How many times has it happened that you suddenly get feelings of worry and nervousness, and you say hey I’m just anxious, it’s nothing?
Quite many times right?
A loved one isn’t responding to messages or Call? You get anxious.
A report’s deadline is approaching and you haven’t done anything? Anxiety kicks in.
For most, it’s a momentary thing and disappears soon after the trigger has been taken care of. But for others, it’s a whole different story. The story of crippling feelings that make everyday survival difficult.
The Story Of Anxiety
Let me tell you a story here, how I got to really realise the intensity of anxiety disorder. I was working in a marketing company in New York City.
One day I was in early and wanted some coffee, so I went to the cafeteria. I got my coffee and when I was in the corridor. I heard a faint gasping. It was coming from the conference room. I didn’t know someone would be in so early. I went and checked.
And there he was, a junior associate who worked in our company. I had seen him before, shy person, meticulous in his work. He was hyperventilating.
Struggling to find his breath.
I immediately went to him and gave him some water. I told him to keep breathing and loosened his tie. Then I made him sit down and told him I was going to call 911 as he might be having a heart attack. But he stopped me. After taking a few more quick breaths, he began to slowly settle down. He said it wasn’t a heart attack. It was an anxiety attack.
He had messed up something in his report he was supposed to submit to the board today. In the rush to fix it he came in early and had forgotten his anti-anxiety pills at home. He told me he suffered from panic disorder for 2 years now. This made me realise how crippling and debilitating and silent can anxiety disorder be.
Very few people are aware that just like any illness, anxiety disorder also has various types. Let me describe them to you briefly.
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder
This is a type of anxiety that can occur anywhere anytime without the presence of any trigger or stimulus. The patient is always engulfed with extreme feelings of fear and worry without any particular reason or scenario that may have triggered it.
- Social Anxiety Disorder:
This one is described by overwhelming feelings of panic, excessive self-consciousness and insecurities in social situations.
Unlike Generalised Anxiety Disorder that has no trigger points. PTSD is a product of a past trauma which was life-altering to the one who’s suffering.
- Panic disorder
Described as feelings of breathlessness, chest pain etc. the patient goes in a state of panic for a fairly short period of time.
Coping with Anxiety
Anxiety can be tricky.
But it doesn’t mean coping with it is difficult. Becoming aware of the problem solves 50% of it. The rest you can manage with these simple methods.
- Boxed breathing technique can be helpful. Inhale to the count of 4. Hold to the count of 4 and exhale to the count of 4.
- Tell your mind to stop playing tricks. Ask it questions like “what if everything works out just fine?”
- Journal your thoughts and feelings. Get them off your system.
- Ground yourself- find 5 things that you can see, find 4 things that you can touch. 3 things that you can hear. 2 things that you can smell and one thing that you can taste. This is called grounding.
- Talk to someone, a friend, a therapist, anyone.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy may be helpful too.
There is no all-pervasive way to cope with anxiety.
Each individual with anxiety has a coping mechanism unique to himself.
No one method will apply to all.
Find out what suits you!
And work on it!
And if you have got a friend or colleague or anyone you know who you think might be suffering from anxiety, don’t look away. Help them.
Be the one who showed up.
The world needs more empaths.
Be an empath!