Hey readers, so I wanted to do a post that for many of you is a problem and for even more of you is just an idea. Anxiety,a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.. I have had anxiety my entire life. It started with separation anxiety when I was 7 after my parents divorced. Test anxiety (yes that’s a real thing) every year of school including now in college. Social anxiety, when I am in a large group I tend to get extremely anxious and feel like a blubbering idiot, and as of about 5 years ago Panic Disorder which translates to, a psychiatric disorder in which debilitating anxiety and fear arise frequently and without reasonable cause. The panic disorder did not come about until I was 22 years old. I was treated for depression and stupid Kelsey who believed she was invincible decided to stop taking her original medication and that’s what caused the PD to kick in. I was having panic attacked about 20 out of 24 hours of the day. I couldn’t eat or sleep and I had no idea what to do. Have you ever had to work an 8+ hour shift while your PD is at its peak…I didn’t think so. It became so overwhelming that I had to have my doctor put me on something that would make it stop or at least decrease the amount of time I was suffering the attacks.
One thing that gets me about people is they think that Anxiety and Panic Disorder is not a real thing. They are wrong and have probably never dealt with it. People also believe that because you don’t “look” like your anxious that you’re not well look at this…
In the pictures you see above I was on vacation in San Francisco with my Husband. We were 22 and 23 years old and this was the summer my anxiety reached an all time high and I was having Panic attacks 90% of my day… I don’t look anxious right, that’s because anxiety and panic disorder don’t have a face!!!!!!! I find it so funny that people actually believe you have to take on physical abnormalities and symptoms to prove you have anxiety or PD. It just makes the skeptics look dumb, if I’m being completely honest.
Because I have lived with this for the better part of my life I wanted to share with you what I learned along my way.
1.Accept it and move on… I consider myself a VERY strong and independent girl but when I have a panic attack I become very scared. My PD manifests in a cold sweat that becomes increasingly hot as time goes on, my chest hurts, I get dizzy, and I can’t breathe. As I have had to teach myself to relax this is what I found. DO NOT try to analyze the attack. PD just happens and if you want to control it don’t give it any power. When I have an attack I think to myself “okay Kelsey, you’re stressed and exhausted, you need to go to bed” and I get up, do something like fold laundry or organize something, let the attack subside a bit then I go to bed. Willing the attack away wont work, you need to accept that you’re having it and move on.
2. Don’t isolate yourself. It’s very easy during anxiety or an attack to want to hole up someplace quiet and shut out the world but that just makes it worse. You want to reach out, call a family member or friend, even texting can help. Dont let the attack make you feel alone because you are not.
3. It’s not the same for everyone. Some people get anxiety from something they read, or something they did, I get bad road anxiety when I am in an unfamiliar place especially the city. Just because you have some form of anxiety does not mean your peer will have the same form.
4. Don’t feed the fire. If you have anxiety and so do your friends, its best to make sure its a good day for all involved. I know from experience, a friend and I both have anxiety and we both happened to have an off day, that is a recipe for disaster, we were both making each other more anxious. If it’s an off day, do something else, don’t torture yourself or your peer.
5. Redirection. I cannot stress this enough. When I am mid attack I make myself clean or organize because it makes me focus on something besides the attack and allows me to decompress that way when its time to go to sleep I am calm enough to relax and allow my body the rest it needs.
6.Ignore people when they say anxiety isn’t a thing. Its ignorance, it’s very real and for a lot of people it’s an everyday struggle.
7. There will be bad days. you know the song that says “mama said there’d be days like this, there’d be days like this mama said” its 100% true. There are days when I will literally just panic for no reason. It happens!
8. Don’t use it as an excuse!!! I hate when people use their anxiety as an excuse to not do something. I have road anxiety in the city, does that stop me… NO!!! Thank God for my husband because he is the reason I have been able to overcome all this. He makes me drive or he makes me do something that could potentially make me anxious because its life and I HAVE to get over it and do it!
I know that some of these tips may not work for everyone and that I may sound harsh but the reality of the situation is, it happens, accept it, fix the problem and get on with your life!!! I am not letting my PD get me down and neither should you! It’s a process and this isn’t a magic spell to fix it, however it is the necessary tools that can help you deal. Just know you’re not alone, youre not the only person in the world dealing with this… You can learn to control it!