Feel like I could fall to my death at any moment. If someone offered me a vacation from earth, 10 minutes of being numb... Id take it. Everyday I say I can't keep on living like this. It's too painful. My body and mind physically hurt. My tummy has been in crippling knots for weeks now. I have burn marks that will never leave my stomach from my obsessive use of hot water bottles, a poor attempt to numb the pain in my stomach. Can't catch my breath, I feel suffocated. Waking up during the night sweating. Dripping in sweat but freezing cold. Hair stuck to my face bedding soaked. I'm crying I'm half asleep trying to breathe. My heart is pounding I can feel it banging. I hear sounds so loudly like a record that won't stop playing on repeat, my mind is so noisy. I catch my reflection it scares the shit out of me. I cry and fall pathetically to the floor. Monsters don't sleep under my bed. They sleep inside my head.
Anxiety is not the same feeling as being worried or slightly concerned. At least it isn't for me. The pain of my anxiety disorder goes deeper then my thoughts. It runs wild and free through my body creating pain in places I didn't think could hurt. I'm often asked what having an anxiety disorder feels like. Your need a strong imagination for this! The Tigers have found me they're running after me at great speed. They trap me. There about to pounce on me tearing my body to shreds. Imagine that fear... That moment when I'm about to be eating by Tigers is what it feels like. Being stuck in the moment. I've had lots of visits to my Doctors showing physical symptoms to be told the same thing. Its my mental health. Mental health has an assumption that it's all in the mind, this is not true. Ask my body. I've become quite the expert in dealing with my mental health, I've tried so many options from no medication (shit show) back to medication. Different types of therapy. Being hypnotised. Diet and exercise. Meditation and lastly hope. Hope that this isn't going to control my life, hope that I will raise my sons in a world where male suicide isn't on the rise and the biggest cause of death in men under 45. This scares me. This is pushing me on the days id rather hide and throw my phone out the window. Change won't happen unless more people say ENOUGH.
Panic guide to fighting the tiger
- Drink and drugs may be rock n roll babe but numbing your anxiety means it triples in size. Don't even bother. This is very self-destructive and will lead you to another shit show of a path.
- Talking sounds easy hey? Yet many people are still not talking about their mental health. This is a fantastic way to share and get support on what you're going through. But please lovers don't talk to an idiot.
- Don't Google "Am I mental" this won't help. Reading lots of symptoms will only scare you. Talk to a professional not Google.
- Exercise. Who hasn't yet recommended this? Getting out for a brisk walk or to the gym can be impossible when you're in the trenches of a mental health illness, however if you can attempt this I promise you won't regret it. The rumours are true exercising does lift your mood, clear your head and make way for better thinking.
- Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Don't underestimate the power of hanging with the right people.
- Start a bullet journal. My favourite. Quick and to the point. Writing things down will remove thoughts from your head.
- Meditation. This is a learnt habit that will reward you for the effort you put in. I'd say since starting this over a year ago I'm 20% calmer. Very happy with that. Slowing your mind down is a skill much-needed when taming the Tiger.
- Labelling. Now I wasn't advised on this but I use it every day. Nasty, crazy, crippling thoughts come in my head. I stop and say this is my anxiety I can now choose to run with this or think of something else. I use this technique with my OCD and it's helped me so much. This is why mediation and having a good mindset will be your life line. Having the ability to slow your thoughts down just enough to not run with it means you have a small window to choose what to do with the thought.
- Routine. Success is found in a great routine. Anxiety doesn't like chaos. And surprises... well they have the power to truly screw me over. I have a daily routine and as much as I'm flexible to a point I do find peace in sticking to it. Think about how your day looks? Are you letting the day control you bouncing around with no direction? Routine is your new pal. Make friends pronto.
- Mantras. Mine? I can handle this. I mutter this to myself when my panic kicks in or I'm about to step out my comfort zone. Saying I can handle this takes away the what if's from me. If what if happens I'll handle it. You will to babe.
- Podcasts and audio books are incredibly valuable to me. Sometimes I can't focus on reading so I find this approach very relaxing. Theres a podcast for everything now. My ultimate favourite is The Guilty Feminist. Instantly makes me laugh and leaves me feeling like a badass feminist.