If you have an anxiety disorder, you aren’t alone. These mental disorders are more common that you might think, affecting 18% of adults in the United states alone. As for children, one in eight have an anxiety disorder. These disorders are silent. It’s hard to tell that someone suffering if they don’t tell you. For this reason, anxiety can feel very isolating and stressful.
Whether you have an anxiety disorder yourself or you want to understand what a loved one goes through, these are the things no one will tell you about life with anxiety.
When someone isn’t feeling well, we’re quick to make sure that they’re getting support, or just assure them that their medication will help them. While treatment is possible and widely used to dampen the effects of anxiety, it’s not always the best option.
For example, most patients will exhibit symptoms of other physical or mental disorders and illnesses, the most common being depression. In cases like this, it’s usually recommended that the patient get treatment for their depression first. For some patients, taking medication may not physically hurt them, but if they are already taking a large amount, it may add another layer of mental stress that may be too much to handle.
There are many natural medications that can help. Natural muscle relaxants are gentle on the body, aren’t addictive, and don’t have many side-effects. Kava-6 is a great natural relaxant to take when you start to feel anxious. With that said, you should always speak with your doctor before purchasing any medication at the health food store.
Panic attacks are the crescendo of anxiety. For all sufferers, this experience feels different, but it’s agreed that it’s traumatizing. Many people experience feeling some form of impending doom up until their attack. It is also common to report feeling physical pain and weight somewhere in the body especially the arms, chest, legs or the head. The attack begins with a feeling of being completely overwhelmed. Noise may sound amplified and you might even get a headache. In this stage, it’s incredibly common for people to show all the symptoms of panic.
If you see someone having a panic attack, you should do your best to listen to them. Understand that they might have trouble speaking, but be patient and don’t panic with them. Get them to somewhere where they can rest. Listen to their needs. If they want to be alone, let them and don’t take it personally. Sometimes the best way to calm down is to be completely alone, still, and silent.
If you are having a panic attack, you should always worry about your health first. Don’t stress about feeling like a burden to others. Just as much, you shouldn’t force yourself to make someone happy when you aren’t feeling your best. If you’re having a panic attack and someone wants to coddle you, you can politely tell them to give you space if that’s what you need. You’re the one struggling, not them.
The best way to get over a panic attack or any bout of anxiety is usually to breathe. Take deep breaths, filling up your chest before exhaling. You might know about pranayama, a breathing practice associated with mediation and yoga. For people who feel anxious often, it’s good to adopt pranayama practices even if it’s not possible to make time for yoga.
There are several forms to pranayama. You should choose a beginner breathing practice. One of my favorites is Sama Vritti. This is the even breath pranayama. Inhale for four seconds, then hold for two. Exhale for four more seconds and hold your breath for two.
These breathing exercises gives the mind something else to focus on besides the stress of the situation. They calm our bodies down. Don’t believe me? Give it a shot—you’ll feel more relaxed.
Find your Happiness
If you’re in the middle of the panic attack, the best thing you can do is calm down. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. Start by finding your happy place. If you’re at home, curl up in a nest in your bed and watch your favorite show or read a book that makes you feel good. Eat your favorite food or drink a warm cup of tea. If you’re out and about, listen to a favorite song or talk to someone who makes you happy. Give yourself permission to do whatever you need to feel better. You’ll thank yourself for it later.
It’s easy to feel insecure about your anxiety disorder, but there’s no need to be. You are strong. You’ve never allowed your anxiety to define you. If you can muddle through the worst weeks and still deal with the stressors of life head-on, then you’re a real hero. You should never allow your mental illness to change the way you see yourself and you should never, ever feel ashamed. There’s nothing weak about you.
While it can be difficult to deal with severe anxiety, you should keep yourself informed so that you can better cope the next time you or a loved one starts to feel symptoms. Armed with these little-known facts and tips about anxiety, you’ll be better able to face it in the future.