Mental Health Awareness: Anxiety

Hello beautiful readers! This week I want to start off with a topic that I’m familiar with. Today I want to talk a little bit about anxiety. Yes, many today are dealing with anxiety on a daily basis. But what it anxiety? I’m not a professional but I’m here to share what I do know and what I’ve researched. Let’s get to it.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is your body’s natural responds when stress arises. It’s a feeling of nervousness, worry and fear. For example, many people experience anxiety before a job interview, first day of school, first date or public speaking. Anxiety is a normal feeling but when it becomes extreme and last several months and starts interfere with your life, it could possibly be an anxiety disorder. If you are experiencing feelings like this, please reach out to your doctor and see what is best for you.

Anxiety disorder is different for everyone. Not everyone experiences same symptoms. Anxiety disorder can affect how a person processes emotions and affects their behaviors. It could cause physical symptoms as well like stomachaches, weakness, rapid breathing or shortness of breath and my favorite, headaches and more. There is mild anxiety and severe anxiety and that can affect your day to day life. There several types of anxiety disorder. Again, keep in mind that everyone experiences anxiety differently when diagnosed with one of these disorders.

Types of Anxiety Disorders:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): This anxiety is long-lasting and brings worry about nonspecific things like health, work, life events or objects and could affect many areas of your life. For some people, they aren’t able to identify what causes the anxiety. From doing research, this is the most common anxiety disorder.

Phobia (or Specific Phobia): This is when a person has excessive fear to a specific object, situation or activity.

Even though I’m not diagnosed with this anxiety disorder I can definitely relate to it. I have a HUGE fear of spiders. A toy spider, a picture of a spider or a baby spider, you name it! Keep it away! I went on the Harry Potter ride in Universal Studios in California (HUGEST mistake I made) and I didn’t know there were going to be giant spiders on the ride. I was excited and thought it was pretty neat how the chairs were set up, so I sat and the ride began. We stopped in this dark room, the lights were out and all of the sudden 6-8 red colored circles start floating in the air and then I see these 6 legged creatures climbing down from the ceiling and that’s when I realize I was surrounded by baby spiders. Panic kicked in, then the lights did a quick flash and there it was, a giant spider right in front of me coming my way. This is how it went. I closed my eyes and began to scream from the top of my lung! (And I don’t scream like that) but my body was tense and I was gripping my chair so tight with tears rolling down my eyes, I literally thought it was the end of my life! I was TERRIFIED. I thought these monstrous spiders were out to get me. At the end of the ride my siblings and friends asked if I was okay and had a few laughs but apparently I was so loud they got worried. Never ever will I go on that ride again. Probably not related to this but I just thought I would share.

Panic Disorder: These attacks come at unexpected times and escalate rapidly. Attacks could last for 10 mins and there’s some that could last for hours. People with this disorder could live in fear of the next panic attack that will arrive. These attacks can happen by a trigger (feared object, situation).

Agoraphobia: This is my first time hearing about this phobia but according to research it’s an intense fear and avoidance of one or more of these situation listed below:

  • Public Transportation
  • Being in Open Spaces
  • Enclosed Spaces
  • Standing in line or be in a crowd
  • Outside of home alone

Separation Anxiety Disorder: High level of anxiety when separated from a person or place that provides feelings of security. This is often thought of something only a child would deal with but adults can be diagnosed with separation issues as well. Some worry that if they are away from their loved ones, something might happen to them.

Social Anxiety Disorder: This is a fear of being judged negatively by others. This can cause people diagnosed with this disorder to stray away from social settings and other activities. This includes the fear of:

  • Intimacy
  • Humiliation
  • Stage fright
  • Rejection

Out of all these anxiety I feel like I can relate to this one the most and I will write an article sometime this month about it or sometime this year. It’s definitely not fun to deal with.

Selective Mutism: This is one I’ve haven’t heard of before until I did research. It’s a rare disorder. This is when people fail to speak in specific social situations even if they have normal language skills. This is associated with:

  • Extreme Shyness
  • Fear of Social Embarrassment
  • Compulsive Traits
  • Withdrawals
  • Clinging Behaviors
  • Temper Tantrums

Those that are diagnosed with this disorder are also diagnosed with other anxiety disorders.

Ways to Cope with Anxiety:

There are a few ways to cope with anxiety. Even though anxiety doesn’t go away there are things that can help maintain your anxiety. Like some of the things I will mention below:

  • Make time for yourself – make sure you make time for yourself each day from you busy schedule. Even if it’s just 10-20 mins. Take time to listen to music, go for a run, read a book, etc.
  • Get enough sleep – enough sleep will get you in a better mood and make your body feel well rested.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine – this is something I recently did. I cut down on my caffeine intake (coffee). I love coffee! But I knew it didn’t help me, especially at work, so I decided to switch to decaf coffee and drink 1 cup of caffeinated coffee. It helped out tremendously (I will discussing my love for coffee and my coffee schedule sometime this year). Back to the topic, this can trigger panic attacks and increase anxiety.
  • Eat a well balance healthy meal and exercise daily – eating healthy can help your body sustain energy and exercise makes your body feel good. Don’t skip meals.
  • Laugh – have you ever heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine”? Well I like to say that’s true. Laughter can really turn that frown upside down.

Anxiety can be hard to deal with but remember you aren’t alone. Many out there understand how it feels to live with anxiety on a daily basis. Reach out to a professional if you feel like you need help. Take it one day at a time and write down what makes you feel happy and ways that will help you cope with your anxiety. Remember to take deep breathes and relax.

*The information I’m giving here is research I did and what I know about anxiety and put it all in one article for you. I’m not a professional but something I do have an intense interest on and would love to continue to learn.

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