City Girl Talks Anxiety: Introduction
It seems that there is an anxiety epidemic happening all over the place and I, personally, know quite a few people that suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. I’ve had a lot of conversations about anxiety recently and came to realize that it is a far bigger problem in society than most people imagine, which is why I felt like sharing my little tips on anxiety to not only help myself deal with it, but also give other people some hope.
I came up with the idea of a personal anxiety cheat sheet to help me in situations where I’m feeling anxious, which still happens occasionally. I need to try to calm down and remind myself that nothing is going to happen and that my body is very capable of handling anxiety and symptoms of panic.
First of all I’m going to answer some pretty basic questions people might have about anxiety.
How to know that you’re experiencing anxiety? If you’re new to all of this, here’s a short video that might help you understand these weird and scary feelings you’ve been experiencing lately.
Why an anxiety cheat sheet and how did I come up with it?
I found it quite helpful in situations where I’m feeling anxious to have a little piece of paper to hold onto and read to keep myself busy and not dissociate from the situation. The most important aspect to panic attacks is to stay focused on what’s happening to you and around you. I like to read my cheat sheet to be reminded that everything will be fine although my body and mind might be trying to trick me into thinking that I’m in danger when I’m not.
I don’t know if it makes sense to others, but to me having this little piece of paper with me at all times feels like having a lifejacket on board when there are turbulences. It’s something simple but powerful that helps me stay in the moment and not get carried away by my anxiety.
I found this video quite inspiring when I thought about what to include in cheat sheet.
How can I get rid of my anxiety and avoid having panic attacks altogether?
The most vital thing for anxiety is fear and it is the gatekeeper of panic attacks. They can loosely be described as the fear of fear, so a state of anxiety is the constant fear of having a panic attack and if one focuses on it too much, life could start to revolve around this fear and everything will be controlled by your anxiety, which can result in you avoiding places and situations where you’ve experienced panic attacks. Slowly and step-by-step you might find yourself trapped at home, because you’re too afraid your body might do something funky when you leave the house and at that point you’re knees deep into an anxiety disorder.
That sounds really harsh and to be honest it sucks and is one of the worst mental states I have experienced in my life.
What I found most difficult and still struggle with is NOT avoiding situations where I’ve had panic attacks. It’s extremely challenging to go back to a place that gives you anxiety, but you have to, otherwise your fear will increase and make it even harder to overcome.
My anxiety cheat sheet
Don’t fight the fear, let it happen. Demand more!
Nothing is going to hurt you or your body.
Describe how your body is feeling. What are you thinking?
Stay focused on your surroundings, don’t dissociate.
Describe where you are. What can you see/smell/hear?
I’ve had this feeling before and nothing has ever happened to me, it can’t be that bad.
My body is strong, nothing will happen.
It’s uncomfortable, but not dangerous → let it happen!
Enjoy the adrenaline!
Unclench your fists, relax your jaw and loosen your shoulders.
Realise where you are and accept it.
→ Don’t run away, it will be over soon.
I will dig a lot deeper into this whole minefield of anxiety in future articles, that will also feature interviews with women from the City Girl community sharing their experiences and revealing what has helped them overcome and/or get rid of their anxiety.
If you’re suffering from anxiety and panic attacks and want to share your story, message us under firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk about your experience or you could submit your own piece on anxiety on the magazine!
Written by Michelle Pantke, who can be found as @badwolf95 on Instagram.