Hey-o! I is back and even though is not Sunday I have a brand new post. This is an extra post because Y’all know how I much I love bonuses. I’m going to try to post twice in a week at least once a month so follow me and stay tuned for that. As you can see by the title this post is not bookish related, but I’ve been wanting to post non-bookish related things since before I even started the blog and John from John’s Tainted Fantasy (check him out here) motivated me to do so. So once in a while, you’ll see non-bookish related things, but my plan is for those to be bonus posts because there’s so much bookish content I want to share with you guys that I don’t seem to ever finish.
Well, not so long ago I talked about reading as a competition and how it’s affecting my mental health (check it out here) and in that post, I opened up and talked about my anxiety. Well, I suffered from severe anxiety and has been since I was a kid. I sometimes would get anxious when I would arrive at school but I would confuse that weird feeling in my chest with excitement since I didn’t know what anxiety was, but it never made sense for me to get excited for no reason. University has really aggravated my anxiety to a point that it messes with my day to day life and on this post, I’m going to talk about a recent episode and what I do to deal with it. This is what works for me and this might not work for everyone. I am NOT a doctor nor I pretend to be one I am merely sharing what helps ME. I am not here to diagnose you and I am not trying to the job of experts. I am sharing MY experience and again I am SHARING what I do to deal with it. If you feel like you might suffering from anxiety or any other mental health issue PLEASE go get help. Your feeling, your health, and your problems are never too small to get help. I know sometimes people feel like their thing is so small it will seem stupid but experts are there to help and they won’t judge you. Small things can get worse if you don’t ask for help, believe me when I tell you that getting help saved my life. But if I would have gotten help before I wouldn’t have passed through such a dark moment.
I wrote this post a week ago while I was having an anxiety episode. I am calling it an episode because it lasted like 2 to 3 hours. I decided to write this because I know I am not the only one and this is a subject people joke about, but when it comes to being serious about it people try to ignore and make it seem stupid and like if you feel this way you are less. YOU ARE NOT LESS. I AM NOT LESS. WE ARE REGULAR PEOPLE WHO JUST NEEDS HELP. If you had a broken bone you would get help and this is the same thing. Anyway so I had an anxiety episode and I needed to talk about it because I know I must not be the one who goes through these moments, these spirals. So, here it goes.
Again, this was written a weak ago.
So, let’s start with today. Today I had what I’m going to call an anxiety episode, I won’t call it an attack because for it wasn’t like that. I just had this overwhelmed rush of anxiety that lasted two to three hours. As I’m writing this I am finally feeling better because writing always helps me. So, why did I get it? Tons of reasons that just suffocated me when I felt like I was failing my job as a student. I felt terrible for having such a hard time with uni when I don’t even have a job and I can’t even imagine how I’ll survive when I do.
I started feeling this panic rising in me after I got out of a test that could determine whether I pass the class or not. I didn’t get a good grade on my first test. I rarely get anything under C and on that past test I got a D. I know some people say D is for diploma but for me it’s not like that. I was okay with that D because I knew I kind of deserved it. I hadn’t really studied for that test. I literally studied an hour before because that week I had 5 exams and an oral presentation. So I did the math and to pass the class I need two Bs. What happened is that a week full of exams and an oral presentation happened and I didn’t have much time to study for that. So, I barely did. I studied last night and I studied today before class. I was pretty much prepared, so I finished the test early and sat down outside the classroom having lunch and reading John’s (one last time, please follow him) draft of his latest post when some classmate came out and I asked her how did she do on the test. I felt like I did good, so I assume since she was one of the students that always understood what the professor was explaining that she was going to say she did good. She didn’t, and then she started talking to me about the test and I noticed I got one or two incorrect answers and then I started doubting if I passed the test. I was already a bit anxious because of the test, but I was handling it, but then hearing her talk about it and wondering if I fell for the professor’s trick questions I started feeling sick.
I tried to ignore it, but it wouldn’t go away. Then I started thinking about how I took a test the day before yesterday and I hadn’t studied as much as I would have prefered and that I wasn’t a hundred percent sure that I passed with a good grade (I’m trying to get into grad school so good grades are vital), then I remembered how next week I’m going to be taking classes to get a certificate for CPR and how embarassed it would be if I, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, granddaughter, etc, of nurses, didn’t pass or if I did something stupid in front of everyone. Then I remembered that I had an exam and a quiz next week of material that isn’t easy at all. As you can see I started going down this spiral questioning everything, feeling like a failure, at one point I felt horrible because I got an 88 on a test. THAT’S A B! It’s crazy how the college life affects my mental health.
