The Truth About Anxiety

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With living in such a fast passed, “go, go, go” world, it’s no surprise that so many of us deal with some higher levels of anxiety.

Many things can bring us a sense of stress, overwhelming pressure, and anxiety. One person’s reasoning for these feelings of panic does not have to coincide with another’s, and no person’s fear is any more or less valid than another’s. Your fears are you fears. And although we are all aware that it can be helpful to face your fears (whether in desensitizing steps, or head on), sometimes this feeling of loss of control or defeat is inevitable. After all, we are only human.

I found an amazing article about this very topic titled, “When Fear and Panic Win: How to Deal with Anxiety“. I felt as if this article really brings to light the realness of anxiety- and why you shouldn’t feel alone, or ashamed, for experiencing it. The article’s author, Varonica Frye, also lists some ways to help face your anxiety, and how to learn to accept it, instead of trying to force yourself out of it; or convince yourself that you are wrong or have illegitimate reasons for feeling the way that you do.

Here is an excerpt from When Fear and Panic Win: How to Deal with Anxiety :

1. You are not alone.

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 18 percent of adults in the United States experience an anxiety disorder. That’s at least 50 million people! And when you add in what’s likely to be similar rates around the world, that figure grows even more.

When you’re struggling with fear, it’s easy to feel like you’re alone and no one else goes through what you go through. Anxiety is way more common than you think, and while it’s sad that it affects so many people, you can use that knowledge to lighten up on any judgment you make of yourself.

2. With that said, there is nothing to be ashamed of.

Fear, anxiety, and panic don’t make you defective or broken; they make you human. When I experienced a panic attack, I would find myself feeling ashamed. Like I was wearing a scarlet letter, branding me as a worthless person.

Ever notice how people who suffer from a physical challenge like arthritis or poor vision or a broken leg don’t as often feel guilty about their condition? It’s just something that they are dealing with. They are not lesser people because of it. It’s the same with fear-related struggles.

There is nothing wrong with you if you struggle with fear, anxiety, or panic attacks. It’s just something that you’re dealing with.

3. Sometimes fear wins, but it’s how you bounce back that matters.

If I’ve learned one thing thus far in this journey of life, it’s that there’s always something to work through. This means that while you might be accomplished in dealing with fear in one area (for example, I’ve developed the ability to go to social events by myself, in spite of fear), you might come across other areas that you want to work on, and that’s just life.

The power comes in recognizing this, acknowledging that you’ve had a setback and then picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and trying again some other time. In that way, fear may win a small skirmish, but not the long-term battle.

4. Sometimes fear wins, but it’s what you learn that matters.

Again, fear doesn’t win for long or at all if you learn something about yourself or life through the process.

When I panicked on the train and at the theatre and immediately went into self-hatred and judgment, I realized just how much I was loving myself with conditions. When things went well, I felt pretty good about myself, but as soon as I felt anxious, I snatched that love away.

True self-love comes from accepting yourself as you are, not from waiting until you are perfect. It’s about loving yourself in spite of what you feel might be wrong, and not because nothing is wrong. Let those things that you find lacking in your life make you love yourself more.

Learning to use the panic attack as a signal to love myself more has made me feel safe in my own body to experience whatever it is that happens to come up.

5. And in addition to self-love, learn to treat yourself with extreme care and kindness.

Pretend you’re dealing with a small child who is terrified. What would you do? Probably not yell, judge, or berate the child. You would likely give the child a hug, offer to buy them a treat, play with them, or try to make them laugh.

Pretend you are that child. Give yourself what you would give that child. In many ways we all carry around our child self, even when we become adults.

6. Who you have in your corner outside of yourself also makes a difference.

Fear can be so isolating. It’s easier to retreat to the safety of your own known thoughts than it is to chance being exposed or judged by another. At least that’s what I used to believe.

I now believe that fighting fear completely alone can be so much harder. Having at least one person in your corner who you can talk to about your fears and your bouts with anxiety can help you keep moving forward. Someone who can say to you the things that you have a hard time saying to yourself. Someone who is kind and caring and can help you learn how to be kind and caring to yourself by internalizing their words.

7. And finally, panic feeds on running.

It’s the running that makes things worse, so find ways to stay with what’s happening.

I’ve been learning more about what happens in our bodies when we have a panic attack, and it’s essentially a fear-symptoms-fear cycle.

You feel or think a scary thought. Your body responds with the fight-or-flight response, causing your heart to race, your breathing to quicken, your hands to shake, your stomach to feel weak. You interpret those physical symptoms as something being wrong and then you get more afraid, furthering the cycle, until you’re in a big panicky mess.

The most effective way to deal with these feelings is to understand what is happening in your body, know that it’s not dangerous, accept that you feel those things without trying to push them away (being fully able to admit how much the feelings are uncomfortable), and then just wait and let them pass. In time, they inevitably will.

 

Like what you’ve read so far? Interested in reading the full blog about Varonica’s personal experience with anxiety and panic and her evolutionary process? Then, please, click here to read her full article that I found on TinyBuddha.com

 

-Virginia Johnson

 

Are you struggling with feelings of overwhelming stress, anxiety or would like some guidance with acceptance of self, or are you just interested in talking to someone about things going on in your life because you simply feel that you do not as you should? Sometimes having a partner in your journey can help. Give us a call  to set up a free phone consultation at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando at 407-355-7378, and one of our  would be more than happy to help you, a family member, or a friend work on changing your life.

Virginia