The following column is the opinion of the author and in no way represents the opinions of Tiger Media Network or Fort Hays State University.
BY MARISSA CASTANOS
Lauren Elizabeth once said, “just because I can’t explain the feelings causing my anxiety, doesn’t make them less valid.” Elizabeth, among an estimated 40 million adults in the United States, struggle every day with different anxiety disorders. In fact, anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders that affect individuals across the globe. After years of living with anxiety myself, I finally saw someone at Fort Hays State University’s Kelly Center and found out that I scored high on the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7) scale.
I used to think like Elizabeth, that just because I couldn’t put my feelings into words or justify why I felt the way I did, that my feelings were not valid. Anxiety is not prejudiced. Anxiety does not care what gender you are, what race you are, how old or young you are, anxiety can take over anyone’s life. One thing a lot of people don’t know how to do is cope with their own anxiety, or help the ones they love when they’re experiencing anxiety.
One thing about anxiety is that if you have never experienced it before, it can be extremely overwhelming, even more so if you’re having a panic attack. Some warning signs that you may be having an anxiety attack include abdominal pain, chest pain, dizziness, and having a sense that you may be in imminent danger.
Some tips to stop an anxiety attack include trying to calm yourself down. One way to do this is to take deep breaths and to remember that the physiological and psychological effects of the anxiety attacks will only last around 10 minutes at most. A technique used by sufferers of anxiety is known as the “5-4-3-2-1 Technique”. Find five things around you that you can see, four things that you can touch, three things that you can hear, two things that you can smell, and one thing that you can taste. This method helps to distract you, and can calm your senses during a panic attack.
Living with anxiety isn’t easy, but just remember that not understanding what’s happening does not invalidate your feelings. And as always, if you or anyone you know is suffering from a mental illness, contact any of the contacts below. Come back next time to “On My Mind” as we discuss catatonic schizophrenia.
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
- Crisis Textline: 741-741
- Kelly Center, located in the basement of Picken, 1-785-628-4401