I always thought my first experience with a panic attack was when I was around the age of 10. My mom recently informed me otherwise.
We are at our best when nothing bothers us – mentally and emotionally. But try doing something while you have anxiety that seems out of control. Surely, you will under-perform or fall below the quality of your outputs. Isn’t that then a compelling reason why learning how to manage our anxiety and put everything under control especially on times when we really need so is badly important? Bet you agree with that. Do you? So, here’s the good thing: we are capable of handling it under any circumstances. How? Now that’s another question to settle.
Performance anxiety is something almost everyone will experience at some point in their life. Whether it’s speaking in public, facilitating a course or training, doing a presentation or more importantly… performing as a musician! Most people suffer from some form of performance anxiety, whether it's just a few tummy flutters or full on stage fright!
I know we have touched upon the difference between anxiety and depression and the lovely grey area in-between but today is all about our friend anxiety. Today we are looking to my life living with unmanaged anxiety. Anxiety affects many people in many ways and for me it is ADHD tendencies. I become unfocused and unable to sit still. I become very fidgety and sensory dependent.
These walls that once seemed so familiar to me is now unfamiliar in the sense of I cant get a hang of what it is that I see. I feel like I am a monkey that doesn't know how to hang on the same tree she was just hanging on, just before you met her. Heart racing, mind pounding, I don't think thats what I meant to say, I think I meant to say heart thinking, mind beating, thats not right either, either way, this is how my brain is functioning in the same place I used to be okay. Key word is used to in the sense of no longer, no longer capable of breathing how I used to. No longer capable of smiling in the way that I used to. No longer able to live like I used to, because this feeling of how i'm feeling is not something i'm used i'm not feeling too chipper even though I feel i'm supposed to, and i'm not too happy with feeling i'm how supposed to, knowing my heart is thudding out of my chest. Like a baby chick stuck in its egg, or a baby bird that can't fly out of its nest, I am not at my best, and this is my talking in a manner of being pretentious, but I cant help it i'm selfish.
Anxiety was one of my earliest diagnosis back when I was 17. It hung around for a few years but between the ages of 21 to 25, it barely effected me at all. This is how that happened.
Everything was orange. The entire night glowed with the light from the street lights. The shadows were long and opaque stretching over the concrete sea across from the football stadium. It was if we were the only car in the parking lot. Yet, we were surrounded by dingy Civics and hatchbacks stuffed, to their torn headliners, of personal belongings - backpacks, plastic bins for organization, homework. The seats inside her all black 2002 Toyota Tocoma were grey with little blue and red pinstripes. There was nothing particularly flashy about the little truck. It had four doors, all worked accordingly. The seats were used but not torn or dirty - except for the cigarette hole in the passenger-side backseat. I am still unsure how it got there, whatever memory responsible for creating that blemish had been forgotten since I had entered her world. We both shared the front-right seat. Half cuddling, half crammed between the opposing armrests, the window, the center console, and the glovebox. This was not a space built for two people. Her head was nested in that little pocket between my arm, shoulder, and chest. In those moments we felt like the only people in the world. That moment felt eternal. Time was neither happening nor had happened. We simply sat there and endured.
“You know why? You’ve got a stupid head.”
Anxiety. A word that everyone knows of but, not all understand. What is anxiety? Well, there are multiple definitions of the word. For me, anxiety is always worrying about a situation that can be either big or small. Here are some examples of anxiety.