With all of the planning and preparation we’ve been doing for the wedding it’s hard for me to tell if my anxiety stems from what’s about to come or if it’s a result of my struggles with attempting to even out my mental health.
Anxiety is a huge struggle for me and I find it more debilitating than the diagnosis of Bipolar II.
For those who have very little, or only a mild understanding of the effects of anxiety, it can be difficult to comprehend what a person goes through when the crippling grasp of this disorder takes hold.
It’s easy for those on the outside looking in to offer advice; suggesting the person experiencing the anxiety “calm down,” “take a deep breath,” “relax.”
But for the individual feeling their chest tighten, walls cave in, breath shorten, and panic rise, hearing the words “calm down” only escalates the situation.
Anxiety is more than just feeling anxious or not knowing what will happen next. For someone who suffers with a panic disorder it’s about not understanding where the panic comes from or why the lump rises in their throat.
It’s about finding the closest exit in every building or shopping centre so that they can leave as soon as possible, should they begin to feel uncomfortable.
The feeling is excitement, as though you’ve just bought you new car and can’t wait to pick it up; mixed with nervousness like you’re starting a brand new job and don’t know anyone; coupled with frustration like someone just stole the parking spot you were waiting on and it was awesome; along with anger like you’ve never experienced before and you want to hit something; together with butterflies you get when you’re about to go down the hill on a huge rollercoaster and might throw up.
It’s all these things at once wanting to come out.
Holding it together is incredibly hard and it can manifest itself in frustration, anger, tears, excitement, nervousness, etc.
The release doesn’t make it go away it just manages it.
And for those of us who have acknowledged that we have a panic disorder/mental health diagnosis we deal with this internal battle regularly.
“Calm down”, “relax”, “stop worrying.”
Those words don’t compute.
Because we can’t calm down, relax, or stop worrying. It’s not part of who we are. But we can attempt to manage our emotions, behaviours, and environments.
The road to stabilization is a long, difficult one, but with consistency and positive supports we’ll get there.
Don’t give up.
How do you manage your anxiety/mental health?