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How To Know If You’re Experiencing Anxiety

So I feel like anxiety is something that a lot of people experience, but it’s just not talked about a lot. I’ve experienced anxiety for the last 4-5 years but never really talk about it because I don’t want to come across as 1. complaining and 2. I just don’t like to dwell on things. I have a very “it just is what is it, get over it” attitude which usually serves me well but it’s not always the best mindset to have with certain things lol. But the other week I was in Trader Joe’s and had an anxiety attack and I just felt called to say something on IG and share with y’all. I never want anyone to think my life is perfect, or feel that they are the only person that struggles with their mental health in some way, shape or form.

I’ve shared about where my anxiety stems from in this post, what I’ve done to help manage it, and even shared some symptoms that I was feeling when I was started having full blown anxiety attacks. Since then though, I’ve noticed that I feel anxious more consistently and in less obvious ways so I wanted to share more about that today. Like I mentioned in my other post, it can be hard to know that you’re experiencing anxiety unless you’ve had it before. And while I’m not a doctor, I just figured I’d share my experience with anxiety in hopes that it can help some of you possibly identify how you’re feeling, or just allow you realize that you are not alone in feeling this way!

Whenever my anxiety is really extreme (like having an actual anxiety attack), my symptoms range from a faster heart beat, dry mouth, dizziness, feelings of panic, and restlessness — like I can’t get out of a situation fast enough. When most people experience an anxiety attack for the first time, they think they are having something like a heart attack. The symptoms are so severe and intense that you’re like WTF is happening. If you’ve had feelings like this before and didn’t know what it was, you were probably having an anxiety attack. This used to happen to me all the time when I first went back to work at the hospital after I fainted and fractured my jaw (I was out of work for 3 months after I fell while I was recovering). Being back in the area where the incident happened, is when my anxiety was first trigged.

It’s interesting because before I broke my jaw, I never had the thought of “I feel anxious” (would literally give anything to go back to that LOL). It may sound really silly but feeling anxious never crossed my mind in life before then. Sure, there would be times in my life that I felt nervous but I never had the thought or feeling of anxiety–there was never that sense of panic, dread or uneasiness. And then even after I fractured my jaw and had to go back into work, I never had the feelings of “omgsh, I’m going to be so anxious going back.” That honestly was never a thought I had, because again, I had never experienced anxiety so it wasn’t even on my radar. But then when my first few hospital shifts came around, I remember sitting in our old apartment and knowing I had to go into work in a couple hours (for night shift) and just had this weird sensation/pit in my stomach. I kind of ignored it at first because I didn’t know what it was. But then after feeling that way several days in a row, I described it to Stephen. I was like, I don’t know what it is but I just have this weird pit in my stomach, like a sense of uneasiness? It was really hard to put into words what I was feeling. But as someone who has experienced anxiety before, Stephen was like, “It sounds like you’re experiencing anxiety.” I remember being like, “Oh, really?” Anxiety just wasn’t even a term that ever crossed my mind before that moment so I didn’t know that’s what I was feeling.

Fast forward to today, I still have anxiety attacks (like in Trader Joe’s lol), but they are much less frequent. What I do notice though, is an underlying sense of uneasiness in some of my days which I now know is anxiety. This is really hard to describe because it is so subtle, especially compared to an actual anxiety attack. Some of you are maybe feeling the more subtle signs of anxiety too, but have never had a full blown anxiety attack before so you don’t have anything to compare it to. Of course anxiety manifests differently in everyone, but for me whenever it sneaks in, it’s a feeling of uneasiness and restlessness. Sometimes my mind starts to race, and my heart beat will pick up a little bit, and other times it’s even less obvious and more subtle. It just feels as if something is “off” –like I have a sudden feeling that I don’t want to be where I am anymore but not because anything bad is happening. In those moments, I tell myself, why are you feeling uneasy? You’re fine! Nothing is happening. But that’s the thing with anxiety, it’s usually not rational.

Reading over this blog, I feel like my descriptions of anxiety are a little ambiguous (sorry!) but that is just the reality of how anxiety presents itself. I think you have to be self-aware enough to be able to recognize when something feels “off” and to just not dismiss those feelings. As I’ve shared before, CBD (code claireguentz) has helped me, and recently I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist to work through some of the moments where things like CBD, breath work, etc. just aren’t enough!

To end this post, I just wanted to acknowledge that 2020 was a weird, stressful, crazy year to say the least. And from what I know, I think a lot of people (myself included) are feeling excited that things are going back to normal, but also a sense of anxiety around it. If this is you, or you’ve always struggled with anxiety, you are definitely not the only one. I really encourage you to talk to friends or family about what you’re feeling, see if you can identify what makes you anxious (ps. if I know I’m doing something later in the day that will probably cause me anxiety, I skip the coffee/caffeine that AM), try CBD, talk to a professional, etc! Anxiety sucks enough as it is, we should all try and use all the tools we have to combat it.

Ps. When I signed up for Talk Space to find a psychiatrist (they also have therapists on there), I used code “anatomy” at checkout from a podcast I listen to and it saved me $100. So just wanted to pass that along!

does one of your girlfriends need to hear this? Share away…

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