Why are you freaking out?? Anxiety is something I used to think was just someone getting all hot and bothered about something that didn't matter. But the truth of it is, it couldn't be more real. I would call myself a "high functioning anxiety sufferer". If I looked back throughout my life, even childhood, so many things made a lot more sense about how I was struggling and couldn't put a finger on it. I dealt with a lot of stress from a lot of different sources and thought I was a rockstar handling it. As long as no one knew sometimes I just cried for no reason and found things to help me mask my anxiety, everything would be ok.
Then one day.....
It started as a numbness in my left arm that started at my hand and slowly took over my arm. It was becoming hard to breathe. I started worrying this was cardiac arrest. Then everything became increasingly worse! My mouth was going numb it felt like my tounge was swelling, and my body began collapsing. I couldnt breathe or swallow and went by ambulance to the hospital. Hearing the paramedic say anxiety attack, my panic rose higher!
My emotions become so severe they lead to a panic attack, a sort of weaponized anxiety that hit fast and hard. It was an out-of-body experience and I felt like I was dying.
How do some have this problem and others dont?
The fear, anger, guilt, envy emotions all reside in the same place. The job of determining whether it is or not goes to the cerebral cortex, which sorts things through more coolly and either responds to the threat or shuts down the siren the amygdala has set off. Sometimes, however, the alarm gets stuck. The cerebral cortex can get flummoxed trying to sort real risks from exaggerated ones:
If 2.6 billion people were suffering from an illness, you’d think we’d all be more familiar with it. That figure represents 33.7% of the population of the world, after all. It also represents the share of that population that will at some point experience an anxiety disorder, according to the National Institutes of Health
Scatter brain is just the beginning of it.
Anxiety causes the body to produce the stress response (also known as the fight or flight response). The stress response stresses the body, which can have an adverse effect on brain functioning. Research has found that stress can impair the short-term learning and concentration areas of the brain. This is why when stress elevates, many people experience short-term memory and concentration problems.
HOW I DEAL?
I have to have a process. The first step is to minimize triggers and then recognize whats happening. If you know someone thats having a panic attack, you can walk thru these steps with them.
The Keys To Helping
Don't minimize it. Its real.
Dont say theres nothing to worry about.
Listen. Listen. Listen!
Figure out a plan WITH them.