How I live with anxiety
I want to share my experiences with anxiety disorder and panic attacks. When I first started experiencing anxiety and panic attacks, I had no idea what was happening and was looking for answers. I wanted solutions that would fix whatever was going on as soon as possible. I hope the things that I share can help someone that was in my position more than a year ago.
Before January 13th 2017, I had never experienced a panic attack. I had no idea what acute anxiety felt like, and my knowledge of mental health was very little. It all changed for me while I was practicing with my team as normal on a monday morning, when I got the weirdest feeling that made me lose all concentration. I wasn't able to think clearly, breathe normally, and just felt really off. I was on edge, best described as if I was constantly feeling the same sensation that you would feel if you tripped over something. The difference being for me, the feeling of something terrible about to happen didn't stop after half a second. It felt like I was about to die. My daily routine had been consumed by constant panic and fear. I didn't know what was happening and I was also too afraid to speak to anyone about it. I thought I was going insane and everything I've been experiencing is only something crazy people go through. It felt like my sanity was being held together by a single thread. I was actually scared of having to go into a mental hospital. After four days of hoping for this feeling to go away on its on, I lost hope that it would and I cancelled practice to go to the hospital.
I learned what I was going through wasn't a brain disease, heart disease, or any physical disease. It wasn't signs of me becoming a crazy person. It was anxiety. It took me a long to fully accept this. All these feelings of dread and fear coming from something that doesn't actually harm you. From this point on, I started to learn about anxiety disorders and panic attacks.
The disorders that I relate to and experience are depersonalization/derealization disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder.
Talk therapy was a big help for me. Luckily I was able to have someone who was a licensed therapist to talk to everyday through skype. It’s important to talk to others and not keep your thoughts bottled up inside. You’re likely to feel better after you get things off your best.
I learned how to write my thoughts down to get rid of my racing anxiety-driven thoughts. I used to use a physical journal, but now I use my phone.
I use breathing exercises to get through panic attacks. Before every game I play on stage I’ll do the same breathing pattern that takes a minute, and calms me down whenever I feel anxious.
I don't take any medication. After I went to the hospital the first time, I was given antidepressant and benzo prescriptions. I didn't use any drugs to get through my anxiety so far and I don't plan to. Medication isn't for everyone, I got through my anxiety without it.
Lifestyle changes have been my biggest help in living with anxiety.
Don't drink caffeine.
Don't drink alcohol.
Eat a healthy balanced diet, don't over eat for any meals.
Drink a lot of water throughout the day.
Exercise regularly, daily highly recommended.
Sleep uninterrupted for eight hours every night.
Make habitual routines for your day to day life.
Go outside or socialize for an hour or more daily.
The most important thing is consistency. It took a long time for me to feel normal and be in control of my life.
Anxiety never really goes away, but you can change things in your life to live with it. I’m grateful for the changes I’ve made. I appreciate life more, lost weight, and have a very balanced and healthy lifestyle, because of anxiety.