Anxiety will wreck you. It’ll control you, a slave to your own mind. It’s scary, like a dark cloud that won’t move out from above you. Like many people, I struggle with general, death, and social anxiety. Even though anxiety symptoms are different for everyone I want to help explain what it feels like and what are some things I do to help ease the burden of general and death anxiety.
Laying in bed last night it hits. Although attacks can be triggered but they can also come out of no where. I couldn’t breathe. I immediately became nauseous. I’m burning up, my body temperature rising as I freak out. I jump out of my bed and walk to the door. My thoughts racing at a million miles per hour. What do I do with my hands? I need to move around, sit in the living room, or pace up and down the hall. Anything to help escape the thoughts, the feelings, the panic. I don’t want to be alone. I pull out my phone to call my sister then remember it’s 2 a.m. The nausea becoming overwhelming I go sit in the bathroom just in case I end up vomitting. I start using my calming methods. I focus on breathing in and out. I’ve created sayings to help bring me out of the state of panic. I slowly say, “You’re alright”, “You’ve got this”, “Breathe, you are fine”, “calm, calm, calm”. Now that feels better! I can now go back to bed and pretend that this never even happened.
See? Not fun at all. These attacks don’t just happen at home either. They can happen at school, on a train, in a plane, or more embarrassingly, on a date. There are a few things I have found work for me that have kept me “sane”.
1. Gather yourself a team. Surround yourself with people who understand what you are going through and don’t judge what you can’t control. You don’t want anyone in the team that might make fun of you or not take this seriously. You can call or text this team in the event of an attack; they can help keep you calm, listen to you talk it though. Most importantly they have to be supportive.
2. Mantra- Talk to yourself. Come up with sayings that will bring you back down if you start to get worked up. I gave a few of mine you are more than welcome to try them out. If you start the mantras early you may save yourself from a downward spiral.
3. Schedule your relaxation- This is a super important step. I like to turn out the lights and put on nature sounds of my choice. I have downloaded an App that lets me design my nature sound experience. It is called Relax Melodies. I set the fade in and fade out timer for 10 minutes. Next, I light incense and throw a blanket on the floor. I lay there in any position with my eyes closed and breath. Sometimes I do light yoga. Let your body fall where it wants to. Clear your mind of thoughts and just be. Focus in on your sounds and being relaxed. After this you will feel refreshed!
4. Tea- Tea drinking is relaxing in itself because you have to sip it slowly. It slows your pace of life down. There are teas that help promote a calm body and calm mind.
5. Breathe- It sounds simple but hard to remember to do in panic situations. Just remember it’s not as bad as it appears. Take it one step at a time. Just breathe.
6. Positive thoughts- Try to replace the bad thoughts by thinking of new positive ones. Focus on them until they are the only thing in your mind.