Inside the Mind Of People With Anxiety And Tips On How To Cope With It

Inside the Mind Of People With Anxiety And Tips On How To Cope With It

2413
views

It's a beautiful day: the sun is out, the temperature is perfect, and the birds are chirping. It seems like a normal day of school, work, and hanging out with friends later. But, out of the blue, you start to worry: "What if I don't do good in school today?" "What if work is overwhelming?" "What if I'm too anxious to hang out with my friends?" At school, you begin to have racing thoughts and begin to feel jittery and tense. At this point, you aren't focusing on the lecture anymore and wonder if you will be able to make it through work. Then, work rolls around, and what should be a normal day turns into an anxiety-filled fiasco. You are shaking and you feel overwhelmed. Then, you start to feel alone because you don't know how to handle this situation; you even start crying. When work is done, you go home and cancel the plans you made with your friends because you can't handle any more stress for the day. Instead, you stay home feeling physically and mentally exhausted and have a constant thought that you ruined the day and feel absolutely terrible for doing so.

How menacing does that sound? This is what anxiety looks like: Constantly worrying when nothing is wrong. Some people experience this every day, while others have bouts of mild anxiety or panic attacks. 3.1 percent of the population meets the criteria for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), the most common of the anxiety disorders, during a given one-year period; 5.7 percent of people experience GAD at some point during their lifetime (Barlow, Durand, 131). Although there are several different branches of anxiety, this article will focus on GAD, what it feels like to have anxiety, and what people experience when they have an anxiety attack. This article will also mention non-medication ways that help people cope with their anxiety.

How A Person With Anxiety Feels

First off, many people don't know that anxiety is a physical problem as well as a psychological problem. "Anxiety is a negative mood state characterized by bodily symptoms of physical tension and by apprehension about the future, or a physiological response originating in the brain and reflected in elevated heart rate and muscle tension" (Barlow, Durand, 123). I'm sure all of us have felt this before, and in the right doses, anxiety is healthy for us. A good example is anxiety before finals, which drives us to do our best. However, when this anxiety becomes constant or chronic, you may have an anxiety disorder. An example is when anxiety lasts throughout the school year when you have light work and you are doing very well.

Savannah is a college student who has GAD. Despite being diagnosed with depression and anxiety at age 16, she has experienced anxiety as young as age 4. "I remember being as young as 4 years old, sobbing in bed in the middle of the night contemplating my many "mistakes" and how my life was going to turn out as a result of them," Savannah wrote. "I also get paranoid like I'm going to flunk school, die alone, or never be happy." Many people also experience this type of uneasiness, like Savannah has. Other symptoms of anxiety are muscle tension, which could lead to physical fatigue. This, plus sleep disturbances and overthinking, cause people with anxiety to be exhausted most of the time.

What An Anxiety Attack Feels Like

"Have you ever been dozing off for a nap, but then jolt awake because you felt like you were falling for a split second? An anxiety attack is exactly like that feeling in your chest, but it can go on for hours, or even days." This is what Savannah described as an anxiety attack. Sounds pretty terrible doesn't it? No matter how many times a person with an anxiety attack tells themselves to calm down and that there is nothing wrong, they still have the feeling. Chest pains, racing heart beat, sweating, shakiness, dizziness, and nausea are also symptoms of an anxiety attack. It is a serious detriment to their everyday activities, like school, work, and even hanging out with friends, which should be a relaxing time!

Non-Medicated Coping Methods For People With Anxiety

So how does one deal with constant anxiety on a day-to-day basis? Well, some people go through the day trying to ignore it with little success in getting rid of it, others self-medicate. However, there are healthier and more beneficial ways to deal with constant anxiety. Although it won't cure anxiety, it will help one cope with this problem.

Meditation! This is a great way to help bring one's mind to ease. Meditation takes some practice, but it is an excellent way to help calm and refocus the mind. Picking a quiet place in your house and listening to calming music or being in complete silence is the best.

When anxious, another helpful strategy is to touch your surroundings. This is what Savannah's therapist told her to do. "I thought it sounded ridiculous, but honestly, it brings me back to reality. Knowing my surroundings and literally feeling that I'm stable is a powerful argument against worries," she wrote. She also mentioned that keeping the brain stimulated is a great way to cope with anxiety. For example, reading, writing, doing puzzles, and maybe even playing a video game.

Exercise is also a wonderful coping mechanism. It doesn't have to be strenuous exercise to work. Just taking a simple walk through nature could calm anxiety. It's much better to "walk it off" than sit and think about it. However, exercise is not for everyone with anxiety, as it could heighten their chances of an anxiety attack.

For other options, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or medication, go to a doctor. By no means are these options able to treat anxiety and by no means am I a doctor! So for more information on the diagnosing of anxiety and treatment options, please see a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

Bringing Awareness To Anxiety

Anxiety is a serious issue for many people. It disrupts their daily lives and makes them a living hell. Unfortunately, people can't put their lives on hold for this issue, especially because it could go on for several years. I want to bring awareness to anxiety so that more people understand that it is a real struggle for people out there. If you know someone with anxiety, or you have it, understand that it isn't their fault and sometimes they can't control when they are anxious or when they have an anxiety attack.

Be aware and care!

Citations

Durand, V. Mark. "Anxiety, Trauma- and Stressor-Related, and Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders." Abnormal Psychology. By David H. Barlow. 7th ed. Stamford: Cengage Learning, 2015. N. pag. Print.

Savannah. Message to the author. 4 July 2015. E-mail.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.mommyedition.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/anxiety-disorders.jpg?f8b79e
Cover Image Credit: http://wotguru.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/hello-my-name-is-anxiety-1.png

Popular Right Now

It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
899126
views

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Not Only Does Lack Of Sleep Make You Cranky, But It Also Affects Your Relationships

In fact, the lack of sleep affects your ability to fully engage in healthy and long-lasting relationships.

134
views

When I'm sleep deprived, I feel like the world is almost coming to an end. I'm the most cranky and irritable when I experience a lack of sleep. I'm sure many of you can relate to this and the struggles of it. It is one of the worst feelings to have because most of your actions get affected by it.

Sleep is an essential component in our lives because it provides us with the energy and resilience required to tackle memories and obstacles during the day. Usually, people who are sleep deprived will end up forgetting to complete simple tasks such as putting salt while cooking or picking something up from the patio. The inability to forget to do simple tasks stems from the lack of sleep experienced by many young adults like me.

As college students, we tend to underestimate the paramount importance of getting that target "8 hours" of sleep. Feeling sleepy while at a lecture is the eye-catching symptom for most sleep-deprived students and it is something that happens to me. In the same manner, sleep is closely tied to your relationships as well.

Recent studies have highlighted the fact that the amount of sleep you get does indeed affect your relationships. In fact, the lack of sleep affects your ability to fully engage in healthy and long-lasting relationships. You will most likely end up not reciprocating to what your significant other expects from you and that will end up straining the relationship even more. For instance, imagine if your S.O. wants to speak to you about something extremely important i.e. a life-changing decision. If you or your S.O. are sleep deprived, the conversation will go nowhere and chances are both of you will end up fighting.

Hence, sleep is crucial for the longevity of relationships as well as for your mental peace. Establishing a common bedtime is key towards developing a more closer bond with each other. In addition, mutual respect for each other's sleep patterns and work schedules plays a huge role in strengthening a couple's relationship. If both partners are able to balance their respective schedules, then they will still be able to spend some quality time together. Keep in mind, the cliché "8 hours" of sleep is extremely vital for a well-rested mind and body! You will end up becoming more productive throughout the day if you are not sleep deprived.

Related Content

Facebook Comments