Hey guys! Today I’m doing a tag borrowed from Elm @ Just Call Me Elm Or Something, which she created along with the help of her friend Larissa @ Life of Larissa. You can find their original posts here and here. I hope they don’t mind me doing this… you know how important I think it is to talk about mental health openly and honestly!
Let’s get started!
When did your anxiety start?
I think to some degree it’s always been there… for what it’s worth, it’s heavily associated with OCD, which I also have. Its worst flareup was in middle school, but I think I was in third grade when I started wondering if I had anxiety.
What symptoms do you have?
Besides muscle tension and fatigue, I have difficulty concentrating (or being “present” in the moment) and falling asleep. I can also be quite irritable, although I try not to be because my friends and family don’t deserve that!
I’ve found that my anxiety and OCD are tightly linked, too. If one of them is giving me trouble, the other one usually jumps right in and makes things even worse lmfao.
How do you control it?
Therapy helps a lot, in terms of introducing me to coping techniques. Venlafaxine, the antidepressant I currently take, can also be used to treat anxiety and I definitely think it’s helping there. Other than that, I frequently read books, websites, et cetera related to anxiety for more advice and support.
Have you ever tried yoga, meditation, or acupuncture?
I don’t meditate as often as I’d like to, so I want to start doing that more. It helps me calm down enough to figure out what it is that’s bothering me and from there, (hopefully) find a solution.
It’s been a long time since I’ve done yoga regularly – we did it almost every day of the acting class I took in the summer of 2016 as a way to limber up our bodies before rehearsal – but now that I have a yoga mat, I try to do it a couple times a month at the very least!
Haven’t tried acupuncture.
How does it impact your everyday life?
It leaves me mentally and sometimes physically drained by the end of the day, that’s for sure. (People talk about it like it’s entirely in your head. What they don’t tell you is how goddamn tense you become! MY NECK, MY BACK, MY ANXIETY ATTACK.)
It also makes me stressed out when around all but my closest friends… and sometimes I’m uncomfortable even then!
I suppose one advantage to having anxiety is that, provided my depression doesn’t have me too “down in the dumps,” I am a very conscientious student! I worry about grades/professors’ expectations a lot and sometimes push myself way too hard.
Have you made any changes to your life because of anxiety?
Absolutely. I try not to let it interfere with my life as much as it used to, but in middle school especially I avoided any social situation that wasn’t strictly necessary and complained mightily about any that were! Middle school is a rough time for everyone, but I do feel that I missed out on some friendships due to retreating into my Anxiety Hole™.
Do any foods make your anxiety worse?
Caffeine, I guess? I’m not a fan of the taste of coffee, anyway, and restrict how much soda I drink because I don’t need all that sugar, so I never take in much caffeine that way. I try to limit caffeinated (black or green) tea to mornings, when I’m sleepy…
Has your anxiety changed with age?
I’ve mellowed out over the years, I know that much. It hit a peak around sixth or seventh grade, during which time I was miserable. Therapy, medication, and meditation definitely helped get it under control, but I firmly believe that much of my improvement came about naturally as I grew older. I don’t know how to explain it… I think some of it was just getting used to the idea of having anxiety and becoming better at telling it to shut tf up!
Do people in your life understand your condition?
Some of my friends have anxiety: In fact, I think all my closest ones do. So that’s helpful, because I can talk about my stress or ask for THE BIGGEST HUG or whatever. I’m not aware of any family members with anxiety, but my mom is probably the best at reassuring me when it seems like everything’s gone to pieces.
What is your best advice for those struggling with mental health issues?
I would recommend that you find someone to talk to other than just your therapist. Don’t turn your friend/relative into a therapist, just try to find at least one other person who deals with the same mental illness you have! It feels sooo good to have someone else with whom to both commiserate and celebrate. Healing isn’t linear… there are ups and downs, and having someone to tell all about those moments helps more than you know.
Since this tag is about such a personal topic, I won’t be nominating anyone because I don’t want them to feel put on the spot! Feel free to go ahead and do it if you’re up to it, though!