Anxiety; our body’s natural response to dealing with stress. Anxiety is a response our body gives out when we stress, this response is the feeling of fear or apprehension about what’s about to happen. “Anxiety is a mental disorder”. First of all, when you read this sentence, I believe that many of us grew up to believe that a “mental health disorder” meant that something was wrong with our body and it was our fault. I’m sorry to break it to you, but that is completely incorrect. Our bodies are a fascinating thing and we cannot create a disorder or a disease, so, each one of you out there needs to understand that nothing is your fault.
Anxiety is like having the feeling of butterflies when you’re nervous or anxious about something which is about to happen, or when you’re stressed about a couple of things, or when you fear something when you’re sad or worried. Anxiety disorders are when you have these feelings constantly, like nearly every day, and while others sometimes don’t understand what the “big deal” is, its because they don’t understand how it feels to have anxiety nor an anxiety disorder. It’s really hard to cope with anxiety let alone an anxiety disorder because of the immense and overwhelming feelings.
Personally, I have a lot of anxiety and I deal with my anxiety nearly on a daily basis. I know how it feels to keep having a constant feeling of being worried or stressed, feeling a shortness of breath, having heart palpitations, to get obsessive over something you can’t control. The feeling of having an anxiety attack is overwhelming, and trust me when I say, I’ve had my fair share of them. An anxiety attack is an immense feeling but I have some tips/tricks which have helped me cope with them;
1) Breathing. When I have an anxiety attack, I usually breathe in for 7 seconds, hold it for 6 seconds and breath out for 8. This helps to slow down your breathing and have better control over it.
2) Talk to your body. When I face an anxiety attack, personally, I can’t control my hands and I get really fidgety, so whenever I can’t control it, I talk to my hands. I know it does sound a bit off but trust me, it does work.
3) Talk to yourself out loud. Talking to yourself out loud to calm yourself down does work. Sometimes, saying it out loud makes your body listen better than talking in your mind. These are my top 3 tips and hopefully, they work for you too.
An anxiety attack is not easy to deal with alone so its good to open up about it to your loved ones. For those who don’t have anxiety or an anxiety disorder, if you know someone who does have anxiety/ an anxiety disorder, its always good to know the symptoms: heart palpitations, sweating, shortness of breath/ feelings of choking, dizziness, trembling/shaking, numbness, hot and cold flashes, fear of dying or of losing control, queasy stomach, feeling detached from oneself and one's surroundings. If you know someone who has anxiety/anxiety disorder and is having a panic attack, some ways to help them are:
1) Remain calm. When you know someone is having an attack, you need to remain calm in the situation. They need to have an assurance that everything around them is under control so you should calmly tell them that you are there for them and that they are safe.
2) Ask them how you can help. If the person you know has dealt with anxiety attacks and knows how to control/stop it, then ask them how you can help and what their coping methods are.
3) Do not say “ don’t worry” or “calm down” over and over, it may worsen their attack, instead, make them do breathing exercises with you, like take deep breaths and count with them, or ask them to count down from 100, or ask them to name 5 things they can hear, smell, see or feel. This would help them keep their mind off their anxiety attack and calm them down. These are my top 3 tips on how to help someone if they have an anxiety attack.
I won’t say that I know exactly how you feel because I understand that we all cope with our anxiety differently but I am able to understand you and I’m there for you as well. To all of you out there, there is no such thing as being “normal”. We all have our battles to fight and to stand up for, and one battle that we all need to fight is to understand anxiety and anxiety disorders, and eventually all mental disorders out there. It’s our job and now your job if you read this article to stand up and educate others about anxiety and anxiety disorders, and make them understand that it's no one’s fault.
You need to be there and support those who have mental disorders, and tell them they are not alone.
- Ananya :)
Some articles written by TWE with coping and dealing with anxiety and anxiety attacks:
a.Dealing with anxiety and panic attacks: what to do:
b.Cope with panic attacks: https://www.teenagerswithexperience.com/guest-articles/cope-with-panic-attacks
c.Breathing tips for anxiety: https://www.teenagerswithexperience.com/guest-articles/breathing-tips-for-anxiety
Hotline Numbers to Call:
a.Panic Disorder Information Hotline: 1-800-64-PANIC (72642): If you don’t feel comfortable with calling someone you know while having a panic attack, some hotline numbers you can call if you need to speak to someone while having a panic attack. You could also call this number if you would like to know more about panic disorders.
b.Teen Line: 1-310-855-HOPE (4673) or 1-800-TLC-TEEN (1-800-852-8336): This helpline allows teens in crisis to connect with other teens who understand what they’re going through. The service can also be reached by texting “TEEN” to 839863.
Some articles you should check out if you want to understand more about how to deal with your panic attacks:
a. Tips on how to stop a panic attack: these tips are really helpful in dealing with your panic attacks and reduce your anxiety symptoms:
b.This article on “How to deal with anxiety” will help you and teach you more about accepting your anxiety and how to listen more to your body’s
An article to read if you want to understand more about anxiety disorder sign and symptoms: