Anxiety is something we all have faced within our lives. We feel anxiety when we face uncomfortable situations or when we feel fear. It’s a natural response that warns us of danger. We can either face the anxiety and fight it or run away from it. I found this information in Anxiety Management, by Mike Mitchell. The question is when does anxiety become a serious problem?
When your fears begin to grow to the point that they control your body’s reactions with panic attacks, heart palpitations, hand sweats, nausea, sickness, and so on, then you have a problem. Thoughts, worries, and feelings become overpowering. You feel as if you have no control over your body’s response and it begins to affect your day to day activities. Work, school, house work, and other daily rituals become overwhelming. You feel useless and hopeless. When you get to this point, you need to seek help.
During my recovery I started having anxiety attacks, I thought they can’t be real, something else must be wrong, because my life is good. The more I learned about anxiety, I realized what was causing mine. I worried excessively about paying our bills, not having enough money, doing my job righ,t and making mistakes that could get me fired. My worries turned into fears that grew within me like a monster. What if I lost my job, how will we survive? Would we go bankrupt? If we didn’t have enough money to pay our bills, would we end up on the streets?
Each week, before pay day, my stomach would twist, my muscles would tense, and my mind would race with worries. I’d even struggle to sleep. I began dry heaving and throwing up on a regular basis. I felt helpless. I couldn’t control my feelings, my fears, my worries or my body’s reactions.
My husband said to me, “Everything always works out. Why don’t you believe me? I tell you this every week and we’re always fine.” It’s not that I didn’t believe him or that I didn’t want to believe him, but my worries and fears became so big they overwhelmed me. I couldn’t see past them or even around them. No matter how I tried I couldn’t gain control. They were bigger than I was. I couldn’t even focus on anything else. I couldn’t stop the anxiety attacks. They were more powerful than me. I couldn’t just shut them off.
In therapy I learned relaxation techniques like breathing through my nose and slowly releasing it through my mouth. At night I would listen to a tape that led me through techniques to release tension and visualize a tranquil place. I started working on my worries. I analyzed them and asked myself, “Is this worry that important? Can I look at it in a different way?” I had to find ways to distract myself with reading, journaling, and other activities. I also started taking medication. The medication controlled the dry heaves and getting sick.
When your anxiety becomes out of control, it is time to seek professional help. You may never be cured of your anxiety, but you can learn to take control of it. It is possible to rise above your feelings of fear and worry. You can learn ways to catch your fears and worries before they become too out of control, but it takes a lot of work and determination.
I can’t say I have my anxiety completely under control, but I am learning to handle it better. My worries and fears are not as prevalent. I am willing to keep fighting them and work hard to stay within the light.