When I have racing thoughts, feel overwhelmed, and feel like things are out of control, it becomes a major struggle to feel a sense of calm. Calmness becomes difficult to achieve, at least at the moment, because it’s so hard to quiet all of the worries, racing thoughts, and resulting symptoms that accompany anxiety, especially when you experience a panic attack. And so what I’ve found is that this will lead me to behaviors that will pull me away from being over-stimulated.
Do you know the feeling when you successfully book your flight and accommodation for a vacation? No, not the feeling of excitement -- the uncertain feeling in the pit of your stomach that tells you something might go wrong on the trip. That feeling is trip anxiety.
Something that I have learned about my anxiety is that it won't go away. It has been something that I have coped with since I was a teenager, possibly even earlier than that, and it is never going to go away. But there are things that I can do to lessen the effects of anxiety.
For people with anxiety, being assertive and upfront about how they feel and what they think can be hard. As someone with social anxiety disorder, I was no different.
A part of being chronically anxious includes constant worry about what might happen in the future. But what I've also experienced is that along with this is not just the worry, but the fear of not being good enough, of feeling like you don't meet up to certain standards, and feeling like a failure.
When my phone lights up with a notification from Instagram, I immediately open the app and start scrolling. Scrolling on Instagram is quite addictive, and I cannot seem to stop once I start. This doesn't just waste my time but also has detrimental effects on my mental health. From body image issues to low self-esteem, using Instagram is anxiety-inducing.
Over the years, I have learned so much about my anxiety, not only through formal education but also simply through taking the time to analyze what I am going through. Some might say that this is just a part of dealing with anxiety -- the overthinking and the constant overanalyzing of what you feel, think, and do. But I think it has also been helpful because it has helped me recognize my triggers and anxiety symptoms. It has also helped me figure out things I can do that are helpful for me. One of those things is leaning into my anxiety and accepting the anxiety instead of running away from it.
"Wow, you look so pretty in that dress." -- Compliments like these are hard to accept when you have anxiety.
After years of coping with anxiety and trying to understand it, I've learned that one of the things that affect how I feel is how others feel. In other words, I've found myself quite empathic towards the feelings of others. For me, empathy and anxiety occur together.
Ever since I was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, I have always perceived my anxiety as a bully and as my worst enemy. I hated that I struggled with anxiety and wanted nothing more than to get rid of it. Why wouldn't I? After all, my anxiety had stolen many opportunities and experiences I could have had if it hadn't made my day-to-day social interactions so tough. However, all of this changed when I learned to acknowledge the ways in which my anxiety has helped me and started expressing gratitude towards my anxiety.