So I started spiraling, then when I went to my next class I was feeling nauseous, I felt all my back muscles (including neck and shoulder) so tense to the point where I couldn’t handle the pain, that same tightness gave me a massive headache which made it so that I couldn’t stand light or noise, my heart felt like it was going to explode, and I just felt so anxious I wanted to cry. The fact that on the lecture the professor mentioned something that made me realized I wrote the wrong answer on the exam from that class that I took that same week made me feel even worse. As you can see by the pattern I kept getting worse. I was dizzy and I just wanted to see my grades, at least the one from that class. I couldn’t concentrate I would try to focus but because of how sick I felt I couldn’t. The professor gave us a 5-minute break so I went over to him and asked him if he could tell me what I got on the test, but he told me he wasn’t finished grading the tests. So guess what? Knowing I had to wait longer just made it worse. The spiral kept making me feel sick. I felt lightweight and dizzy, the nausea, the headache, the tightness of my back muscles, all of it getting worse. I felt so sick I had to excuse myself from class and go to my dorm. I just wanted to lay in bed and cry until I felt better.
Have you ever felt this way or been in a similar situation? I am glad that it’s almost over now. My plan for today was to celebrate the fact that I was done with that stressful test by finishing A Darker Shade of Magic, going to the movies with a friend and just trying to have a relaxing day to celebrate that it was one less thing to study for. Instead, I felt like I wasn’t going to get out of this anxiety spiral.
I am feeling a lot better now and I wanted to write this post not only to tell you how I feel but also because I want to tell you how I deal with these moments since this is something I’ve struggled with my whole life.
- Take a timeout if needed and necessary.
Today I couldn’t function because of how the anxiety was eating me alive. I was having such a hard time trying to force myself to function while feeling so anxious I felt sick. I felt like my whole life was going to fall apart because of some stupid grades. So what did I did? I took a break. I’m not telling you to stop working, studying or doing whatever you are whenever you have anxiety because if you’re like me this is a constant in your life, but when you feel like it’s too much for you to handle sometimes it’s good to take a moment and change scenery. If you need a permission or something similar try to talk with the person and explain to them how you’re not feeling well and how you really need a break so you can be able to function again. You don’t have to be like me, I left because I couldn’t handle how sick I felt and I was just getting more anxious by being there so I talked to the professor and he understood. Not everyone will understand, but there’s nothing wrong with trying. Even if it’s a 10 minutes break leave the area and see if that makes you feel better.
- Talk to someone
Sometimes telling someone about it will help you feel better. I know sometimes, a lot of times, you feel like you shouldn’t tell people because you feel like you’re bothering them, but if that person is someone you trust then you should try. Put that voice telling you that you’re an inconvenience on mute because it will do you no good. If you’re close to the person, if you trust them, and if they care about you they will help you. Just by listening to you they’re helping you because sometimes all you need is to vent, to accept how you’re feeling and to have someone tell you that it’s going to be okay, or simply to tell you that you’re being an idiot. Sometimes you need someone to give you a virtual slap and tell you that the world is not ending because you got a bad grade. Sometimes you need someone to hug you and tell you that they’re there. It might seem ridiculous to think that someone telling you that you’re being an idiot can help, and it might not help everyone, but it can. I like having both. Someone to tell me that everything is going to be okay and someone to pull out of that spiral by telling me that it’s ridiculous. My point is just to find someone who you can vent to because if you’re a balloon and the anxiety is the air then talking to someone is like taking out the knot and letting go of the air little by little.
- Write it down.
If you don’t want to vent to someone or don’t have someone to vent to then write it down. Writing it down sometimes feels even better because there’s no fear of someone judging you. It doesn’t have to make sense, don’t think too much just write it all down. Sometimes it helps to read it after you’re done to see that you’re making a big deal out of something small or to help you come out with the answer to your problems or simply to acknowledge the fact that this is how you feel. My mom likes to shred the paper to pieces and throw it away, some people like to burn them (please be careful if you’re doing this, we don’t need you to burn down the place) and some like to keep them on a journal to look back on them. Just do whatever feels right.
Before I continue I want to say that I am not saying you’re an idiot for feeling this way because it’s normal, but that sometimes we’re not making sense and we are creating problems out of thin air and that imagining the worse possible outcome we are hurting ourselves. We need to realize that we’re doing it and sometimes, again this is not for everyone, having someone snap you out of it by telling you you’re being an idiot can help. Again, I am talking about my experiences. I like to call my mom when I’m having a hard time dealing with anxiety it and she snaps me out of it this way. The same way that sometimes after I’m reading what I just wrote I feel like slapping myself for letting my thoughts spiral down and that snaps me out of it. I’m not sure if I’m making sense, but yeah.
- Get comfortable
Take off your bra, switch your shoes for comfier one, put your hair down or up, change out of that tight pant. When I feel anxious I feel like I’m starting to lose my breath and getting comfortable helps me have an easier time breathing. Also just getting comfortable can help you distract yourself or help you relax a little because you don’t feel this pressure all over your body. Today as soon as I got to my dorm I took off my bra, took off my shoes, and put my hair up in a bun and I instantly started feeling better. Why? Wel,l like I just said it helps me get distracted for a couple of minutes, it made me not have this uncomfortable feeling all over my body that makes me feel worse, and it helped my mind to start feeling like it was time to relax.
