My Fears Vs. My Anxiety
While they may seem the same, to a person with anxiety, the difference between fear versus anxiety are huge. My fears occur naturally all of the time, but my anxiety occurs during unusually mundane situations.
As a guest at my friend’s wedding, I was suddenly stricken by anxiety’s unforgiving grip. I felt the need to run away and escape. My wedding guest anxiety flipped on and off throughout the night. In contrast to this wedding, I was a bridesmaid in another wedding and feared for the worst since my anxiety had hit me so hard at the last wedding.
Continue reading “Fears versus Anxiety”
As someone who has always suffered from anxiety, I can tell you that I dread job interviews. They would literally keep me up at night. When I graduated from college and began my search for my first “big girl job,” every interview was a torturous 30 minutes where I felt like my anxiety had complete control.
After quite a few horrible (and I mean horrible) interviews, I got serious and figured out a few tricks to help keep my anxiety at bay. I went from a stuttering nervous idiot to “nailing the interview” according to my last employer. I’d like to pass on my knowledge because no one should let their anxiety stop them from getting their dream job. Continue reading “Surviving A Job Interview With Anxiety”
Empty. Empty. Empty. She grasped her stomach with both arms and hugged the space that was now desolate. A barren hole that she could never escape. Years from now she would look down and remember that awful day- the day she learned she would never be a mother.
When it comes to anxiety, travel can be a big trigger. I have found that one of the best ways to combat my anxiety is to be prepared. I was able to survive a 15-hour flight followed by a 10-hour flight to Australia because I was prepared. If you suffer from anxiety and are worried about an upcoming long flight, read on for tips on how to combat that anxiety and have smooth flying.
General Tips for Long Travel
- Pack intelligently. Here is a complete list of what you may need.
- Get up and walk around or stretch frequently. It will help with your circulation and prevent blood clots. You will find that your legs will start to feel swollen and heavy after so many hours of sitting.
- Drink a lot of water throughout your travels. It will also help with your circulation. Pack your own empty water bottle and ask the flight attendants to fill it for you. You can also pack powder drink packets if you want something other than water.
- Preset alarms for any timely medications you need to take. This will prevent you from having to do any headache-inducing math while you are traveling. Also make sure you pack enough medication for a few days in case your checked luggage gets lost.
- Brush your teeth right before you decide to sleep on your flight. It will help keep you in routine and trick your brain into thinking it is bedtime.
- Load up on vitamin C, multivitamins, or airborne a few days before you leave. Not only will it hopefully keep you from getting sick (no one likes to travel sick), but also it could help prevent you from getting ill from your travels. (You are stuck in a chamber of stale air and germs for many hours.)
Managing Anxiety on Long Flights
Continue reading “Tips for Surviving a Long Flight with Anxiety”
When I discovered I was going to Australia, you can bet I was ecstatic. But before I could have my summer down under, I had to get there. When I booked my flight, I was so excited about the price that I didn’t realize how much I would hate myself later. My travels plans were as followed…
- 1.5-hour drive to Orlando airport EARLY in the morning (thanks to my boyfriend for driving me)
- 2.5-hour flight to Chicago
- 3-hour layover
- 15-hour flight to Shanghai
- 7-hour layover
- 10-hour flight to Melbourne
My flight back was close to the same except I went from Shanghai to JFK and then down to Tampa. In total I spent almost two days traveling each time, but I survived. As someone with anxiety, such a long flight did make me worry. I have found that a good way to combat my anxiety is to be prepared, so I would like to share my wisdom with others.
What to Pack in Your Carry-On
- Wipes- for when you want to shower but can’t or for those dirty planes/airports
- Toothbrush & toothpaste
- Makeup- Personally, I don’t wear makeup when I travel, but if freshening up will make you feel better, go for it.
- Advil, ibuprofen, tums, etc- Carry any medications you may need to help with anxiety, headaches, upset stomach, or any other common ailments you suffer from.
- Prescription medicines- Make sure you have enough for a few days in case your checked bags get lost.
- Extra clothes- This is for both if your luggage gets lost and if you want to change.
Continue reading “What to Pack for a Long Flight”
My junior year of high school I laid in my bed wide awake, my fear for the coming morning taunting my restless mind. When I awoke in the early morning, I froze wanting time to do the same. Finally with the coaxing of my mother, I got up, took an anxiety pill the doctor had given me, and threw on my brown flip-flops before hesitantly getting in the car. It was just a blood test. People did that all of the time right? I sat in the large square waiting room lined with uncomfortable purple chairs and old magazines. There were posters on the wall and some talk show on the television to my left, but I didn’t pay them much attention. When my number was finally called, I felt my heart pick up speed like Effie had called my name from the Hunger Game’s drawing. I suppose the nurses could sense my panic because it wasn’t long before four of them were gathered in the tiny room for what was meant to be a one-man job. My mother claims that three nurses had to hold me down just to get the rubber band around my arm, and this was before I even saw the giant needle. All I remember is screaming “GET IT OUT!” as tears poured from my burning face.
