feels the same way. Through this series, it is my hope that we can challenge that thought. Today, my dear friend has agreed to share with us her struggles and victories of anxiety. Even though she has agreed to share this information, we will call her Regina to protect her privacy.
Amber: How would you describe anxiety?
Regina: Depending on the situation, I would describe it as an overall panicked feeling, which is basically what I felt the first 20 weeks of my pregnancy. I could also describe it as overthinking every small thing, i.e. worrying about saying the wrong thing, if what I’m wearing is ok, etc.
Amber: How does anxiety impact your life?
Regina: I’ve avoided events that I really wanted to go to. I imagine I’ve missed out of meeting great people for fear of talking to them. And I had a few bad grades at school because I was too anxious to get up in front of the class to do a presentation.
Amber: What are some ways that you have tried to deal with anxiety in the past that did not seem to work very well?
Regina: Confronting it head on. That did nothing but put me in situations that I wasn’t ready to be in. I was put on medication, but voluntarily stopped taking them because I didn’t want to be that person who needed meds to function normally.
Amber: What do you think you would do differently now?
Regina: I think I would seek out trusted people to help me push through situations that I’ve backed out of. Just to have someone there that I’m comfortable around if I get overwhelmed.
Amber: How do others react/respond to your anxiety?
Regina: The ones that don’t know what’s happening tend to think that I’m being rude when I don’t talk to new people or excuse myself from a group. Or I get a lot of “just don’t worry about it”, “you’re thinking about it too much.”
Amber: When you feel anxious, what do you need from other people in your life?
Regina: To not tell me any of those things I just said. Just for them to be there and reminding me things are ok, because, truthfully, I do overthink things, but that needs to be something I figure out for myself. Telling me that’s what I’m doing does nothing by make me anxious about being anxious, or it makes me feel like something is wrong with me that I can’t just do things or go places like everyone else.
Amber: What are some of the most helpful ways you’ve found to manage anxiety?
Regina: Having a plan. Making sure there’s somewhere I could go to just be alone for a minute or that there is someone I can “cling to”. If I’m going to a get-together I like knowing who’s going to be there. Doctor’s visits, I have a checklist of things I need to bring. I make sure I know exactly what will happen when I get there (for me or kids).
There are many forms of anxiety and this is one woman's encounter with anxiety. Do you notice any similarities with your experience? Did anything she shared resonate with you? If you are wondering if you have been affected by anxiety, schedule an appointment with a counselor. Reach out to a trusted source if you need help. Thank you so much Regina! Your insights are so helpful!
*Interviews are not conducted with current or former clients.