My first encounter with anxiety was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with. I know that it’s a bit different for everyone, but the premises are very similar. You’re jolted into a state where your heart is beating so quickly, you might be sweaty, short of breath, the walls are closing in… the list goes on. In short – to put it frankly – you feel like you are going to die. I’m not being dramatic, it’s truly an uncontrollable sensation that creates these thoughts.
The truth is, the uncontrollable nature of anxiety is what makes it worse. Not knowing when the next attack is going to happen creates another form of anxiety in itself. And that was what truly ate away at me.
I’m going to get real now. Simple things that I had enjoyed and loved slowly became my worst nightmare. From going to bars and restaurants, to to traveling, you name it. All those things started to trigger anxiety for me.
As soon as I realized that I was going through anxiety, I acknowledged it. I immediately made many changes that I want to share with you. These changes are what got me through the worst of it and what gets me through it now. Anxiety doesn’t go away, but you learn to deal with it.
For me, one of the things that got me past anxiety was participating in my normal social life. As much as I didn’t want to go out and be in situations that were causing me anxiety, I didn’t want to take away what had always been enjoyable for me. I definitely decreased the amount of social events I attended, but I didn’t shy away from anything that I’d already committed to and would have regretted missing.
I sought out a therapist the moment I realized what was happening. I knew that I needed someone to help me deal with what I was feeling and find the source and root of it. My therapist used cognitive behavioural therapy to treat my anxiety. This form of therapy was great for me. It challenged me to face my anxiety front on, which can sound scary, but actually helped me realize the worst thing that could happen from an attack was nothing. I wasn’t going to die. I learned breathing exercises. I learned that telling myself I was going to be okay and reminding myself nothing bad could happen when an attack struck, is what helped me to get past it. While it wasn’t easy to do this, it was practical. It allowed me to realize that I’m the only one that can stop an attack. The other thing that therapy taught me was that while my anxiety will never go away, if I continue to confront it, it can reduce to almost nothing.
Build a Network
Not too many people knew about my anxiety when I was going through it. I wasn’t ready to share that information, but I did tell my close friends and family. Those are the people that I could talk to freely about it and rely on to help me get past it. Just knowing that I had this support made it better in a way.
If you had asked me a year ago, I would have been uncertain. But essential oils are so therapeutic. I was probably one of Saje’s best customers over the past year. Buying bath salts, roller balls and air mists of different calming blends to treat my anxiety. Every night, a spritz of the stress release spray is what got me feeling calm while I slept. I can’t stress enough how healing essential oils can be! I’ve finally gotten my first diffuser and I can’t tell you enough how it has become a major part of my life! What I liked the best about Saje, was how helpful and knowledgeable the staff were. As a novice at the essential oil game, this was what I needed.
Bach Rescue Remedy
A friend told me about this product. Initially, I wasn’t sure if it would work, but to be quite honest, I was completely desperate to find something that helped relieve the feelings that I was having. When I first tried it, it was incredible. This is a natural herbal remedy that comes in many forms, from a spray all the way to tablets. I purchased both the drops and the pastilles. The drops were more effective, but not practical to take all the time. If I am having a really bad attack, the drops are always really helpful. Seriously, a few drops on your tongue and a minute or two later, you’re feeling a lot more calm. The pastilles are great for long plane rides or when I am out in public and don’t have a moment to step away. I still use both of these today!
Reducing Alcohol and Substance Consumption
When I first started going through anxiety, I went dry. I didn’t let myself drink at all. Why? Because I didn’t want alcohol to become the way that I dealt with this illness. To be quite frank, no one plans for alcoholism, it just surfaces from other issues. From the moment I realized that I was going through anxiety, until I had successfully gotten through a few major attacks, I cut out consumption of alcohol.
I am a huge believer in self care, but after my anxiety struck it became my number one priority. That for me meant a lot of me time. I was opting for a lot more nights in to do things I enjoyed on my own. Whether it be reading a book or taking a bath, just something that gave me sanctity. I am a huge advocate of meditational yoga. This is one thing that definitely helped me fight past the hardest part of my anxiety. I can’t express how much just taking some time to be selfish and care for myself helped me. I definitely cut off a lot of people in my life that weren’t a part of my support network and stepped away from friendships. The anxiety made me feel overwhelmed and I felt that I couldn’t keep up with certain friendships because I needed time to myself to understand what I was going through.
I am not a person who embraces routine. I don’t eat the same thing daily, nor do I do anything in any sort of order. I actually hate consistency. But I knew that consistency would also help ease my anxiety. I quickly developed a routine for my weeknights. Come home from work. Make a nice dinner. Watch some TV or read a book. Have a fruit. Drink some tea. Use my essential oils. Go to bed. This routine actually made life a lot easier for me when the anxiety first struck. And there are components I still keep in tact almost every night to this day. Including the wind down with essential oils and having a tea. This helps me remind my body of something that makes it feel at ease and therefore my mind feels at ease.
I’m still working on my anxiety and getting over it. I truly don’t think that it will ever be gone, but that is okay because I’ve managed to learn how to overcome my attacks. I am in a much better place than I was when it first began and I truly believe that it can only get better from here.
Author: Rafia Kanji
Author Bio: Recipe Developer, Food Blogger and Integrative Nutrition Student.
Rafia is in her mid 20s and has a profound passion for nutrition and recipe creation. In early 2017, she launched an Instagram page and food blog dedicated to wellness and recipe creations. She later enrolled in the IIN and is currently pursuing her passion to become a certified Integrative Nutritionist. She has a creative approach to all her recipes, ensuring that they are all gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free. Rafia’s goal is to work with people to help them make healthier choices without compromising taste. You can follow her on Instagram @nutsaboutit.
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