You believe in yourself. And the biggest step in this process is accepting your anxiety and welcoming it.
The first time it happened, I thought I was dying. I was in the audience of a high school musical, watching my sister perform and something didn’t feel right. I began to sweat and fidget, my stomach felt uneasy, my breathing came short- I was restless. This is where I die.
But it wasn’t death, it was worse. With panic disorder, your body is alive, but your mind is dying. It’s a rush of adrenaline that your body can’t keep up with, so you panic and are restless. Your heart beats fast, your breathing falls short, and you feel as though everyone is watching you. Eyes are on me. What if they notice? I’m a joke. I’ll have no friends. No one will understand. These thoughts all flowed through my mind during an attack. I thought I was alone.
Now I’ve come to notice that attacks aren’t apparent, but if you look closely enough, you will realize you are not alone. Anxiety is a common occurrence in teenagers, young adults, even adults. If you ever feel as though you are alone, look for the “fidgeters”- the ones who are tapping their feet, playing with their hair, looking around the room, seeking an end to their restless mind and body. Those are your companions. You are not alone.
I still panic. I do. It’s not something that just disappears. I’ve just developed ways to prevent the attacks from lasting longer than usual or to stop the attack all together before it occurs. I like to call my strategy “Breathing and Believing”. Here’s how it’s done.
Breathing: Your symptoms of panic are rising. You start to feel restless. Your vision goes blurry and your breath comes short. Control your breathing. It’s easier said than done, it’s true, but you can control it. Take a deep breath in, hold it, and exhale. Repeat about ten times, taking ten deep breaths, slowly exhaling. If this doesn’t work, try a method of breathing I picked up from a yoga video. Take your index finger and pinch one side of your nose. Breath in through the opposite nostril, uncover the other nostril, and exhale through the newly uncovered nostril. Repeat with opposite side. Do this ten times, alternating each side each time. You should begin to regain control of your breath and feel more empowered.
Believing: What do you do when all of those thoughts are rushing through your head, as I mentioned earlier? You believe in yourself. And the biggest step in this process is accepting your anxiety and welcoming it. Think about it, has your panic ever actually killed you? No. And it most likely won’t. Most of the time, an attack reaches its peak and then slowly fades away and you’re left worn out from the adrenaline rush. So, number one, accept that it won’t kill you. When the symptoms start acting up, say “I am in control.” That’s when you try to regulate your breathing. If you start fidgeting and feeling restless, welcome the nervous energy. So, number two, try to expel all of that anxious energy in another way, like bopping your knee up and down or silently counting your fingers to yourself. It sounds a bit crazy, but counting causes you to focus and when you’re focusing, your mind becomes more organized and less anxious. If you’re a religious person or a fan of yoga, meditating helps you reach this sense of self belief and will help you to relax more quickly. If you can figure out how to reach your balance, your level of calm, then it will become easier and easier to limit your panic and carry out your day.
So when the room is spinning and your head is racing
- Believe. and
- You will achieve.
You are free. You are lifted. Go fly.
~Best of Luck
If you have any questions or comments, or any strategies you personally use, feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.