You’re probably wondering why I posted such an old picture of myself while talking about such a serious matter. Well, it’s a reminder that times can still be that simple and happy, you just need to work on yourself. I wanted to do an article on fashion today, about how to dress as a curvy girl. But I decided against it and in favor of a topic that is near to my heart and affects me on a daily basis: anxiety. I want to talk about how it has become this disorder for me, how I fight against it and how it has affected me.
First of all, what is anxiety? In normal circumstances, it is the body’s way of answering to stress. Before you have an exam, before a job interview or when something big is on it’s way, you feel that fear or apprehension about what’s coming. It’s a normal state that can sometimes be productive because the extra dose of adrenaline keeps you focused and gives you the will to fight, to pass and feel good again. But sometimes it doesn’t leave you, that feeling stays with you. And when it does, for more months on end, it turns into a disorder that cripples your mind and affects your daily perception of situations.
I have a Thyroid problem that has turned into an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto. This triggers anxiety and some depression, although the medicine helps. Coupled with life changes and problems over the past few years, it has gotten to a point where it affects my life on a daily basis. You know the feeling when you’ve had too much RedBull in a day? Those heart palpitations and the faint feeling? I wake up with that every morning, and as soon as something goes wrong or I get more bad news throughout the day, it gets worse. It’s not that I dont have a good life, I do. I have my parents who love me, my friends, my boyfriend, the basics are covered and I face every day with new courage and a fresh perspective. I think I have pushed myself too far the last few years, working multiple jobs at once, sacrificing free time in order to work and not taking vacations the way I should have.
People around me see my struggle but they don’t know how deep it goes. And while they try to help, it’s difficult to open up about personal demons. But I’m not here to wax poetic about my issues, I’m here to try and give some tips to those who might experience something similar or know they have anxiety. It’s not a medical healing process, it’s just my opinion on the matter. And I’ve just decided recently to seek more help, turn some aspects of my life around in order to feel better.
Because this anxiety turns into a full blown panic attack if you don’t treat it. And while a panic attack lasts only a couple of minutes, the fear of having it again is hard to shake. You need to learn to control your emotions and calm your mind when the symptoms hit you. My first panic attack came out of the blue, driving with my colleague to a customer. He had to stop the car because I was suffocating so he ran into a Mc Donald’s to get me a paper bag. I was sitting on the side of the road, blowing into it and crying…not fun!
- Before spiraling, stop and think it through. I have a crazy thing where I think I have every deadly disease on this planet and if I hear something new, I google it and imagine having every symptom on the list. But you don’t…it’s in your mind. So stop and think for a minute, let the logical side of your brain function. Whatever you think is insurmountable, you’ll get through it.
- Breathe slowly and deeply. If you get a panic attack, you start taking fast, shallow breaths and that makes you dizzy. Less oxygen means more panic. So stop and breathe. Find your happy place. My friends know I have issues with panic attacks so they see it coming. They take me by my head, look into my eyes and will me to breathe. After a few minutes, the panic lessens and I can think it through.
- If you need to leave, leave. If somebody is harping on you and you feel anxiety pushing to get free, turn around and leave the situation. That person’s opinion does not take precedence over your well-being. And people see it appear on your face, they get the sense that something is not right. If they don’t stop, they don’t deserve your attention anymore.
- Positive thinking really helps. On a daily basis, if you feel that depressing side coming on, force your mind to lighter, better thoughts. My friends sometimes think I’m bipolar:) I’m in a bad mood and then bam, all of a sudden, I’m ok again. That’s because I will myself to get it together and stop obsessing about negative stuff.
- Relax your body. Not kidding, relax your muscles, it helps you relax the mind. Sit down somewhere and relax. I can’t stress this word enough, I hope you remember it when you need it: relax!
- Take vitamins. I myself have a constant vitamin deficiency because of my Hashimoto disease. So I use Vitamin B6, Selenium and will start taking Iron because it helps. Doctors have recommended me Iron, I’ll let you know how I feel later on.
- Reduce alcohol, caffeine and RedBull. It pains me to say, each time I go out and drink, I wake up with a panic of epic proportions. The chemistry in your body is just not having it. Reduce alcohol, drink tea instead of coffee (for those who drink it) and stop drinking RedBull. I managed to kick my addiction although the Summer Maracuja Edition is like a drug to me. But you’ll find something else.
- Exercise. Or so they say. My lazy self is going to the gym this year. Better yet, I’m going to start swimming, it’s something I love. And being under water, you tone out everything efficiently.
- See a therapist. Don’t feel ashamed to seek help. Sometimes it’s easier and better to talk to an objective stranger who listens and guides you to the path of better understanding this condition. Friends are amazing but sometimes they have a prejudice they don’t even see and it inhibits you instead of giving you peace. Everybody struggles in a different way, find the source of peace that’s best for you. You are in an office where that person dedicates an hour or two just for you and you can let go guilt-free, knowing you can’t hurt anybody’s feelings. And sometimes you need to be brutally honest. Best do it in a safe environment. If you say it out loud, it becomes real and you can start to heal.
I hope I could be of some help. If you need help on this matter, reach out to me, I’m available on Insta, Facebook, Youtube and here on my blog. Sometimes you need to be selfish! Oh and btw, the fashion post is coming soon:) Kisses.
1 thought on “Anxiety – 9 ways to cope with it”
I agree that removing yourself from the triggering situation if possible is the best thing to do. That way you can get yourself back on track before the situation gets too bad.