I’ve suffered from anxiety as far back as I can remember. I have been diagnosed with many different anxiety disorders, too. Acute anxiety disorder, panic attacks, anxiety, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder – to name a few. What do all of these have in common? They can make you feel and act crazy when you know you aren’t.
I tried for years to talk about it and control it and found myself feeling even crazier. People would tell me to just breathe and to not think about it; that panic attacks will go away and they can’t kill you. But if you have never had one, you have no clue how crippling it really can be.
It wasn’t until I turned 28 that I got a grasp on the whole “anxiety” thing and started to recover from it. I still get panic attacks every now and again, but they do not last long and do not control me or my life. Recovery from anxiety disorders is different for everyone, but here are at least 10 facts that you should know about women who have or have had an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety affects a person physically.
Yup, you heard me right. Anxiety actually affects you physically. Some may experience shortness of breath, tight chest, and numbness of face, hands, and feet. It can literally feel like you are dying, and can last anywhere from minutes to hours, depending on the level of anxiety.
It can consume a person’s life.
Sometimes we get panic attacks without warning or provocation. Other times we can be pulled out of a deep sleep and suffer from an attack. This is where daily meditation and balance in your life is crucial to curb these kinds of attacks.
It can be treated, but not cured.
Panic attacks can be treated and managed, but may never fully go away. This doesn’t mean we are defective – it just means that we have to incorporate some form of stress-relief into our daily lives.
We’re not crazy.
Anxiety is essentially the feeling of losing control, so it’s natural to feel like we might be going crazy, but we’re not. It’s just our body reacting to certain stressors, and when the body feels overwhelmed, it needs some way to release those stressors. Leading a healthy lifestyle will help with that.
If we share our struggle with you, consider yourself lucky.
If we open up to you about our anxiety disorder, take that as a true testament to our relationship, because we usually try to hide it. It can be embarrassing and sometimes scary, because we think others might not want to stick around long-term. Many women who suffer from anxiety disorders also have the fear that others will judge them as being weak or too emotional, rather than just having to deal with a mental health issue that actually affects both males and females. Just try to be understanding and patient – we opened up to you for a reason.
Just let us experience our feelings.
If I am having an attack or I’m just a little stressed, let me talk it out. Most people with anxiety just want to talk out what they are thinking, because there are so many thoughts and feelings going on at once. Don’t try to analyze or fix the situation; we are going through a process that allows us to relieve our stress. Some people stuff it, so if we are talking, let us talk.
Don’t try to fix us.
This brings me to my next point: do not try to fix us. We are not broken, weak, or crazy and we don’t need you to fix us or our lives. I happen to be an extremely strong woman who has taken care of herself for a long time, so I don’t need anyone to come in and rescue me. You being my friend during an attack or just being a positive influence in my life will be good enough. Save the therapy talks for someone else.
Don’t judge us.
We don’t need your criticism or opinions on why we struggle with panic disorders. Causes can range from trauma, a stressful life, or a chemical imbalance, so your judgments on why we are the way we are and how you can fix us are not needed. Most of us who have had panic attacks throughout our lives have also researched it and have gone through multiple avenues to fix it. So in short, after years of going through it, we’re pretty much professionals by now.
It’s not about you.
My anxiety disorder has nothing to do with you. Most of us have had some form of anxiety our whole lives, so do not take it personally. We don’t mean to isolate or even sleep longer than we should. We aren’t trying to hurt you when we can’t hang out or take your calls. We might be going through a period of time where we need to work something out, but it isn’t about you. It’s just the nature of anxiety sometimes. Be patient, we’ll come around.
Please support us.
Just support us. Don’t try to fix or tell us how to live our lives. Please don’t give odd looks or use words that sound judgmental. We already have enough of those thoughts during an attack; we don’t need more from our loved ones. All we need is your love, patience, and understanding as we continue to grow and create a happier mind, body, and spirit.
Do you suffer from anxiety disorders and would like to share your experience? Please submit your story of recovery here: Write2Recovery, so that others know there is hope.
Written By: Watershed AshlingTags: anxiety disorder, how to deal with anxiety, Panic Attacks