Diary of a Horror Nerd: Anxiety

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Anxiety comes in many forms, some suffer from chronic depression and some have episodes of anxiety. If you have ever dealt with this, you know how debilitating it really can be. Until right this second, only those close to me have known that I suffer from anxiety. For me, it acts up when I am in large crowds or feel overwhelmed by a situation. 

It all started when I was about 13, I would find myself getting massively overwhelmed by school and other teenage bullshit. I would have horrible panic attacks. Now as an adult, the full blown panic attacks have stopped, the best way I can describe my anxiety side effects, it is kind of like having the flu and being drunk at the same time. The room will spin and I will get very lightheaded and my vision will blur and it feels like I am about to throw up. It’s not my idea of fun, but it is a large step up from cold sweats, hyperventilation and feeling like my heart is going to pound out of my chest. 

I never wanted to talk about it because I didn’t want people to think I was weird, so I just dealt with it the best I knew how. I am much better at controlling it now and when I do get overwhelmed, I have gotten better at calming myself. Suffering from something like depression or anxiety can make you feel very alone, none of my friends or family were dealing with it, so I felt like they didn’t understand or wouldn’t understand. I kept it a secret from everyone for quite a while.  

What I do requires me to be around and speak to a lot of people, so how do I deal? As crazy as it sounds, conventions and social media have played a very big part in me learning to “deal”. Knowing the vast number of others out there that go through the same thing and many others that go through worse than me out there help me feel less alone in the whole situation. Hearing the stories of others and knowing that there are others out there that do understand has been the biggest part of me being able to “deal”. Recently, Supernatural star Jared Padalecki started a campaign, ALWAYS KEEP FIGHTING, to combat depression and anxiety. Knowing someone of that caliber has had to deal with this and is taking a stand is kind of what inspired me to finally fully come out about my 10+ years of dealing with anxiety. 

You would think going to conventions and subjecting myself to large crowds knowing that my anxiety gets worse in that type of setting wouldn’t help much at all. I have found that it actually does quite the opposite. I do have spikes in my anxiety when I am in these settings. The best advice I can give it to just take breaks. I tell my husband that I am feeling overwhelmed and I go outside and I give myself a little space. A little breathing room and fresh air can do a lot. I’m not saying this will work for everyone, so please don’t track me down and kill me because it doesn’t work for you. I am just sharing my story and what I have found helps me to give others dealing with similar shit a few methods to try.

I am not a professional and I am in no way “cured” of my anxiety, but thanks to my family and friends and my extended horror family, I am getting better one day at a time. Who knows, maybe one day I will be 100% free of my anxiety, but for right now, I am going to continue to do what I do and hope for the best. 

If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, know that you are not alone. I know from personal experience that coming forward and talking about it is the hardest thing you will ever do, but it is also the most therapeutic. Don’t suffer alone, even if you only tell one person, at least it’s out there and someone knows. Hang in there and stay strong. 

I hope this entry is of help to others in a similar spot. If you made it to the end of my babbling, thank you for hanging in there. 

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