Anxiety has become such an easy word to use lately, with more and more people coming out about the fact that they struggle with it. Does it make it easier to deal with? I think sometimes it does. More times than not though it doesn’t. Just because it’s more common doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone understands better, or is even more empathetic about it. It’s just another thing to pop a pill for. Except that it’s not.

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A real anxiety attack!

Yesterday I had an anxiety/panic attack, when you have asthma, panic attacks literally make you panic! It was something insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but in those 5 seconds… the world was going to end. My heart started racing in my ears, feeling like it was going to pop out of my chest. I felt a flush come over me like a wave, and I couldn’t focus or hear anything except my heart thump thump thumping under my skin. The air in my lungs grew really thin and non-sustaining, it was there like it was supposed to be, but for a little while my lungs forgot what they were supposed to do with it.

And then it passed over in a few minutes inside gazillions and gazillions of slow motion seconds.

Is that something I go through often? Luckily, it’s not – I didn’t sleep very well and I think I’m a lot more easily triggered when I haven’t slept. This was actually one of the worse ones I’ve had in a really long time. A really good friend recently was diagnosed with anxiety. It was so hard for her to accept and even say aloud. I remember her crying bitterly when she told me. She kept saying I don’t feel like I have anxiety, people with anxiety are… and her voice would trail off. There is no box, and we are never too good to have our minds keel over and turn on themselves.

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The kind of environments we work in, and the fast paced nature of our lives do however lend us to dealing with all of the above. My own recent experience really made me realise how easily it can be overlooked and how desensitised we become to the realities that people are facing all the time.

What’s my point?

My point is that that this time of the year – we are all a little more tired than usual. Edgier, our fuses are slightly shorter and we have less patience for one another. There are so many of us fighting so many internal and external battles every day, ones with ourselves, our pasts and just the general stress than comes with being alive in the South Africa we are in. As December sneaks in… let’s choose to be kinder, more compassionate, a little more understanding, and less judgemental. Let’s count to 10 before flying off the handle and try to make everyone’s holiday a little happier. It is after all – the season for giving!

In the Meantime – Have any of you experienced something similar to this? Let me know in the comments.

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