I have been putting off this post for a while, but after ending up in the ER last week due to a flare up of my anxiety and suffering from 2 panic attacks, I knew I had to speak out about it.
For so long I dealt with my anxiety on my own, refusing to go to the doctor because of the stigma we have been told about mental health. You become ashamed that you are suffering from it and even in denial that there is NO WAY that you could possibly have a mental health issue. But it wasn’t until an early Sunday morning in 2009, that I was forced to face my anxiety head on.
I will never forget that morning. I was driving to my retail management job when seemly out of nowhere I was hit with the worst anxiety attack I’ve ever had. My heart was racing, I was sweating and I couldn’t breathe. I honestly thought I was going to die! So instead of driving to work I continued to drive in this state and detoured to the emergency room. And after a laundry list of tests, it was determined that it was a panic attack and that medication would be able to prevent this from happening again. So in the weeks after this attack, I worked with my dr to find the right dosage and medication that would help me treat and cope with anxiety.
During this time of figuring out the best treatment plan for myself, I was made aware of just how common anxiety is!
According to a 2018 study by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America:
• Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental illnesses in the United States l.
• 40 million adults in the United States suffer from some form of anxiety yet only 36.9% of those ever seek treatment.
• 1 in 13 adults globally suffer from an anxiety disorder
After learning just how common and treatable this mental illness is, I remember wishing I had sought out treatment and learned coping mechanisms sooner! With the help of my doctors, I was able to see just how much my anxiety had affected my life. From constantly being convinced I was sick with something and web MD everything to getting so nervous to go to events with people I didn’t know. I now knew that all of this were contributing factors of my disorder. Being able to acknowledge this was key for me to develop ways to cope with my anxiety and rise above it.
1.Medication: Don’t be too proud to take medication to help your mental health! Talk to your dr and speak up about any anxiety issues you may be having. Within a matter of weeks, I was back to being happy, fun loving Pam! Also, stick to your treatment plan and don’t change it cold turkey. I forgot to get my meds filled and didn’t take it for a few days and that’s what threw me into 2 panic attacks that led to an ER visit last week.
2.Meditation: Being able to calm all the noise and stress in your life and just be present in the quiet has helped so much. Learning to deal with my stress and emotions instead of suppressing them help to keep my anxiety at bay.
3. Pray and Bible Reading: Growing up in the church and raised to have a strong faith in God, I learned that anytime I’m struggling with anything to give it to him. So spending time in the word and prayer helps.
4. Gratitude Journaling: When I feel overwhelmed, I take time to write down things I’m grateful for. This helps me put things into perspective.
5. Facing it head-on: Sometimes I still let the anxiety get the best of me and I’ll skip an event because of it. But I notice that the best treatment for me is to face it and realize that it’s not as bad as my anxiety makes it out to be. So going to events where I don’t know anyone actually helps me in the long run.
6. Talking to someone: This can be a Dr, therapist or just a friend who can relate to you and your trust. Talking about your anxiety is very helpful to cope with it.
I hope this post helps someone who may be suffering from anxiety to know they aren’t alone and that there is the the treatment to help. Feel free to message me if you have any questions or just need to talk to someone who understands. Or contact The Mental Health Line at (855) 739-5047