- Try to distract yourself
You might already be having a hard time focusing on things because you feel like everything is crashing down, but if you can find just one thing to focus your attention on, even if it’s a little thing, it can help you a lot. After I got comfortable I decided I was going to nap but got distracted answering some text messages, mindlessly deleting pictures, doing the dishes, putting things away, and so on. Doing those things that require almost no brain power helped my brain to stop thinking for a couple of seconds and second by second if you’re not focusing all your attention on that anxiety your thoughts will slow down and it will be easier to get out of that spiral.
- Work out
If there’s one thing on this list that has helped me the most is working out. I know there’s a lot of people that don’t know what it’s like to deal with this and tell you that you just need to work out and everything will automatically get fixed. But things aren’t so easy. We sometimes get annoyed because they seem to think having anxiety is just feeling a little overwhelmed when we know that’s not true. BUT working out does help and it helps a lot. I would never believe people when they would tell that working out would help. I thought it was just an excuse to get me to work out, but man was I wrong. I started working out when I was going through a terrible depression with lots of panic attacks. My mind was in a constant spiral and I felt like I couldn’t pull myself of it. When you’re depressed or anxious working out seems like too much work and you feel unable to, believe me I know. Well, my psychiatrist and my psychologist both told me that I should start working out, so I did. Never in my life was I able to control my depression and anxiety like I was when I was working out at least 4 times a week. Whenever I had a particularly stressful day and I could feel the anxiety coming like a train with no stops, I would work out. That was the semester where I had the easiest time dealing with it. I know it was the exercising because as soon as I stopped I could notice the difference. This trimester I been having such a hard time going to the gym and I can’t seem to motivate myself to workout at home. I don’t drive (thanks anxiety!) so I walk to the gym, but I don’t like walking by myself so if I can’t find someone to go with then I don’t go. When I do I feel so much better. I feel like I am burning the anxiety away, and it’s overall an amazing distraction. If you have friends to go with even better because this is a good moment to bond, catch up, and just enjoy each other’s presence.
- Manage your caffeine
I love coffee, but I try not to drink it because I know caffeine can make my anxiety worse. Caffeine and anxiety are best friends so try to keep the caffeine in your blood as low as possible.
- Practice things that help you prevent the stress that can trigger anxiety.
There are lots of things can trigger anxiety, and stress is one of the biggest triggers. There are tons of things that can help you reduce, prevent or deal with it. This could be things as simple as keeping your room organized so you don’t feel like you’re drowning, work out to help burn it all away, read to help you relax, take me time so you can feel refresh, sleep 7 to 9 hours so you’ll feel more awake and relax, learn to manage your time, do things on time, get rid of stressors, and so much more. There are many different ways you can prevent, reduce and deal with stress and you can look them up and/or take a moment to see what’s causing your stress and think of a way to deal with it.
- Sometimes the relief is found in nature.
There are tons of ways that what you consume or do not consume affects your brain. Take a look at your diet and see what you can do to make it better. There are also natural supplements to help you if you’re not getting what you need from what you’re eating. The valerian root is really good for relaxation and you can have it on tea or a capsule. Chamomile tea is also good and if anxiety is stopping you from falling asleep melatonin and ashwagandha can make it all better. Talk to your head doctor or a naturopath (a doctor who specializes in natural medicine) to find out what works for you. Again, I’m not an expert so follow at your own risk. These are the things I use to deal with it. There’s tons more, but I won’t bore you to death. Search online for some reliable source of information if you’re wondering what natural supplements can help you. IF YOU HAVE A CERTAIN HEALTH CONDITION OR ARE TAKING A MEDICATION CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING THEM TO REDUCE THE CHANCE OF AGGRAVATING YOUR HEALTH. Make sure that what you’re consuming won’t make other things worse.
- Learn to ask for help.
When you are anxious you can get real deep in your head and you have a hard time getting out of there, so never be afraid to ask for help. Mental health isn’t a competition of who has it worse. If you feel like you’re not okay ask for help. Don’t think that just because it’s not “as bad as others” it doesn’t matter. Psychologists are lifesavers, literally, and they can help you by giving you tools to deal with it. They can also refer you to a psychiatrist if they think you need the help. I am proud of myself for asking help and I am alive because of it.
Well, this was my most recent experience and what I normally do to deal with it. Most are basic things, but they work so why not give it a try? – again, at your own risk- I hope you enjoy this post which again is completely different to what I normally post. I’ll see you this Sunday. 🙂
I wrote this a week ago and I just got my grades back, and guess what? I did really good. I want to slap myself. I made myself so anxious that I felt sick and I did really good. I should believe more in myself.