I almost feel kind of selfish for writing this post. I say that because my anxiety could be a lot worse than what it actually is or what other people feel. Yet, here I am wanting to talk about it because it has played a big role in my life even without me noticing it. Here is my story and if you can relate, I would love to hear from you or hear your story. Everyone has a different story about their struggle with anxiety, some rarely get it and others get it every day and then there's those who are in between. Regardless, I am here to tell my story in regards to how it all started and why I think it did in the first place. I will also talk about the steps I have taken to reduce my anxiety.
It all started when I was in middle school and I think what really sparked it was my depression. I have had depression for as long as I can remember. I would get these terrible feelings of death that would linger over me and it was all just horrible. Those started when I was about 11 and I became obsessed with death and suicide. However, that is a whole other topic in itself. Anyways, my depression led to me having anxiety because I didn't know WHY I was feeling or thinking these terrible thoughts. I thought something was terribly wrong with me and I couldn't control these feelings of despair and darkness.
I started doing strange things to cope with the anxiety I was feeling. I would stay in my room for hours on end and write about the anxious and dark feelings that I had, along with sleeping way too much. I would also not sleep at all at some points and developed insomnia and had to skip most days at school to catch up on my sleep.
At the time I only had one friend my age and would play with the neighborhood kid next door who was 6 years old when I was 12 or 13. This was certainly weird behavior, since I felt like it was a chore to have to talk to people my own age. I dreaded it. Every time I talked to someone my own age I thought in my head "They don't have the same depressing thoughts that I do, so what's the point?" I kept this mentality up for a long time and it actually really worsened my anxiety altogether.
Avoiding people definitely worsened my anxiety. So by the time high school came around I was even more nervous. I would get these terrible feelings of anxiety when I talked to people because I thought they were judging me. I was in an A'capella group of mostly seniors and juniors and I was one of the only freshmen. It was me and my friend and we were the only Freshmen who were in the group. I got a solo and was sooo scared of singing it in front of all the boys in the room. I felt like all eyes were on me and I couldn't stand that feeling.
Lucky for me, with lots of practice, my social anxiety went away within a couple of years. Things that were once so terrifying to me, were suddenly not so bad. And then all of a sudden I had to apply to colleges. I was someone who got pretty good grades in high school. They weren't amazing but they were manageable, but the idea of college scared me more than anything in the world. Around this time, was the first time I experienced a panic attack when I was thinking about my future, and it was in my car while I was driving.
This then led to me being TERRIFIED of riding in cars, being in cars and driving. I don't share this with most people, but I would rather break both of my arms than be in a car for more than two hours. It is a nightmare for me. I hate the highway; the cars that speed ahead of you. I hate when it gets dark and I hate being in the car with someone when I am not used to their driving. I have had multiple panic attacks in cars. Some even happened outside of the car when I was just thinking about it.
I have several fears: cars, small spaces, being abandoned and not finishing college or getting to where I want to in life. Listing these fears makes them seem so small like they could just all fit in my hand. These are things that give me anxiety now. Sometimes the anxiety is so bad that I can't sleep and I throw up because I am so scared. However, one thing is for sure, I know that there are things I can do to help ease it.
One thing that really helps me get all of my nerves out is working out. And when I say working out, I mean sweating my ass off and really working hard. This may sound terrible to some of you, but it actually makes me feel so much better and leaves me feeling relaxed and refreshed. Also essential oils help tremendously. I have a diffuser (which I am using at this very moment) and I put a few drops of whatever essential oil I am feeling and turn it on. Ta-da! Goodbye anxiety!
Another helpful tool for calming down anxiety is writing. I am not afraid to say that I have a journal (two actually). And they are so good for when you have a racing mind (I always do), to calm down the nervous energy and transform it into something you can make sense of. Also calling someone you trust when you get anxious is great and it's free and it will help so much to put you in a better state of mind1
These are all great ways to reduce anxiety and stress and I hope my story helped you to know that if you are struggling with anxiety, you are not alone! I am someone you can reach out to! Anxiety is something that you can tackle and I hope you choose to like I have! I think this has been a good first blog! Sorry if it was kind of heavy but I will only be posting truth on here and I can't wait for more posts to come!
See you next time! -Lola