This week I want to talk about anxiety. Considering this is one emotion that can pull your trigger really easily. I like to think of it as a game of Russian roulette (which i wanted to use a photo cover of that but couldn't find one, i suppose a more positive sign is just as good a photo to represent my story) to reiterate that I mean, anxiety is like a game of Russian roulette. Like, is this episode going to cause a breakdown or we chillan and just anxiety ridden?
Until it settles in our bones or we find a way to cope we will not know going to happen next. What I do know, is how to talk about anxiety to the best of my own understanding due to my own personal experiences. Like my piece on depression, which if you have not read that, hop on over to my profile to check that story out.
So, I am gonna get started on these pin points of anxiety here.
1.) What is or what causes anxiety?
What is anxiety?
"Alexa define anxiety" ha
-a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
-desire to do something, typically accompanied by unease.
-a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.
Now that is what you will get when you simply look up what anxiety is, however if you really wanna get it, read someones story and their experience, watch documentaries or movies based on real things you can get into some shoes there to get a better understanding.
Anxiety is like knowing a storm is coming and you're unprepared or knowing you're about to run out of toilet paper during the Covid-19 pandemic. (jokes aside) really, that tingling gut feeling you get when something makes you feel unease is anxiety. Sometimes that isn't always it however a lot of times it can be. Some people don't know they have anxiety or even know how they developed it. That is alright though, just make sure you are aware of your feelings and emotions at all times if possible for you.
A number of things can cause anxiety such as misplaced items you had organized just so, so the OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) you suffer from does not melt. Loudness especially when it is negative, such as conflict in screaming or throwing things/hitting things..... being physical all in general. Rude people, when someone is rude it can push buttons and make the person whom is anxious become worried and question why the other person was rude. Trauma like from toxic relationships of any category: friends, family, significant other.
I mean really the list could go on and on about what causes anxiety and we all have some personal stories we could share as to what relates to anxiety. What makes us feel so worried. Conflict is one of my largest issues. I do not like conflict but let me tell ya, my anxiety likes when I have to fight because my anxiety makes me pretty angry and annoyed and i get so overwhelmed. I have this automatic defense mode I can go into with my anxiety sometimes for no reason.
Speaking of that, sometimes our anxiety doesn't have a reason. Much like depression, sometimes it comes to give you unwanted company. With that you have got to meet it half way because the more you try to run i am sure you have learned you don't get far nor do you get faster, anxiety is good at keeping up, yet it is just as good at getting ahead of you so you feel or become defeated.
2.) Who does Anxiety affect?
Anyone and everyone from mammals to critters. From babies to kids to teens to adults to the elderly. From fish to cats to dogs to deer to lion to ..... the world. Anxiety does not discriminate. No mental illness discriminates. They are bullies and go after what they want, when they want it. (I am unsure if fish actually become anxious however they have behavior changes depending on what is going on in their fish lives so I wouldn't want to doubt them having anxiety.)
I developed anxiety at the age of 5. I mean I don't know if it started earlier than that but age 5 is as far back as my memory will go. As a 5 year old child I would show many signs of anxiety, when I would get in trouble at school and get a voice raised at me or put on time out or blamed for something I tried so hard to prove I didn't do I would start to cry and I would bite my hand so hard I would draw blood. I did not know how else to cope with how I felt. Plus at this age knowing that many adults don't believe children can have such issues (really beats the hell out of me so that's why I am writing these stories.)
My parents didn't understand. They also did't understand when I would hit myself or pull my hair out or destroy my room. They saw a temper tantrum, "go ahead hit yourself some more then!" I was yelled at .... and I did. She shouldn't have said that but... she did. She didn't understand. As a kid i had witnessed far more adult bullshit and drunkenness than I should have. Parents blaming one another for me crying under the kitchen counter then become frustrated with one another more because I didn't want no damn body touching me. Bad fucking juju man.
I remember talking about hating myself because to me, I was the reason things were bad, I have hated myself for a long time now. I will get into that on another article of understandings next time. I found out at some point I was made on accident. I used to wish they didn't keep me, however I am learning how to deal with mentality and coping so.... thanks for making the right mistake this time around, mom and dad.
I have this dog, her name is Lilly. She is a black lab and such a happy baby. My best friend. She came from a sexually.... abusive..... home. She for a long time did not like men, or any male really. 4 almost 5 years later and she is becoming fond of them but, my baby filled with anxiety wouldn't allow hugs. Only petting, back or belly scratching, head rubs. She would not allow you to touch near her bottom, she was afraid of baths ( still is so i cannot use a hose to wash her off). She was filled with anxiety to the core, and over time and working with her she has become a lot better. after 4 almost 5 years she lets me wrap my arms around her and embrace her with love, she allows me to put my head against hers and just sit there like that. I love her. She has come so far.
I have family members who are only children who were dealing with terrible issues at home, parents going crazy, fights all the time, no proper discipline , yelling instead of talking to the kids. It got so bad for one of my nephews that at some point he jumped out of a moving car because he really didn't wanna go to school, had a nervous break down and all. also had a breakdown at school causing him to flip his desk and hurt another child.... he got suspended from the second grade. The other developed body image issues, at one point when he was only 6 years old, refused to eat dinner because he didn't "want to get fat"..... thinking on that again makes my heart want to scream. They got counselling at some point and are doing better and the adults are finally doing better too.
