I've suffered from anxiety since the age of 9. I remember my parents having to come get me at school because I wasn't feeling well, there were certain things I would always carry with me just incase I needed them, feeling sick every morning before going to school, not going to school because I just couldn't.
When I'm having an anxiety attack I feel very tense. My hands and feet get cold, my arms feel heavy and sometimes my chest hurts. It feels like my throat closes up and I feel like I'm about to throw up. My heart starts to beat really fast and I can't relax. I also get really sensitive to scents and sounds. Having to deal with all of this when you know you have to be somewhere is a nightmare. And one of the worst things about it is that you can't control it. This usually happens when I know I have to be somewhere at a certain time. But sometimes it sneaks up on me out of nowhere aswell. Dealing with anxiety is the most awful thing I've ever had to experience and it's something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Having to go to a 15 minute appointment at the dentist could instantly turn into a nightmare. Having to cancel plans with a friend last minute because I'm not feeling well. Or even worse, having somebody else having to cancel my plans for me because I'm too shaken up to pick up the phone. I absolutely hate letting people down and I always feel so disappointed with myself for not being able to do something I'd been looking forward to.
On a scale of 1-10 (where 10 is the worst), I'm at about a 3 on a good day. I tend to get very overly stressed about very small and insignificant things. And no matter how much I try I can't seem to stop worrying. I think because I've dealt with this for so many years I've somehow gotten used to feeling this way. For the first couple of years I didn't know why this was happening or why I was feeling this way. It wasn't until I was 16 that I was told I suffered from anxiety. The Swedish word for anxiety is very similar to the word regret. And having no clue what I meant to have anxiety I thought it meant that I was feeling this way because of something I had done that I regretted doing. I remember explaining it to people and it went something along the lines of "I was told I suffer from anxiety but really I just feel nauseous all the time". Because I couldn't think of a single thing that must've caused me to feel this way. When I was about 18 or 19 years old I started reading and watching videos about it and that's when it kind of clicked. When other people explained their situation and how they were feeling it all made sense. "I often feel very uncomfortable around other people" Really? So do I. "My hearts rate goes up and I can't breathe" Yes. "I feel nauseous" You couldn't be more accurate.
I've only ever had 4 panic attacks. (And I don't wish there to be any more of them). The last time I had a panic attack was about 2 years ago so I don't really "suffer" from them. But having experienced one I will tell you now that it is not very pleasant. All 4 times I've started hyperventilating, shaking and right out just panicking. For me the anxiety attacks are worse than the panic attacks I've had. I think because I never really felt nauseous during the panic attacks and I knew it would be over within 15-20 minutes and then I would feel better. It's never been like that with the anxiety attacks. I could go all day having anxiety attack after anxiety attack and not feel any better for the next 10 days to come.
There's been people in my life who for some reason couldn't seem to accept that fact that I struggle with anxiety. I've had people basically telling me to "get it together". I'm doing my best to deal with it and I honestly don't think anybody has the right to tell me otherwise just because it bothers them (for whatever unknown reason there might be). 1 out of 3 people suffer from anxiety and everyone have their different ways of dealing with it and coping methods. And don't ever let anyone make you feel like it's your own fault for having anxiety, because that's just ridiculous!
Coping Methods/How To Calm Down And Stay Relaxed:
♥ Reading - For me, this is a way of escape. Losing yourself in a different universe and worrying about other peoples problems is a whole lot easier than worrying about your own. (Or read something lighthearted and don't worry about anything, that would be the ultimate).
♥ Close my eyes and take deep breaths - This is the first thing I do when I start to feel anxious. However doing this for too long leaves me feeling dizzy and I start hyperventilating instead. So what I like to do is to take a few deep breaths, then breathe like I normally would and then do the deep breaths again.
♥ Try to take my mind of it - I know this is a lot easier said than done, but trying to not think about how you're feeling and focus on something else (in my case it would be to read) is one the things that helps me stay calm. I sometimes try to fool myself into thinking that "No, it's not tomorrow I have to go do that thing, no no, it's next week! Far far away". And other times I try to just go with it and if it doesn't work out and I don't feel well enough I don't have to go. I always try to get to where I'm going though. Otherwise I know it would leave me feeling the exact same way I did last time and then I would feel like I'd already used up my "didn't go" ticket.
♥ Remove myself from the situation - Whenever I'm having an anxiety attack I don't like to be surrounded by other people. If I'm at home I'll go in my bedroom and if I'm at work I'll go in the backroom. I think the reason for why I feel so trapped in vehicles whilst having an anxiety attack is because I know I won't be able to leave. I mean, I couldn't very well just up and leave the car if we're on the motorway could I now.
♥ Making planes - Having more than one thing planned on the same day stresses me out. A couple of weeks ago I had both an appointment at the hairdresser and the dentist and I had to reschedule one of them as this was just not working out for me. (Guess which one I picked). I always try to schedule any appointments that I have on separate days as I know I would probably just end up feeling overwhelmed in the end.
I know I haven't told many people about this blog, but if you happen to stumble upon this blog post and have gone through or are going through a similar thing please leave a comment. Also, I hope this has been helpful even if you're not in this situation, and maybe now understand how people who suffer from anxiety might be feeling. Thank you for reading!
Hope everyone's having a good, non stressful week! ♥