I’ve battled with anxiety since the age of 14. I remember being in Freshman year of high-school and having my first teenage relationship. He was 16, a poet, and sort of a bad-ass. I was in “puppy-love” and it was great when it was good, but it was awful when it was bad.
During the bad times, I found myself very sad, always crying, and extremely worried all the time. It was extremely hard to focus on daily activities, and there came a point where my body couldn’t handle all the emotions so I would just start throwing up. It was so bad. I would throw up in the middle of class, literally running to the garbage can spewing in front of all my peers. It would happen in the lunchrooms, at home, anywhere! My body couldn’t help whatever I was feeling at the time and that’s how it responded. I would pray to God in the mornings and ask Him to “please help me not throw up today.” Eventually, with therapy and growing a stronger mind, the throwing up stopped around the time I turned 16.
I experienced really bad anxiety again around the time I was 19 – 21 years old in another relationship. I was with someone who I loved dearly and couldn’t handle the heartbreak I felt at times throughout my relationship. My mind would be in worry overload and it would think the worst of situations and it literally drove me crazy at times – having panic attacks daily. I also became very impulsive and did things that were considered weird to him and his family (so embarrassing when I think of it now). But I know now that my actions were the consequences of fear-ridden, anxious thoughts that weren’t being addressed. Things got better for me as I started gaining new independence on my own in Los Angeles. Time heals many wounds and eventually, I moved on to focusing on having fun and living life to the fullest to the best of my abilities.
How I deal with anxiety
My anxiety comes and goes over time. Before, my anxiety stemmed from relationships and not feeling loved. However, today most of my anxiety stems from exploring new careers and uncertainty about my future. I’ve always done therapy to help out during the hard times of my anxiety phases, however, today I am taking a new approach because the symptoms are interfering with my career. My heart jumps out of my chest daily, I’m short of breath always, my thoughts run faster than I ever could, and my body either can’t stop shaking or tensing up. It’s one hell of a roller coaster that I now refuse to ride during my workday.
So, I found a great psychiatrist, who has evaluated my symptoms, including what is known as GAD – General Anxiety Disorder. She recommended certain types of psychotherapy treatment and a few good psychologists. I have my intake this week and we will be doing CBT – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I will tell you more about my experience with it once things get rolling. But she also recommended medication – Lexapro. I’ve never taken anxiety medication, so I was a bit nervous, but also excited. I’m taking half a pill right now and so far I feel great. I’m in my first few days and I haven’t felt anxious once. I can feel that my body wants to be anxious, but the meds won’t let it. I can feel the conflict inside me, but the medication is winning. I feel like it also has slowed down my thoughts and is helping me concentrate better. Hopefully, I won’t experience and downfalls to the medication, but it can happen.
Other things that work to reduce anxiety
I’ve also found a noticeable difference when I listen to motivational content in the mornings and throughout my days. I will YouTube motivational speeches or interviews and it will boost my mood immediately. The people I listen to are people who have found great success and are leaders in the world today. They believe in bettering ones-self in all aspects and listening to their stories and messages have helped me reframe many of my thoughts – from bad to good. Some other videos I listen to include mediation and worship music that help soothe my soul. Meditation is powerful and can help calm the body and mind down. Worship brings me a certain peace and joy that I don’t experience from anything else.
My hopes for living with anxiety
I hope to learn how to reframe my thoughts and the way I perceive situations that make me anxious. I hope to learn skills that will help me cope. And I hope to be an example to those who are looking for help with their anxiety because it’s a burden to their personal and professional lives. If I can defeat my anxiety, I know you can, too.