As I sit in my room, feeling the plagues of anxiety soaring through my body, I wonder — why is it so hard to maintain? Experiencing losses while battling depression and anxiety can be life-, mind-, body- and soul-consuming. As someone who’s very spiritual, it explodes inside of me like a volcano forever erupting. I’ve found that keeping busy helps, but the moment I stop moving, it takes over.
Every night at the same time, I’m plagued with the anxieties of the day. The simplest of moments can become a tumbling episode that lasts for hours. Losing friends, losing jobs, losing lovers can turn into losing myself. Anxiety takes over and rips through me like a wave crashing on the shore. I can’t manage a simple goodbye. I can’t manage a simple sever of a relationship. I can’t manage a simple loss of a job when I can easily find another. It’s too much.
Why wasn’t I good enough? What did I do wrong? Why didn’t it last this time? Why? When? How?
The plaguing questions of anxiety. My mind telling me I’m not enough. The soul being crushed inside of me — the light draining from within me — and I lose myself.
Why is this happening to me?
I’ve tried everything at this point. I’ve walked. I’ve tried to talk, but the words escape me. I’ve tried to pull myself together, but the anxiety has taken over. I can feel it in my bones. Nothing seems enough.
As someone who deals with anxiety, I don’t just lose friendships or lovers — I lose myself. I don’t just lose jobs — I lose my will to keep going, to keep fighting. Everything stops. My world crashes. I can no longer function. Because something inside me says, “You lost it. This is your fault. You can’t come back from this.” My mind play tricks on me. Constantly.
At this point, anxiety doesn’t just plague my mind, it plagues all of me. It stops me from making new friends. Finding new jobs. Looking for new love. Looking for other pieces of myself. It stops me from being who I am, because something inside me tells me I can’t go on, I can’t keep moving. I have to stop everything I am doing, and I have to panic.
Anxiety is more than just breathing into a bag and overreacting. It’s more than sweaty palms and short breathing. It’s a mindset. It’s a way of life. It’s consuming. It’s all I feel I am sometimes. But it isn’t the only part of me. It is only a piece — though at times, it can feel like every part.
When confronting loss, anxiety consumes my mind, it consumes my body, and I am lost. All I can do — all I try to do — is fight.
In cases like these, it can be hard for others around us to know exactly what to do to help us through. Here are a few tips to ease that:
- Don’t panic. Be gentle. Stay calm when we can’t. Talk us through it. Ask questions like: “Are you OK?” “How can I help you through this?” “Is there anything I can do?” “What can I say to ease your mind?”
- Ease our minds. Remind us we are valuable and things may be hard, but — as always — we can work through them and get back to our best selves.
- Don’t tell us it’s not a big deal. Instead, remind us things happen and even though our minds may play tricks on us, we can work through it.
- For some, physical comfort can be a huge help. Make sure it’s OK to hold our hand, touch us, or rub our shoulders.
- Remind us to take deep breaths and take them with us. Breathing patterns can fluctuate during panic attacks, and we sometimes forget to do the simplest things — like breathe.
- Remind us of our coping skills — writing, reading, painting, going for a walk — and help us to get them started to help ease the pressures of the anxiety and pent up energies.
For those who struggle with anxiety, here are a few helpful tips to get you through it as well:
- Count to 10. It can take the mind off the sudden flow of thoughts that tend to bombard us.
- Take deep breaths. Breathe in slow, breathe out slow. Breathing techniques can help to ease the heart and mind.
- Write it out. Write what happened and what you’re feeling. It can help organize the thoughts and release the pent up energies the anxiety can create.
- Reach out to your support system — people you can count on to help you through the anxieties. Tell them what happened and how you’re feeling. This can also help relieve the pressure and organize your thoughts.
- Go for a walk. Fresh air, sunlight and/or the physical activity can help clear the mind and relax your body while lessening the physical pressure of your energies.
If you struggle with anxiety, everyday feelings and thoughts can seem like a plethora of pain. And this can be heightened when dealing with facing certain life events. Remember, you are not alone.
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