Opening Up & How I Deal With PTSD “Happy Over Crappy: Week 15 “

December 12, 2016

Hello everybody! I hope everyone is keeping warm in this INSANE cold weather. My gear shift actually got stuck as I was driving the other day and I couldn’t shift gears! I was stuck in second gear going like 20 km/hr on the road it was scary! I pulled over and managed to get it working again after my car warmed up about bit more, but needless to say it was stressful! I wanted to take today’s Happy Over Crappy post top open up a bit more to you guys and let you know the causes of my anxiety and also how I deal with it. I am definitely still learning the latter but I have started to get a bit more of a sense of how to deal with my feelings in the moment. If you haven’t read my post where I opened up a bit about my PTSD you can read it here.

I have been dealing with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I just didn’t have a word to describe my feelings. As a child I would constantly feel worried about things most kids wouldn’t stress over. I would ALWAYS feel panic and heat when it came to catching the bus after school. I was always worried I would miss it and be left at school with no way of getting home. I remember dreaming about those moments a lot but I never told anyone I was feeling those things. I would get anxious a lot at school getting good grades and trying to impress my teachers. I would get anxious having birthday parties and worrying that no one would come because they didn’t like me. There was a lot of worrying, tears, and secret panic attacks that I would never discuss with anyone. It wasn’t until about 3 years ago I actually heard a professional say “you have anxiety” where it all started to sink in. I realized that all those feelings I had and the scale on which I had experienced them were not normal. Over the passed few years my anxiety has gotten a lot worse. I started talking to people and it always seemed like they kicked up more dust then ever was settled. I started to remember moments of my childhood that I had forgotten and pushed away and it was all coming to the forefront of my mind and I did not know how to deal with it. All the trauma I had experienced as a child I had never dealt with and had buried deep down that I had actually forgotten very serious and big events. When the memories came flooding back, it sent me into a whirlwind of panic attacks, insomnia, and body image troubles. I still have a hard time remembering a lot of things, and every now and again I will remember a moments from my childhood and it all floods back. I have had a few major events happen in my life that have been the triggers for my anxiety. As child I had an extremely turbulent relationship with someone who was meant to be very close to me which lessened my trust and self-esteem in HUGE ways. I also on three separate occasions experienced sexual assault which has taken me an incredibly long time to stop blaming myself for, which I still do sometimes. These moments in my past have shaped me in dramatic ways and have launched my life into one of panic, self-esteem issues, and anxiety. About 2 years ago I was finally diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). For those that don’t know, PTSD is a mental illness that is caused by someone going through a traumatic event. It can cause many things like insomnia, nightmares, anxiety, flashbacks etc. If you would like to learn more about it, you can read more here.

As mentioned, I have been struggling with my anxiety now more than ever. I will have a panic attack any time I have to worry about finding parking. I have a panic attack if I am going to an event or party where I need to meet new people and don’t know anyone. I have a panic attack if I feel like I have worked very hard on something and am critiqued in an unsupportive way. I have panic attacks in the car. I have panic attacks on my couch. I even have panic attacks sitting in a room full of people and nobody knows. I have gotten really good at suffering silently. Some days are led by anxiety, and others I don’t experience any. Obviously those are the days I am happiest, where I feel lighter and more on top of things.

There are some positive things that have come out of my anxiety. I find that I am WAY more patient with people and what they are going through because I understand what it is like to be pushed into conversations you don’t want to have in the moment. I also find that I have been way more thoughtful about myself and how I react to things and know what will trigger me. I also feel like it has caused me to be a harder worker, and more reliable person. I have found little ways to help me deal with my anxiety, and although I still am working hard at finding more ways, these are a few tricks that help me, and maybe can help you if you are going through something similar.

1. Deal with your emotions in the moment and don’t let them simmer.  I used to always be the person who got hurt, and then would never deal with my emotions. I wouldn’t express how I was feeling to the person who hurt me, and in my head I would build up this person into someone who didn’t like me, judged me for everything, and would even imagine other conversations they may have with me in the future. I would turn this one situation into the person themselves (if that makes any sense) and any time I would be near that person, I would feel a negative energy just because of that one experience. I started to confront things in the moment more (I still let things simmer occasionally). When I am feeling something I try to confront those feelings with that person right away. It makes me feel WAY less anxious is the long run, and I am able to see there side more, and talk through my feelings as well.

2. Celebrate my successes. This is a big one for me. There are a lot of situations that make me extremely anxious or uncomfortable that I just simply have to deal with. I used to go through them, experiencing all these emotions, and then when they were over move on to the next thing. Lately I have been celebrating getting through those moments. Whether that be a meeting, or an interview, when I make it out alive haha I always will give myself enormous amounts of credit for it so that I feel like I have achieved something, because I have!

3. Find a quiet, dark place to refocus. When I am having a panic attack, over stimulation can be a huge contributing factor. If it is loud, or bright, or cluttered, I can be in a panic attack for much longer. If I can find a quiet and dark place to sit for a bit, I usually come out of it way faster, and way more relaxed.

4. Eat, and eat healthily. I am guilty of not eating simply because I have forgotten or because I do not feel hungry even though my body is. When my sugar levels drop and I am hungry, I am WAY more susceptible to having a panic attack or feeling anxious. Making sure that I have nutrition in my body makes me less anxious and more level headed.

5. Go for a walk. This has helped me SO MUCH. Something about moving my body and being out in the fresh air brings me peace so much faster. I can’t wait for the day I live back in country and can just be surrounded by it. It immediately calms me.

If you have read this far, thank you. I hope that if you are going through something similar these little things can help you too. It is hard to open up about these things but I think it is important to start the conversations and know that you aren’t alone. If you feel like sharing you experiences please do. Also thank you to all who have supported me in this <3 You truly make a huge difference. Love you all!

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