Today I had one of the worst anxiety attacks of the past year. I have been holding things together fairly well for a long time. Sometimes, when there is a trigger, the anxiety will build up, and if you’re not prepared, it will eventually explode.
For me, my anxiety comes out as rage and irritability.
Today it was an explosion of emotions, that had been waiting to come out for the past few weeks, and I did not know how to handle it.
What I should have done is listen to my body and my warning signs telling me what was about to happen, and ask myself some important questions.
“Will this (the thing that had been bothering me) matter in 10 years from now?” In other words, is it SO important that it will have a lasting impact on my life? Am I going to feel the impact of “messing things up” for years to come, or is it really not such a big deal?
“Why am I feeling anxious?” – Sometimes when I am anxious, and the explosion is starting to build, I don’t know what is causing my anxiety. Sometimes is it better to take a step back and analyze my own feelings. Today I had my first job interview in over a year (since I started my mental health recovery) and I wasn’t freaking out about the job interview at all, I was nervous about the transportation to and from the interview. Sometimes it’s best to identify exactly what is wrong before you have the panic attack.
“How have I handled things in the past?” – You’ve been here before, in this anxious place. That means you’ve survived every day up until today. I like to ask myself these questions, because it puts things in perspective. You are clearly strong enough to handle this. You’ve been through worse, and you can do this.
“Are my fears realistic?” – Is this likely to happen? What you fear can often be distorted in your own head, especially if you are over thinking things on a loop. Take a step back and ask yourself if what you have imagined for your future is actually realistic, or likely to happen. What will most likely happen, and what is the best and worst case scenario?
Questions have become my trusty companion during my anxious moments, especially since I have been working on becoming more self-aware. However, in the heat of the moment, it is very difficult to remember your coping mechanisms. I would recommend keeping them in a safe place like a wallet or somewhere handy where you can refer to them.