The Anxious Mind
Have you ever woken up feeling irritated and you did not understand why? You went to bed on time, you slept well, but something just felt off. Throughout your day you may have cried, became angry, more annoyed, and even lashed out on someone. Some days you may feel like you have it all together and the next you feel like you have lost control. Completing small tasks can seem overwhelming and stressful, and you may have started to avoid situations and certain people.
Have you ever felt like your heart was beating through your chest, stomach doing flips, face feeling hot and feverish, you start to sweat, and you feel nervous, hands shaking?
Has this ever happen to you?
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. It can depend on your background, your social support from family or friends, your financial situation, your health and emotional background, the community you live in, and many other factors. In this current state of emergency with the Coronavirus pandemic, people’s stress level has hit an all-time high due to the loss of loved ones, jobs, homes, and things that brought you a sense of safety, peace, and joy.
If you are finding this period of your life stressful and anxiety filled just know that you are not alone. Everyone experiences temporary feelings of sadness, and times of worry and nervousness. The problem results when those feelings do not go away. As we kick off Mental Illness Awareness Week it is important to know that anyone can experience mental illness at any time. There is no group, gender, sexual identity, race, or cultural belief that can prevent it from happening.
What can I do about it?
First, start by prioritizing your emotional and mental health needs, and by doing so it is not a sign of weakness. Understand that taking time to take care of yourself does not equate to neglecting anyone else. Research has shown that women are twice as likely than men to experience depression and anxiety due to biological and social factors. Did you know that half of Black women that experience those symptoms do not seek help? Black women are not allowed to be vulnerable or be emotional in certain spaces. When they are expressing their feelings, it is interpreted as a threat or the “angry black woman”. Anxiety can show up in the form of aggression or anger for everyone, but for Black women those emotions are not socially acceptable.
There is no replacement for the help you can get from a mental health profession; however, there are some self-care practices that you can benefit from such as:
· Focus on breathing in and out for 5 minutes
· Set limits – decide what you can and cannot do
· Move your body (dance, exercise, etc.)
· Cut back on caffeine and or alcohol
· Consider Therapy or talk to someone that you trust and understand you
· Play music that makes you feel good
Just do anything that changes your mood positively and is easy to maintain without causing you more stress later.
How do I know if I need to speak with a doctor about how I feel?
This blog is not diagnosing or substituting the need for you to see a physician or therapist. If you have experienced a change in mood that has been two weeks or longer, please seek help from a professional. Reach out to your PCP, Specialty Physician, or Therapist to discuss your symptoms. Some (not all) symptoms are listed below:
· Feeling nervous, restless or tense
· Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
· Having an increased heart rate
· Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
· Feeling weak or tired
· Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
· Having trouble sleeping
· Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
· Having difficulty controlling worry
· Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
Connect with a provider who is open to learning about you and your life circumstances. It is important that your team of providers work with you to make a diagnosis and establish a treatment plan that is right for you.