I’ve been sitting on this post for a couple days. Debating on what to blog about but mainly because I’ve been crippled with anxiety and haven’t been able to focus or write. So I figured what better topic to blog about than anxiety.
I think anxiety is probably one of the most wildly common forms of mental illness. At one point or another we have all more than likely felt symptoms of anxiety. So I’m going to do my best to explain what anxiety feels like for someone who has lived with it for almost 15 years.
Anxiety is all fear with absolutely no logic. It is feeling as if you’re free falling into a dark abyss and nothing is certain. It is a paralyzing fear that nothing will ever feel good again. It is hearing noises more intensely and feeling as though your heart will explode from beating so fast. It is over thinking every step you take, every word you say and the way you appear to others. It is trusting absolutely nothing or no one, not even yourself. It is every uncomfortable feeling you have ever felt all combined into one. It is feeling as though something is sitting on your chest and it makes it difficult to breathe. It is sometimes not being able to move. It is crying profusely until you feel any type of release or screaming because you’re terrified at what you’re experiencing. It is feeling as if all your emotional nerves are exposed and the slightest shift in someone’s body language or tone of voice could make it extremely worse. It is the fear of being in public or being seen by loved ones for fear of judgment or being misunderstood. It is absolute hell and if you have ever experienced this or currently suffer from this I empathize with you. I get it & you are 1000% not alone.
The biggest thing that you need to remember while in an anxiety attack is that it will end. Your brain will regulate again and this crippling panic will leave.
Here are some tips to help cope with an anxiety attack.
1. Drink water.
2. Focus on your breathing. Take deep breathes and count to 10. Then restart.
3. Splash cold water on your face and hold your breathe so your body thinks you’re diving and it will slow your heart rate.
4. Put an ice pack in the centre of your chest and hold it there for as long as possible. This numbs your vagus nerve that controls a lot of your anxiety.
5. Distract. Put on a favourite TV series, go on a walk. Fixate on a good memory or call a trusted friend who can empathize with anxiety. Sometimes not fixating on the anxiety and pretending it’s not there actually helps it go away.
6. Affirmations. Stare in the mirror and say this is only one moment in time. This feeling will not stay forever. I am stronger than my anxious thoughts. This will not consume me. Repeat it 15 times if you need to. Eventually your brain will believe what you are telling it regardless if you are shaking & crying while saying it. Even if you don’t believe in that moment you will overcome it. Claim it, pretend you believe it until you do.
Here are some tips to help someone if they are having an anxiety attack.
1. Don’t try to rationalize with logic because there is no logic in anxiety.
2. Be gentle with them. Validate their feelings. In my case I like to be held tightly. It makes me feel like some force is bigger than my anxiety.
3. Remind them that this is only temporary and this feeling will eventually pass.
4. Avoid pointing out how irrationally they may be acting because chances are they are acting in direct proportion to the intensity they are feeling their anxiety.
5. Ask them how you can help. For each person this will look different but by asking them how you can help that will allow them to check in with themselves and be honest about what they need. It also shows them that you’re willing to help in whatever way possible, which is a huge weight lifted for an anxious person.
I hope this has shed some light on what it feels like to suffer from anxiety. I also hope this will bring some awareness to the ones who don’t suffer from it but wish to empathize with and help the ones they love. Feel free to add any additional symptoms you may experience if you suffer from anxiety or ask any questions you may have regarding this topic in the comments below. Please share this post. I believe this one will benefit all who read it.
Thank you for reading,