Take a Step Back and Breath


Anxiety is something that I’ve had to deal with for a long time. It’s also something that I didn’t even realize I was dealing with. I always confused it with nervousness. It wasn’t until I started going to therapy two years ago that I was told it was anxiety.

Anxiety can be different for a lot of people. One of my friends says her mind starts going so fast as if she were thinking of a million things at once. Which is funny because to me it’s the opposite. My mind goes blank and all I can think about is panic. My chest feels so heavy and intense, and then this bad feeling just overcomes me. That heaviness is all I can focus on, and it starts to get in my head. I start to panic on the inside, but on the outside, you would have no idea that anything was wrong with me.

Suddenly I just want to scream to let it all out. I honestly feel like that’s the only way it would go away. But, I can’t do that. Instead, I have to resort to other techniques to make it go away. I’ve had therapists tell me to just breathe and then start to name all the things around me, in hopes that it’ll ground me. Other therapists have told me to think of a happy place. Then I’ve seen online to do the square breathing method where you breathe in, hold, then breath out, and hold. But, honestly, I feel like as if none of that works for me.

When I’m in the moment, my mind doesn’t even think of those methods. All I can focus on is the heavy feeling in my chest and the panic. So instead of trying to do anything to fix it, I just sit there freaking out. I do want to fix it in the moment, but I just can’t. I just sit there until it goes away, and I hate it.

I guess the only thing I really do is distract myself. If I can, I’ll listen to music or watch a show, YouTube video or go on TikTok to distract me. That only works if I’m free to do those things. On the events that I have tried just breathing in and out, its either I’m doing it wrong or it just doesn’t work for me. When I tried that method the anxiety feeling comes back immediately, and it doesn’t go away until it just leaves on its own. It’s in those moments where I wish I could just scream. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just wanted to scream into my pillow or go out in a open field and just let it all out.

Dealing with anxiety is definitely something I have to work on. Sometimes, like so many other things, it feels impossible to fix. I just know that I can’t sit there panicking while just waiting for it to go away. I always try my best to just breathe in and out but, I just don’t know if that’s the right method for me. I guess it’s like trial and error.

Another thing I’ve realized is that there are different levels of my anxiety. For example, I get a bit anxious whenever I go to order food so I practice my order in my head over and over again. I get way more anxious when I’m around new people because I feel like they’re going to judge me immediately. I also don’t know what to say because I’m so bad at small talk. So I end up being very quiet and then I think, “They probably think I’m stuck up”. I feel like I can never win. What gives me the absolute most anxiety is being in a new environment or trying something new because I don’t know what’s going to happen next or the outcome.

I know most things in life are like that, but I just can’t help it. There are days where it feels manageable, but other days I just feel like, “It ends up going anyway every time so what’s the point”.  I always try to take it day by day. I always try to do things that relax me like painting, going for walks, listening to music, or watching my comfort shows. I’ve realized going for walks helps me the most since I’m moving and not stuck in the same place thinking about the heavy feeling. When I’m anxious I try to just take deep breaths until I’m relaxed, but as I said, it always just comes back. I just have to try again and again until I find my own technique.