Having Anxiety is Not a Weakness
Anxiety has been a struggle of mine for quite some time. I used to hide my anxiety symptoms because I thought that I would be perceived as being weak. People would always refer to me as the the strong one, and I would often be the first person sought out if someone needed to vent or needed advice. I was also the one trusted to stay level headed in the event of an emergency situation. “Oh Jasmine can totally handle this” Yes, 9 times out of 10 that was right, but that didn’t mean all the time. Afraid of what people would think, I hide my anxiety for quite some time. On the outside I looked fine, but on the inside I had this surge of emotion that grew stronger everyday. I suppressed that emotion for so long until one day…it happened. I had my first anxiety attack. My heart was beating out of my chest, I had shortness of breath, and couldn’t move. So many thoughts were running through my mind. What is this? What is happening to me? Is there something wrong? What are people going to think if they see me like this? I remember making my way to the nurse’s office, where she finally got me relax, and called home for someone to come and pick me up. My grandmother tried to talk to me about what happened, but I refused. I just continued to ignore the situation because if it’s out of sight it’s out of mind right? Wrong. Little did I know, that first anxiety attack would be the first of many. It wasn't until after having an anxiety attack while sitting in my college lecture one day, that I decided to talk with someone about what was going on.
Growing up there just wasn’t that much conversation or education about mental health. With the lack of knowledge, and the fear of being unaccepted I just hid everything. Little did I know, there were many people around me that struggled with anxiety. Through this process I have learned so much about myself. First and foremost I have learned that having anxiety is not a weakness. There is absolutely no reason to feel weak. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel that you are! Also, it's ok to feel vulnerable. A lot of times when you are experiencing anxiety you feel kind of open and exposed, that is totally ok.
When I started to understand my anxiety, I also learned the things that I could do to work through it, and started to recognize some of my triggers. When my anxiety is at a high, here are some of the practices that have helped me.
This has primarily come through yoga and meditation. The biggest thing I’ve learned by attending yoga is the importance of breathing, and the awareness of your breathing patterns. This is also something that I discovered in mediation. Meditation can be as simple as taking 5 minutes to just calm your mind and breathe. If you are looking for a place to meditate, I would check out Take 5 Meditation studio in DC. It has a very welcoming environment, and there are many different meditation classes that you can take, including one for beginners.
2. Drinking Tea
I’m not a coffee drinker *gasps* “what did she just say!?” Yeah, I have to admit I’m not a big coffee drinker. I love tea. I have my very own collection of teas and tea cups. I have different teas for different moods. I make it part of my daily morning routine to have a cup of tea. When my anxiety is heightened I especially like the Honey Lavender Stress Relief tea by Yogi tea. Here are some of my favorite teas, and tea accessories.
3. Social Media Detox
Social Media is a huge part of my life, since I am starting a business. I find myself reaching for my computer a lot of times to check my analytics before even just taking time to relax and get ready in the morning. On days when I’m feel extra anxious I put the phone down. Turn of my social media notifications and don’t look at my social media for at least 12 hours. I will do this with email as well. Yes, it is hard, but in the end you feel so much better. It is great just to disconnect from the social media world.
4. Using Essential Oils
I carry a stress relief essential oil rollerball in my purse, I also have in handy for when I travel as well. I roll the oils on my pressure points, and I take a few deep breaths. It helps me to relax. I like to infuse essential oils in a variety of ways in my life. From beauty products to even my body wash. My absolute favorite body wash is the Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap I love the peppermint and lavender scents. It's literally like having a spa day at home! I also am big fan of candles. If you walk into my house you will find a bazillion candles everywhere. I like to create my own signature scent by mixing a matching candles. Here are some of my favorite essential oil finds.
5. Do Something Creative
I love to paint, draw, or even take photos. Once a Michael's art and craft store opened up near me, I now have a collection of art supplies on hand in my house. Half of the time I don’t even know what I’m making, but end the end it always turns out to be something fabulous. If I don’t feel like painting or drawing. I will go for a walk around the city, and take some fabulous photos.
6. Surround Myself with Love and Laughter.
A lot of times when I experience anxiety, I like to stay in my little cocoon at home. It might PJ’s and binge watching Netflix’s. What I have learned is even though a lot of times my first reaction is to hide away. It actually helps to get out of the house, surround myself with my friends and it always helps to lift my mood.
July is Minority Mental health awareness month. More than ever I want to participate by creating awareness for mental health and self care by sharing my story. Please take time to check out the following resources at Mental Health America.
Having anxiety is not a weakness. There are always people who will listen to your story. <3