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

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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

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

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It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.




These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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An Open Letter to Soda

You're both good and bad, but you never fail to satisfy me.

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Dear soda,

How do I even begin to describe my connection to you? I have shared countless moments with you that we're both my best and my worst. Above all, you fill me up better than water, milk and juice ever do. And even though you're as equally unhealthy as alcohol is (no offense), you're always the safer, if not the most refreshing choice. But even so, you give me more calories than I want in one meal, although burning off that kind of energy is second nature to me.

Before I lavish you with compliments and thank you for cooling me down on hot summer days, it's time to get the unpalatable truth about you and nutrition, soda. You're a primary reason why I'm not in the best shape of my life. Every time I try to have that extra little bit of muscle, you end up setting me back. It's so easy for me to crave for you, because of how delicious you are, and the sugar high you give me is absolutely amazing compared to what I get eating candy and all those other sweets.

I know it's really puzzling for a writer like me to be writing an open letter to a beverage, but you're actually a pretty big part of my life. Why? Because you don't just quench my thirst on hot days, or affect my upset stomach for better or worse, you give me just a smidgen more energy than coffee and tea do. The caffeine in you isn't good for me in the long run, but I need it on a regular basis so I don't zone out during my classes. Honestly, without you, I don't feel as uninhibited as I like to be.

What I love the most about you is that you come in numerous flavors, and even though it's scientifically proven to be ineffective and also tastes worse than gruel, you come in diet form. In every restaurant and cafeteria, you get your own fountain, and students like myself prefer to go there instead of the coffee machines. The hiss of fizz when I open you up makes my mouth water, chills go up my spine and I never resist that first taste of your sugary carbon. Out of all the flavors you offer, I love root beer, cream soda, grape, orange, ginger ale and Dr. Pepper the most. The possibilities with you are so endless.

Soda, the best thing you've ever done for is satisfy me when I didn't feel satisfied.

From one of your many friends,

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https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2018/01/25/08/14/beverages-3105631_960_720.jpg

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