Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Anxiety/ Panic Attacks: My Experience

Greetings Internet,

Before I begin, I would like to say that this is probably the most open I'll ever be with things in my life. This topic is quite personal to me, but I'm simply writing this in the hopes that people who suffer from a similar situation know they are not alone. In case you are someone who randomly stumbled upon this post and don't suffer from high levels of anxiety, I hope this can help you gain a better understanding of how to help someone who does suffer from them.

Anxiety is something that everyone struggles with. However there are situations that most people are fortunate enough to not deal with. Things really started getting bad for me when I was just beginning middle school. I know there are stereotypes that claim that the quite kids are always the most anxious.  Sadly, I guess I fell into this stereotype. Starting middle school years really meant starting teenage years. And like many movies seem to make you believe, teenage years really suck. I remember there was a particular day where I was sitting in block class watching someone present something, when all of a sudden I started feeling very anxious. I wouldn't even know how to properly describe it. It was as if the walls were coming in, and I began feeling claustrophobic. Like I mentioned earlier, I was really shy at this point in my life and found it really hard to ask to be excused. I remember sitting in my desk waiting for what seemed like an eternity, for the presentation to be over. When the kid was done, I found myself walking up to the teacher with what seemed like all the strength I had in me and asked to be excused. When I went into the bathroom, I began continuously crying. The scary part was I was a sixth grader who had no clue what I was even crying about. When I felt compelled, I walked back inside and grabbed my things and headed into the nurse's office to be excused from school.

I found it hard to believe, but the following year was when I had the worst case of anxiety. I honestly can't believe I'm even writing about this, because I still have the hardest time talking about it. In 7th grade, I was bullied by people I considered to be friends. I always seemed to have a hard time making friends in school because I wasn't very open as an individual, and was shy. I thought I was beginning a new chapter in my life when I finally had met a group of girls who shared similar interests but were completely different. I guess that should of been a red flag itself. I just remember coming into school one day, and having them ignore, and distance themselves away from me. I was bit confused, however later learned through social media that they no longer wanted me to be a part of their friend group. I want to emphasize that actions speak louder than words, because although they may have had no clue the impact this situation had on me, I was hurt. Really hurt. I remember not coming to school for about a week because I couldn't find myself to even step foot in what seemed like their territory. It took me several years to learn to forgive them, although I still haven't come face to face with either one of them.

Toward the beginning of high school, I was adjusting to a different life style and group of friends. However I remember that summer being pretty tough. I have always had a hard time with building relationships whether that'd be with family members or friends. In eighth grade, a close family friend committed suicide. Although I did not share a close bond with her, the event itself left a huge impact. This was because I saw people in my life suffer from losing a best friend. I have always been someone who puts others before me, but if  may be honest, this is mentally exhausting.
Although I love being a friend to whoever is willing to open up, I have learned that these situations always bring out anxiety.

Fast forwarding to today, I have found that my anxiety levels have only risen. Today I find myself having a hard time agreeing to going out with friends, having a hard time talking about my feelings, and always having an excuse to turn down opportunities. Theres good days where I think the issue is finally gone, and theres days where I wish I could turn the switch off. I hate having to leave a room because of being unable to control my crying or thoughts. I have come to conclusion that I overthink everything. I have lost awareness of how old I am. However, I always try to start off my day on a positive note. I really appreciate the people in my life who check in on me once in a while, because without people like that... I honestly wouldn't know where I would be today!

If you are suffering from panic attacks, just know you are not alone. If you are someone who is seeking to help someone, simply stay calm and listen to them. No one deserves to feel anxious over nothing. I know it'll be hard to completely understand what someone is going through during these situations but if I have any suggestions, it would be to give them space to breathe.

Please let me know if you yourself experience panic attacks and techniques you use.

please please be aware that this is a sensitive topic, and that it took a bit of me to have the courage to post this.

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