometimes for hours in a day, all week) when I was really down I felt like I was going to pass out from being dizzy or that there was no way that I wasn’t seriously ill. My legs would go numb, I would get dizzy, the world would start spinning, and I had trouble breathing. As the months progressed, my “illness” symptoms would change! I thought I was going crazy and a bunch of irrational fears start to set in, “I’m sick”, “I’ve lost my ability to think”, “I’m never going to live a normal life again”. Friends, I can’t tell you anything to calm you out of those thoughts because you won’t find peace searching through my words. But I can promise you it will come with your own thoughts.
The first step of getting over anxiety or at least getting started towards moving past anxiety is accepting it for what it is and what it is not. It is not an auto immune disease, it is not a pending heart attack, it is not a brain aneurism, or any other possible selection from Web MD’s long list of possibilities. I’m not saying don’t see your doctor. Go, see your doctor, have them run tests and tell you that you are dealing with stress and anxiety (which should give a little more peace of mind), and then accept it.
Fear of fear itself
One trigger for my anxiety attacks was the actual fear or getting another anxiety attack or in general any challenge that would be difficult. I promise you, the things you are scared of are not as bad as you are imagining them to be. You will feel empowered if you take a chance to challenge yourself. “Action cures fear”. Really ask yourself when you start to fear certain things that are going to happen, what would be the worse thing that could happen? Ground yourself, you are strong and remember to be patient with yourself. Realize that it doesn’t take one day to build strength. In my case, it has been 10 months and I am still making attempts to ground myself.
After talking it to the death with everyone in my close circle and my family, I realized that there are so many people that live day to day with anxiety, they might experience it with different symptoms and there may be different triggers for them, just remember you are not alone. Some people will be able to relate and others won’t. For your friends who don’t quite understand what you are going through, the fact of the matter is, if they’ve never felt a panic attack, or severe anxiety, they won’t understand what it feels like and the fear and doom that comes along with it. Try to not take it personally when your friends and family down play your anxiety and tell you to “just calm down and relax”. I thought this video was pretty spot on (doesn’t necessarily have to be towards your significant other):
1) Take Deep Breaths: One of my good friends gave me advice to slow down and breathe a couples years ago. I tried that a couple times and quickly gave up during my panic attack sessions when it didn’t immediately work. I didn’t realize then that it takes a few minutes for your body to restore the equilibrium of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your body, so slow down and take a few moments to breathe.
2) Affirmations: Tell yourself, over and over again if you need to: “I am having an anxiety attack, this is uncomfortable, but I am not in any danger”. You are not in any real danger. Just perceived danger. Our anxiety symptoms, as real as they seem, are just our body’s fight or flight response to danger.
3) Positivity and Hope: Remember, you will get through it. Some days are harder than others, on those days its even more important to be kind and gentle with yourself.
Anxiety is not an easy thing to live with, I’ve learned to appreciate it. It has taught me to listen to my body and to slow down and take care of myself. Sometimes you need to stop and notice the things that are surrounding you. You are safe. Understand why anxiety happens, do your research and then accept it. Easier said then done, I know. My point is not to teach you how to overcome anxiety attacks but to try to pass on any ounce of peace that I can to you. You are safe, everything will be okay. I can’t promise that you won’t go through hardship but I can promise that you will be fine.
Sending my love and care to all of you out there, you are not alone and if anyone ever wants to share their experience or discuss in further detail I would love you get an email from you, just send it here!