Why ? Because it gives me a feeling of being guilty. Of faking it. Of having no problem at all and just making it up. To avoid class, sports, activities, people, maybe ?
But that’s the heart of it. I don’t do it on purpose, I just cannot control what my mind tells me to avoid. Back to my 15 year old self, and so on until recently, I was scared of everything and probably everyone. If you know me, you might think « Wait, that’s not true, you are brave and not so shy ! »But that’s another thing about mental health issues. It is so easy to hide it, that no one could tell you are struggling with it, when truth is, you are six feet underneath.
It is actually easier to fake being happy and healthy, than being anxious or depressed. Back to those years I was talking about above, everyone thought I was the happiest girl alive. But I was dealing with severe depression, self-harming, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety. Yet I had no idea what anxiety truly was.
40 long minutes on my way to work during which I was crying, breathing heavily, and repeatedly saying to myself « I cannot cope, I am done with it ».
Yet I had no other choice than… To cope with it. I believe our mental health is so important that if you feel like this is unhealthy for you to go, then don’t go. But obviously I unfortunately cannot miss work every time a panic attack hits me. And to be truly honest, missing work would have made me feel so bad about myself that in this case, it wouldn’t help at all. Which leaves me with the solution of trying my best to be my own best friend.
It sounds weird, I know. But in this case, no one else can understand what you are going through, and usually during a panic attack, it is so hard to open up (in fact, most of the time, we don’t want to open up right in the moment). So, the only person capable of helping you, is you.
Instead of reminding yourself how much you cannot do it, start thinking you actually can do it. Tell yourself it is okay not to be okay. Repeat in your head how strong you are, and the day will pass. Say out loud that no matter what happens, everything is still the same around you. The Earth is still spinning. And the Universe is still really big.
I am not stating that the problem or reason for the panic attack is minor, not at all. But, it is easier to face something when you make it appear smaller than it seems to be. So yes, your anxiety is valid, your feelings are valid. But instead of seeing it as a mountain, see it as a step. And once you get help, explain how you escalated that mountain that was in your head, by simply putting one foot on top of this step.
See the difference ? Big mountain, but bigger feet.
PS : Anxiety hit me really hard again yesterday at work when my heart started to race as if I just ran a whole marathon, and it made me feel so guilty that I couldn’t stop crying for at least 40 minutes. But I believe the tears had to leave. I had to let them go. It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to have ups and downs. It doesn’t mean you are a failure, and it doesn’t mean you won’t ever get back on your feet. I talked about what happened yesterday in more details on my instagram post here.
Remember : If I can do it, you can do it too.
Let me know in the comment section if you have any tips to deal with Anxiety !