(originally posted on 24 Sept 2018)
Hi! And welcome to Be the Sunshinee! Today I’m going to be talking about anxiety and my personal thoughts and experiences with it.
*Disclaimer: I am not a licensed professional and these are just my own personal thoughts, opinions, and experiences.*
“Social anxiety will make you do weird things, such as holding onto an apple core for 45 minutes during a meeting because you’re too anxious to go to the trash can that’s 10 feet away.
or waiting for someone else to throw out their apple core so you know its okay.
but waiting a few minutes after so you don’t look like you were waiting for them.
and trying not to stumble because you know everybody is watching you.
and feeling really proud of yourself when you arrive back to your seat after having successfully thrown away an apple core like it’s a difficult task.”
I read the above quote quite some time ago and it resonated with me so well.
What is anxiety? Well, according to the definition provided by Google it’s;
“a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertian outcome.”
According to WebMD the above definition is common in all people at some point in their lives wether it be a problem at work, a difficult test, or public speaking. WebMD classifies an anxiety disorder as;
“A mental illness and the distress it causes can keep you from carrying on with your life normally.”
Would I consider myself somebody who has an anxiety disorder? No. Anxiety doesn’t stop me from doing things in my day-to-day life and I think claiming it does would be a major disservice to those who truly suffer with anxiety disorders.
But it does make me hate talking on the phone, especially to strangers.
It does make me hate going to new restaurants if I don’t know how it works. (mostly fast food).
It does make me hate going to new places. (Usually to avoiding this stomach churning feeling, I drive there a head of time so I know where to go on the day of, if possible of course).
It does make me drive all the way to a yoga studio but then end up turning around a going home because there isn’t any typical parking.
All pretty silly reasons right? I know.
And the reason I decided to write about anxiety is because a few weeks a girl I follow on Instagram was posting really inexpensive name brand items on her story so I asked her where she was shopping. She told me and to my surprise, it was a store in San Antonio! So this weekend I decided to drive there and check it out! When I got there it was a really small shop that you would totally miss if you weren’t looking for it. There was only a veryyy tiny parking lot behind the building (which was completely full) so I had to park on the side of the road which is already nerve-racking enough. (What if I get a ticket, what if I stuck between to cars and can’t get out, what if this, or what if that).
A normal person would park their car, get out, and get to shopping. I had to sit there for a good 15 minutes working up the courage to walk across the street and go inside.
Absolutely ridiculous. But, eventually I did get out of my car, walk across the street, and went inside. And I guess that’s what’s important.
I’m really not sure what the point of this post is to be honest with you. I guess I just wanted to write some words of encouragement for anybody who may need them, anybody who may be struggling at all. It’s okay to not be okay and it’s okay to struggle. But it’s also okay to know you are stronger than these unwanted nerves and it’s okay to become the boss of them. You rule them, not the other way around. It’s okay if you have to sit in your car for 15 minutes just to go into a clothing boutique, as long as you do go into the clothing boutique!
The real concern comes when these unwanted nerves stop you from living your happiest life. The real concern comes when you do not go into the clothing boutique, but forces you to drive home instead. If this is true for you, know there are tools out there designed to help you tackle these unwanted feelings and know that you DESERVE them.
Anxiety is a term that gets so loosely throw around in our society today, and while I do believe everybody struggles with it at particular times, I do not believe everybody has an anxiety disorder. Learn the difference, know the difference, respect the difference.
If you are struggle and would like someone to talk to I’ve included the National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and a few other helplines below.
National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
The staff at NAMI are well-trained to answer questions on a wide range of mental health issues, including anxiety. Available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, this organization provides free information and referrals to treatment programs, support groups, and educational programs. NAMI also offers help for family members, information about jobs programs, and connections to legal representation in your area.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-271- TALK (8255)
If severe anxiety is causing you to experience suicidal thoughts, don’t hesitate to call this free, 24-hour crisis intervention hotline. Counselors can help you ease your anxiety and get to the clear headspace you need to seek help. There are separate hotline numbers for Spanish speakers: 1-888-628-9454; the hard of hearing: 1-800-799-4889; and veterans: 1-800-273-8255. You can also chat with a crisis volunteer live on their website.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
If you’re not in danger of harming yourself or others, but are ready to seek medical care for your anxiety, SAMHSA’s treatment locator service can help you find a mental health facility near your that specializes in anxiety. The service is available in both English and Spanish 24 hours a day and can also point you to support groups, substance abuse treatment programs, and community-based organizations.