When I was younger, I was the most organized of my siblings, well, at least in an OCD kind of way. But that all changed when anxiety started to control my emotions and I never understood what was happening to me. At one point, I thought I may have gone through my school years with ADHD and got tested for that because I had trouble focusing on one task at a time. It wasn’t until I went in to speak with a therapist about other issues when she diagnosed me with an anxiety disorder.
In these times of mental health issues, there is a lot of unknown. Unknown referring to the fact that those who do not suffer from anxiety, depression, or panic disorders, find it difficult to relate or understand what these emotions stem from.
From my point of view, I could tell you it’s very real.
I’ve always had nervous energy, but about four years ago, when things got out of hand for us financially, I began experiencing a lot of anxiety. Unable to identify what was happening to me, I thought it was stress related and truthfully, I was unhappy in my life. There were random pains in my chest and since I didn’t know how to diagnose my symptoms, I assumed they were associated with my heart and would call the doctor’s office to have them documented. Once I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, that’s when I began to educate myself on what having anxiety meant, how it affected me personally and how to identify when my attacks occurred so that I may learn to cope with it.
It’s different for everyone. I don’t believe mine to be of a high nature, but it is there and a lot more contained these days. The scary truth for me was realizing that when I smoked weed, my attacks came a lot more stronger. That is one of the main reasons why I stopped and as a result, my attacks occur seldomly these days. When I do feel an attack coming, I put my right hand over my heart, breathe deeply in and out, and try to clear my thoughts of whatever brought it about in the first place. This works for me, but as I said before, anxiety is different for everyone and what may work for me, may not for someone else and vice versa.
The main key in having an anxiety disorder is education. Once I knew what those attacks really were, I was able to figure out what I needed to bring my attacks under control. I’ve also learned to avoid things that bring on anxiety attacks, this was very helpful in limiting how often they occurred.
These days my source of anxiety stems from having a limited quality of life. I need to make more time for my family and figuring out how to do this while working full-time is both stressful and difficult to acheive. Maybe I need to cut corners somewhere I am spending more money than I should, so I can cut my hours and be at home with my family. Regardless of the decision I make, ultimately I will bring my anxiety level down and my attacks will be far and few between. This is how working with anxiety looks like.
I am not ashamed to admit this about myself. It’s real in my life and I am willing to share tips on how to identify your attacks and what to do in response. It’s not as scary as it sounds, it’s scarier when you don’t know what’s happening. I am glad I know what my attacks mean and I know now what to prevent to eliminate them as much as possible. I also want to bring awareness to others on how to identify when someone is suffering from an anxiety attack. Give them a chance to relax on their terms. This is the most important advice I can give you. They’ll let you know when they are ready to talk or if they need anything.