Like many people I struggle with anxiety. You are not alone. 40 million adults in the U.S. also suffer from anxiety.
I bet you would’ve never guessed that for most of yesterday’s show I was having an internal panic attack. Why? Just because. I woke up yesterday feeling like my heart was going to explode out of my chest and it continued throughout the day.
I’ll never forget the first time I experienced a panic attack. It felt like the whole room was closing in on me and as if I was outside of my body, which I later learned in therapy is called “disassociation.” The anxiety and panic attacks worsened from there. I felt anxious first thing in the morning, throughout the day, and before I went to bed. I even felt anxious in my sleep. My panic attacks stopped me from even wanting to be out in public out of shame and embarrassment.
I felt scared, uncertain, and that no one else could possibly feel what I was feeling. This led me down a hole of depression for a handful of months. Then, I sought therapy.
Am I cured and anxiety-free? No. But I’ve accepted that anxiety is a part of me; not me. I’ve noticed that over the years my anxiety comes in waves and different forms than before such as pacing all around the room, labored breathing, and a spiral of negative thoughts. But I’ve learned how to manage it.
I’m not a licensed professional and I don’t know your story but the advice I do have if you too experience this is:
- Breathe. I know it sounds cliche but breathe. Put your hand on your chest and breathe in through your stomach and out your nose.
- Find what relaxes you or keeps your brain busy. For me, I found that laying in a warm bath reading a book is what helps. It could be watching your favorite show, going for a walk, cleaning, or working out. Find what works for you.
- Talk to someone. Call a friend or loved one to just talk, it doesn’t even have to be about what you’re feeling. Sometimes having that distraction helps refocus your mind.
- Don’t underestimate the power of prayer.
It doesn’t matter who you are… if you’re rich or poor, what race or religion you are, where you live, or what you do for a living… anxiety and depression don’t discriminate. So if there’s only one thing you take away from today’s ‘Christine-ology’ take away this: you are not alone.