The first time I experienced anxiety (unknown to me at the time) was when I was 15 years old and I had just started grade 11 at high school. I was at home after school on night and I was sitting in front of my desk in my room writing out an assignment and all of a sudden a wave of pressure hit me and the following thoughts started bombarding my head “what will you do when you finish school”, “what career path will you choose”, “you only have just over a year of schooling left, you better choose a career soon”. The anxiety got so bad for me that not only did it end in tears but it overtook my outlook and I ended up quitting school and I never finished my grade 11 & 12 education.
The second time I suffered from anxiety was so severe it ended in an anxiety attack and it went a little something like this; I was 16 and I was going through a rough time with my mum and my step dad which resulted in me having to look for other accommodation. I moved in with my then “boyfriend” at the time and I told mum and my step dad that I was living with a lady from my TAFE. Things quickly didn’t work out with my “boyfriend” so I had to move back home. It was 6pm on a Thursday night and I was working at Subway and I received a call from my mum, she was irate, she found out I lied to her and I was living with a “boyfriend” and not a lady from TAFE. I hung up the phone and I couldn’t move I was frozen, two of the other girls I was working with come over to me and were asking if I was ok however my ears were ringing, I couldn’t hear a thing and I was just staring at them with a blank face. I was on the verge of passing out, it was like I was having an out of body experience looking at myself frozen in the back area of subway. The girls grabbed me and pushed me down to sit on the floor and got me some water, after a few minutes I came too. After discussing this occurrence with a doctor it was confirmed that it was an anxiety attack and I was given a list of foods to avoid and a list of liquids to have whenever I experienced my next attack.
I didn’t have any more attacks for a number of years however when I had Zephaniah my anxiety reared its ugly head, again. I would get so much anxiety over the most simplest of tasks, I remember being hit with anxiety every time I wanted to take her out do to daily errands, the anxiety would overcome me and it would stop me from completing what I had set out to do for the day.
For anyone that doesn’t know what anxiety is, its almost like a fear or a phobia and can be set off over the most smallest things let alone the big things. Anxiety can be triggered by thoughts or even actions. It makes your heart race, it can make you cry, it can paralyze you physically and mentally, you just want the ground to open you up and swallow you, you can get the shakes, all sorts of senses become compromised, you see no positive to the task that needs to be done and negative thoughts rule your head.
I now understand my body enough to know what foods trigger off my anxiety and also I have put coping mechanisms in place to control my anxiety.
One of the main foods that trigger off my anxiety is chocolate, I find if I have chocolate at night before bed I will be lying in bed listening to all of the sounds around my house thinking that someone is trying to break in, or I will think that my room is getting hazy from smoke and I think there is a fire. These negative thoughts prevent me from sleeping and get my heart racing and I start to sweat and my breathing gets heavier. Normally I sleep like a log, when my head hits the pillow I’m out however if I have chocolate I will think up all of these negative scenarios and plan how I would “escape” them.
Some of the coping mechanisms I have put in place for my anxiety are:
- I will evaluate why I am getting anxious, mentally I will run through a checklist in my head as to what would be the worst outcome from the situation that is causing me anxiety. Once I come to terms with the worst possible outcome I will then tell myself to let it go and move on, I then move onto another task to distract myself.
- I exercise each morning and on the weekends I walk in the afternoon, doing this it helps with my inner energy and brings me more positivity into my day.
- I avoid junk food, if I eat junk food then I start feeling like crap and then everything else I’m doing starts to turn into a negative and before I know it.. boom my anxiety hits.
- I talk it out, I speak to my husband and my friends about how I am feeling and I listen to their advice, this helps put me at ease.
- I count to 10 and I start focusing on my breathing.
I feel like anxiety is becoming more common than we think, a lot of people don’t know how to cope with anxiety and sometimes don’t even know that they are suffering from anxiety so I really hope this blog helps anyone suffering from anxiety.
Breathe, its not as bad as your mind is telling you.