This Crazy Little Thing Called…Anxiety!

Hey, hi, hello, sorry for the silence. Life has been pretty crazy since I started my second section of the semester. For those that don’t know, I attend a university online. My classes are every 7.5 weeks instead of the normal 16 weeks per semester. The school calls them sections. So each section I take is between 2-3 courses. I am in my senior year so my courses are progressively getting harder and more time consuming. Since blogging is currently one of my many hobbies it tends to take a back seat to the priorities in my life. Priorities being: work & school (generally on the same level of my priority list), household tasks, family, and self-care. I barely see my friends and family anymore so, hobbies like pole-fitness, hair & make-up, reading, and blogging are accomplished when I find free time.

I find less and less free time since my schedule has gotten busier. The more responsibility I have in my life, the more stressed I become. I have yet to figure out how to deal with the stress in a healthy way. Most of the time I work out to lower my stress level, but sometimes it’s hard to stay focused on working out when I want to just hide away from my responsibility and stress.

Ever since high school, and probably before, I have been prone to anxiety attacks. They generally happen late at night, when the distractions fade away and my mind starts to unwind. I have never taken medication for my anxiety, although I did try CBD oil. Unfortunately, the dosage I was taking didn’t really help me. Instead, I mainly use breathing and mental exercises to help the anxiety attacks pass. Sometimes when they get really bad, my guy pulls me though. He even got me a weighted blanket to help at night (Aww, he’s the sweetest!). Over the years the anxiety attacks have become more sporadic, since I have developed better coping skills. However, every once and a while they do disrupt my life. Today’s anxiety attack was not at night. This time it happened in the middle of work.

It was 11:00am and I had a lot occupying my mind. I was completing my work, but my mind was elsewhere. I took off of work Friday, making it a three-day weekend for me.  To give you some insight, this is how my weekend is going to go: First and foremost, I have my first exam for my upper-level Management course on Friday. Second, my guy and I planned a weekend around Chicago where we will be going to the NIN concert Friday night. Third, we have a wedding to attend on Saturday. Finally, Sunday will be the day I catch up on homework for the next week. Most of this weekend should be pretty exciting, but there was a lot to get done and work was just not where I wanted to be.

I got this sinking feeling in my stomach, one I have had one too many times before. I felt an anxiety attack coming on. I sauntered to the restroom at work, thinking I might get ill. Water in hand, music playing on my headphones, I brace myself as I pace the women’s restroom. I walked back and forth. I walked the length of the room. A girl from my department walked in and saw me white and shaking (damn near vibrating), so she stood there with me and talked to me about anything and everything to get my mind off of my present feeling. My eyes had welled up with tears. I was in a hyper-emotional state and I couldn’t help but tear up. And then… my department manager walks in. Ugh, just what I need, management to see me like this. All I could think about was how I should be working, and how bad of an impression this is making. She’s a nice person and a nice manager, but I would have rather not had a complete meltdown in front of her.

My manager took me into a team room and sat with me for some time. I explained to her it was just test anxiety for my upcoming exam, even though I knew it was a much more than that. But how are you supposed to explain this particular state of mind to an outside person, a feeling that isn’t necessarily describable in words. She told me about her experience with test anxiety in attempts to relate to the way I am feeling and tries to find a way to calm me down. Personally, I tend manifest my stress physically and it isn’t something I can fully control. The stress in my life generally evolves into an anxiety attack over time. They are a consequence from me burying my stress because I tell myself I can get though my day, that my life isn’t that hard. No amount of people telling me to calm down, or to just breathe, will help me get through it. I already tell myself that. Having someone else tell you to calm down or relax when they aren’t experiencing what you are experiencing – the feeling of not being able to breathe, or the room closing in around you – tends to be more frustrating than helpful. I just have to get though it in my own way.

Over a small period of time, I took some deep breathes and determined I was stable enough to go back to my desk and continue working. My anxiety didn’t subside, but I was able to manage it for the remainder of the day. As embarrassing as the experience was, I am grateful to have an understanding manager who was willing to sit with me until I felt okay enough to go back to work.

So yeah, that was my Monday… I mean Thursday. How was yours?

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