Another family member of mine, my cousin. I love her. Her whole life from being a child to even now in her early adult years has been tainted pretty much and she is aware of things and is ready for change, ready to live. My aunt (her mom) had her fairly cooped up for a long long time, she doesn't know a lot about a lot let alone how to live her life, she is afraid of the world because she was sheltered from it. She gets worried about things too easily, gets overly attached to and or obsessed with something and has a hard time breaking from it. She has finally been confiding in me and friends to understand what is going on and to learn about life. She is one anxious bean, but we all help each other row that boat.
3.) Social anxiety
Just kidding, it's not the end ;)
Social anxiety, as if anxiety its self wasn't already bad enough is very tough to deal with, you walk into a place and say "nope" either right away or within moments of being in said place. I hate the grocery store when I am alone, I especially hate Fred Meyers because man that sucker gets packed! Usually when I go out in public I have a hard time doing it alone and I know others can relate. It's like you are independent but when it comes to anxiety sparking on up, you need some comfort from someone or a pet or something, a distraction of any sort.
It doesn't matter ever how many people there are no matter where you go, especially if they're strangers. There is that "what if" question that starts bombarding you, it feels as if you are being watched and judged like stage fright except..... everywhere. Some people have had bad public experiences that can cause their social anxiety, for instance: My boyfriend won't go to movie theaters. The first and only time we went to the movies was in 2015 or 2016 when the movie 'Unbroken' came out. I had to watch it to get extra credit in my history class. It was nice and the room was almost empty and I really enjoyed the movie as did he, it is 2020 and we haven't gone to another.... now here is where the anxiety part of this story comes in.... i asked him why he doesn't like movie theaters considering the only reason he went with me was for my credits he told me how one day he went to the movies with his friends a while back in say 2013? He was baked as a cake and forgot the stairs were in the middle instead of off to the side, he goes to walk down the steps to go to the bathroom and ended up walking down rows of PEOPLE in their spots!!! HA. he went to the mens room and then left the theater. After that day he didn't go again and still even now refuses to go to one, he gets anxious in those places. Fine by me though, I really don't like the movies plus they're over priced for most stupid movies (I like horror and most horror we have gotten is not worth spending money at the theater for).
If you are a person who goes into public with someone who has social anxiety please make sure they're okay if they seem off, they may say they're fine especially cause we don't wanna say we are anxious cause sometimes it feels like every ones attention is on you and will hear you. Typically we may become more silent while in public/social places, we may fidget with our hands or hair or not be able to stay still. Just ask if they would like to go to a different area, otherwise if there is a bathroom around...... some of us are hiding there.
4.) Intruding thoughts/ sensory overload:
Intruding thoughts like to come in with anxiety when anxiety becomes overwhelming. Intruding thoughts are thoughts that usually one wouldn't have. Or they come in and start waking your anxiety up.
If you want a definition here:
-Unwanted intrusive thoughts are stuck thoughts that cause great distress. They seem to come from out of nowhere, arrive with a whoosh, and cause a great deal of anxiety. The content of unwanted intrusive thoughts often focuses on sexual or violent or socially unacceptable images.
Let me tell you how NOT fun intrusive thoughts can be. Even the sexual ones (they're not what you think) I wouldn't say something like "oh hey let me throw my phone off the golden gate bridge" though. No. It's more like, if you vocalize these thoughts, especially to one who does not know about or understand intruding thoughts, they would probably think you're psycho or need some type of serious help. Yes, they can get THAT bad.
Sensory overload, interesting subject I have learned about and helped explain a lot for myself.
-Sensory overload occurs when one or more of the body's senses experiences over-stimulation from the environment. There are many environmental elements that affect an individual. Examples of these elements are urbanization, crowding, noise, mass media, technology, and the explosive growth of information.
-Mental health conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder and PTSD can also trigger sensory overload. Anticipation, fatigue, and stress can all contribute to a sensory overload experience, making senses feel heightened during panic attacks and PTSD episodes.
The examples in bold I made that way to point out the things that really trigger my episodes. When I become overloaded I have to find a quiet and confined space, sometimes that's the bathroom counter, sometimes it's my vehicle, other times it's the corner of the wall in my room and pillows piled up beside me. But when it happens during panic attacks I end up hyperventilating and i have to sit with my knees to my chest and my forehead pushed against my knees, other times I need someone else there to calm me down because I hyperventilate so bad it triggers an asthma attack.
If you find yourself being bombarded by intrusive thoughts try to drown them out. It isn't as easy as it seems, however it is worth a shot. I know its not cool sitting there feeling utterly uncomfortable because of your brains weird choice of thoughts. Try scream singing in your head or think about something appealing to the human eye, name off random fruits or random anything. I cannot promise it helps but at least it is some way to change your train of thought or "train wreck of thoughts" rather.
My tips for coping with anxiety and all of its faults are here below:
-count backwards from whatever number
-read anything and everything around you in a room or on the street, where ever you may be, read things.
-tap your finger tips together (sometimes I apply this with counting, I do it rapidly until I forget what and why I am doing this)
-name five things you love or one name off your senses in that moment: what can you taste, what do you hear, what do you feel (physically... cause... senses) what do you see, what do you smell?
-name your emotion and deal with it. what I mean is I am feeling anxious and I don't want to, lets name anxiety Kyle. Kyle is making me feel weird, he is being rude and not respecting my personal space. (it feels stupid but can become amusing)
-sit on the floor with your back against the wall and breathe (1,2,3)
last but not least.... remember that you are not alone. You are cared for and loved, and you aren't the only one on this ship.
until next time!
oh yeah and guys? SMILLLEEE <3 :)