It started with that one blood test. Already bad enough for the girl that fainted in the first grade when the local hospital visited. Needless to say, I have never done well when it came to blood.
Unknown to me until two months after the initial blood test, the word “cancer” had been bouncing around between my mother and the doctors like in a game of ping pong. Clearly something was off, but I was only told when the next appointment was. It was easier to just pretend that this would all eventually fade away. Continue reading “That Sort of Thing”
Her face tells it all. The way her eyes narrow in at you pointed in accusations. Her brows follow suit creating an arrow that points directly inside you stripping away at any veiled privacy you thought you had. The lip is pursed to one side slightly downward. But the biggest tell is the nose, and the way it crinkles just ever so slightly. She feels no remorse, no fear, and just waits. Her face unchanged from the hardened glare.
I stand in awkward silence attempting to gather the words, but nothing arises to the surface. I can feel my face glowing warmer with each passing second of silence. I feel suddenly lightheaded and oddly embarrassed.
“Nooo?” I respond with too much inflection after what sounds like the third “o”. In a small flicker of courage or perhaps stupidity, “Why?” I add before I can change my mind.
“No reason.” She dismissively waves her hand as she walks past me.
I am left standing in the hallway frozen by the terrifying interaction and left to wallow in endless thoughts of my last unanswered question. My socially awkward self will be forced to focus on that crazed interaction for the rest of the day.
As the bride or groom, I imagine it’s normal to feel a bit nervous before that walk down the aisle. All eyes are on you, and it is your day. But what about as a guest? It is only me? For some unknown reason, my anxiety can creep in just sitting on the sidelines.
The last wedding I went to, I had a short moment of panic where I felt the need to escape. I was sitting toward the front and in the middle of the chairs so leaving was not an option. A sudden pang of “I need to get out of here.” A few moments of an uncontrollable shaking leg to distract myself. And the all-consuming feeling of anxiety.
It was short-lived thankfully, but why should it have happened at all? Then again during the reception, my anxiety slowly creeped back in. Maybe it was the pressure to catch the bouquet. Maybe it was my boyfriend’s attention-grabbing moves on the dance floor. But once again, I found myself having to take a mental timeout to calm down.
Another Wedding, More Anxiety?
This weekend I went to another wedding in the San Francisco area, and I was all too aware that my anxiety might make another unwanted appearance. For fear of an attack, I dragged my boyfriend to the back of the chairs for the ceremony and made sure I was on the outermost one away from the aisle. An easy escape route as I saw it. Continue reading “Wedding Guest Anxiety”
On Wednesday, my worst fears were realized… well not entirely. I found myself escorting someone to the emergency room. For those of you that are not aware, anxiety and hospitals are not a good mix. I do my best to avoid anything medical. Just driving to the hospital, I could feel my heartbeat quicken and my mind beginning to wander.
Immediately, I told the nurses that “I don’t do hospitals.” How horrible I felt to be a source of anxiety rather than comfort for my boyfriend who was rocking in pain from a dislocated shoulder. My boyfriend is nice enough to try and calm me down, but my spirit crumbles at the thought of him having to be there for me once again.
The anticipation is the worst. It’s like sitting in a rollercoaster cart as it slowly creeps up that first hill. As the nurses buzzed around the emergency area, I found myself shaking my leg uncontrollably and specifically turning my head away from any sounds. My mind convinces me that the tray cart rolling down the hallway is actually a person being rolled in on a stretcher as a trail of blood falls behind them. Continue reading “Emergency Room Roller Coaster”
At age six I was not the least bit afraid. There are numerous home videos of me dancing and singing for my family always in some new costume. Twirling around the room, my audience applauded me with little smiles and soft laughs. I was a “ham” according to my mother. Pictures fill the photo album of me posing in dresses and a wide-gap tooth smile.
At age eight that all seemed to change. For whatever reason, the insecurities kicked in. They washed over me and drowned out that happy-go-lucky six-year-old. There was no more dancing or twirling around the living room. My costumes were cast to the side, only to be used sparingly with close friends. My desire to be the center of attention dissipated and was replaced with an anxious little girl who hid in the corner. I’d shutter at the thought of standing out, happy to be living in the shadows.
In the matter of two years, my anxiety had taken over. It had made me two separate people unrecognizable to each other. And worst of all, I still do not know why. What happened to ignite this drastic change? I guess I’ll never know.