My Journey to Self-Love

June 19: Let’s Talk Anxiety

Anxiety is natural human response but sometimes it can go beyond that. Today, where we place high expectations on ourselves and many of us have a perfectionism type personality it appears anxiety is more prevalent. Anxiety can impact your life if you don’t learn to get control over it. Anxiety is different for everyone, for me it sounds something like this:

I have a hard time getting myself to do things, I avoid everything. Sometimes I won’t do things unless I am in the company of someone else, and other times I’ll avoid the situation all together. If I have a lot to do sometimes the thoughts of getting it done, leaves me feeling so overwhelmed and crippling and I just avoid doing it all together. I wait till the last possible minute to pay bills, make phone calls or do things because again I push them off and avoid them until I am forced to.

Sometimes my mind feels like it’s on repeat where it says the same things repeatedly and non-stop. It’s a battle between irrational thoughts and me trying to tell myself that these are irrational thoughts. Sometimes my mind likes to think the worst of everything and take something so small and make it appear so big. Other times it’s racing from one thought to the next; my mind will be consumed by thoughts of my life in the future with unease, worry and apprehension. Often, I create a fear that causes irrational thoughts and obsessive thinking about that thing that has no truth to it.

When I start feeling too overwhelmed my chest feels heavy and tight. I get a clump in my throat, my heart starts racing and breathing gets shallow, I need to escape. This is when the anxiety can push me into a full-blown panic attack, where suddenly I can’t breathe and my anxiety pushes me to a point where I feel like I am dying. Mine used to occur a lot during racing as the worry about the outcome would hinder me.

Somedays I can’t sit still as I feel too anxious. I need to be doing something, biting my nails, cracking my fingers or chewing gum. Sometimes the anxiousness causes my stomach to hurt leading to bloating. Sleep becomes affected, usually waking up in the middle of the night feeling restless and not being able to fall back asleep. Sometimes I’ll feel so anxious I won’t be able to sleep all together as I just toss and turn wishing to shut down my mind.

I remember when I was 18 and finally got treated and when the doctor explained everything I was experiencing was the result of an anxiety disorder everything finally made sense. I still struggle with anxiety but as I get professional help and work on it myself I can get a better control of the symptoms. Remember Recovery isn’t a simple, linear line.

I want to be part of the movement that will bring awareness about mental health, allow others to be open about sharing their own struggles and end stigma all together. That is my goal.

- Victoria D’Ariano