Dealing w/ Anxiety
Updated: May 23, 2020
I believe everyone deals with anxiety in their lifetimes; have you ever felt anxious? Nervous about that test result or worrying about when that nurse is going to bring that shot in to stab you in the hips with? Come on, admit it, we've all been there.
But anxiety truly becomes a problem, when it doesn't pass, or shows more often than average. What is the "average", you ask? Well, when it comes to anxiety, there is no set "average". Everyone is different. But it's when you're worrying and overthinking simple things like leaving your house, or even your bedroom, that it becomes an issue.
Want to hear a secret? Eighty-five percent of the things people stress about, don't come true. Now, that fifteen percent, is what always catches me, and I'm sure if you suffer from anxiety as I do, it grabs you hard and squeezes until you can't breathe and begin to have a panic attack, too.
So, just below I will list the five major types of anxiety one can have, and their symptoms, and how to cope with them best.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
I suffer from GAD myself, so I can personally relate. There are many symptoms of GAD, but the main ones are as follows:
Excessive, constant concern and tension
An impractical view of affairs
Distress or a sense of being "edgy"
Soreness in the muscles
Fatigue Problems falling or catching some Z's
Being nervous or easily startled
The demand to constantly go to the powder room
Irritability or easy to anger
Difficulty in concentrating and focusing
Now I know, some of these may sound truly terrifying, but they are all ones that can be handled, reigned in, and coped with. There are many things to help cope with anxiety. At the end of the article is a list of coping skills for each anxiety disorder.
Everyone is different. But it's when you're worrying and overthinking simple things like leaving your house, or even your bedroom, that it becomes an issue.
Obsessive-Compulsion Disorder (OCD)
OCD is something I believe everyone suffers from to an extent, me? Yes. My food CANNOT touch, no, uh-uh. But, the people that are diagnosed with OCD from a professional, suffer much more than the average person realizes. What are the main symptoms that we don't always see?
Many irregular fears (germs, the cold, rats, though rats is not an irregular fear, in my opinion, the web says it is)
Repetitive thoughts, schedules, rituals that are so intrusive in their thought process that it cannot be ignored
Intolerance for anything imperfect or unright
Fear of certain things happening if the routine is not complete
Troubles catching the Zs
Again, all of these things sound scary, and many suffer from these in silence, not realizing there are things you can do, and places to reach out to. Reaching out, and asking for help doesn't make you weak, it shows you're strong because you know your limits.
Panic disorder, while not hugely common, does have victims. One point seven percent of adults eighteen to fifty-four suffer from Panic Disorder. That is two point four million people suffering! So, do you worry that you might have it? Well, here are the symptoms, though if you worry seriously you should see a professional.
Sense of impending danger or constant threats.
Fearing death and/or loss of control.
Rapid heart rate
Feeling a tightness in your chest, and inability to breathe
Chills, or hot flashes
And though these symptoms don't seem like much, they can be. Panic attacks are a very serious thing, and shouldn't' be taken lightly. As of writing this, I've had two panic attacks, and they weren't majorly severe.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a very common term, but what is it really? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder caused by traumatic events (sexual trauma, injuring accidents, war, or abusive relationships, etc.) Eight million Americans deal with PTSD, so what exactly do they deal with? The symptoms are as follows:
Agitations or irritability
Hostility and self-destruction
Social isolation and emotional detachment
Loss of interest
Panic attacks (triggered easily)
Do you, like me, know someone who deals with PTSD? Maybe take some of these things into consideration when you're with them, and know they are easily startled by certain things; like how veterans can be scared of fireworks. Please, be considerate.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD or Social Phobia)
Social Anxiety Disorder is something I also have to deal with, and it's more than just I hate people, it is a multitude of things that come into play and can control a person. Below are some examples:
Fear of being judged, noticed, evaluated, humiliated, and/or embarrassed.
Stressing about what may or may not happen when with people
Public speaking anxiety (but honestly, who isn't scared of public speaking?)
Now I suffer personally with SAD or Social Phobia, and so I can very much relate with the above symptoms. The thing about Social Anxiety Disorder is that it is one of the easiest anxieties to cope with; all you need is a good friend that shows you that sometimes yes, you are going to make mistakes and be embarrassed in public, but everyone does that.
It's more than just "I hate people."
Now you must understand, there are many anxieties other than just these. These are just the main five. Imagine each of these anxieties is pages, well there are many subpages if that makes any sense. Don't feel helpless by knowing this, there are many ways to help with anxiety, and people to call. Below is a list of coping skills, though if you deal with serious anxiety, I suggest seeking professional help, and don't be scared to do so, I do it, and it helps.
Art (drawing, painting, sketching; whether on yourself or paper, either one)
Journaling about it
Writing all your worries on a piece of paper and then shredding it
Go for a walk to clear your head and hyper-focus on everything you see
Breathing exercises (breathing in for six seconds, holding it for four, letting it out for six again: repeat)
(This exercise needs construction BEFORE feeling anxious) Put jokes into a laugh box, and when feeling anxious, pull a few out and read them
Look at memes
Make a 'Worry Latter' and deal with each stressful thing one at a time, maybe even pick a friend or family member to help you, and slowly, you will dissolve your worries.
Maybe, to avoid feeling anxious, set a time in your day just for relaxing; find a nice spot, a glass of water, a nice playlist, and relax.
Setting goals is also a good way to manage your anxiety (set low goals, so they're easier to achieve, and you feel better when you achieve them)
Take a cold/hot shower/bath
Call a friend or family member whom you know will understand
Make a list of all the things that could go wrong, and then write all the ways you would fix each situation
Call the anxiety hotline: 1+ 800-647-2642
I hope this article has been helpful! Comment if I'm missing anything!