KC Green

When dealing with Anxiety it is a hard subject to talk about & even grasp however we have to open a dialogue about it & try being open to helping others (keyword is try) & if we’re a person is dealing with it then we shouldn’t be afraid to to pursue some kind of help. Anxiety is a mental health issue & is under a bigger umbrella but it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken lightly. 

What is Anxiety?

The official definition of it is Intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Fast heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, and feeling tired may occur.

(Source: Mayo Clinic)

Simplified your body is like we’re in trouble and works itself up even though it’s not physically. 

What causes it?

Anxiety can be normal in stressful situations.

(Source: Mayo Clinic)

Anything can be a cause whether a subject in school, testing, speaking in public, mortality, money, family or friends, etc. Anything can be a stressful situation & anything can be a trigger to it.

Best way to explain it is Stanley from the office TV show after he had a heart attack. He had a health monitor that would beep whenever he was starting to stress every time, well Micheal was trying to calm the office down but it would start beeping when got close to Stanley then would stop when he moved away, he thought it wasn’t working correctly & asked him to give it to Oscar & it did the same thing. It may not be straight forward as that but it’s the same concept or idea because every person’s trigger is different. 

Why do we need to talk about it?

Because in the African American community or communities of color it is a prevalent thing to say to “toughen up” or it will “work itself out” however it takes action and actually seeking some kind of help not just praying on it or saying it’ll be fine. That work sometimes & that’s fine & dandy but most times it’s actually seeking help with something that is a internal battle. In doing research on this & just being a person open to others I know people that have anxiety, some people that are bi polar, some people with PTSD that were in the military & not which is common or even looking at the world there are people that talk about mental health like Kid Cudi or Lil Uzi Vert which have talked about mental health extensively.  The title may be “Anxiety 101” however, mental health more is than just Anxiety or you or me. It getting talked about more in this generation or this day & age and has become more prevalent however it takes people being open. An example of why we need to talk about it is when I was going through panic attacks & anxiety one of my people went through the same thing when they were younger,  I’m not gonna mention their name to protect the innocent however that would be helpful to know you faced it & you not just mentioning it when someone is in the storm person, real helpful. If you had it some mental health issue or a by product of it like you slept walk as an example mention it sometime for all that is fair and just, don’t just dig it deep inside & hide the key. We need to be open to discussing it no matter how small or big it can be in other’s lives.

I feel as though people don’t take it seriously.

It’s the truth you’re not going crazy for it because (lack of a better term) people treat the subject nonchalant like when it deserves way more attention because people deal with it way more than we talk about the issue, it’s way underrated. The real problem is when people can’t decipher actual issues because of the previous mention blow off of it & writing someone off as crazy or just labeling them because of it.

What are of the percentages of people having it?

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.

(Source: AADA)

How can I can I seek mental health help?

You have to start somewhere if you have some kind of coverage when it comes to insurance go see a doctor or start getting therapy if they are covered & if you are at an educational institution they are required to have some kind of health help for their students, people just don’t use it or they just use the the physical side. You may not have to take pills or meds but you should seek proactively like you’re doing.

I don’t take meds but I saw a therapist.

Again let me reiterate the previous statement so get my message across & someone is gonna say you didn’t cover it well I tell them read to comprehend & reach understanding. If you talked to a therapist but didn’t take meds it’s still a step in the right direction. Some people have gone through traumatic or stressful situations that need to be resolved instead of bottled up. Don’t be scurred it’s just venting. Why not?

Are there any warning signs that someone else is dealing with mental health?

The hard part about mental health issues is that people can hide what’s going on from people that are not knowledgeable about it because they haven’t seen it or have not dealt with it personally. What I can relate it to is being a lifeguard but you can’t tell when someone is drowning or fighting water. It’s truly a mental thing & different from something physical where you can see someone is hurt or injured. You can see warning signs if you really know the person or their at a fever pitch of it going through something like a panic attack or sleep walking. Other signs are depressed mood, mood swings, loss of interest, worries, or fear, as examples, it still comes down to you knowing the person because once you do they’ll tell on themselves & can’t hide behind a facade.

How does anxiety effect a person’s well being?

It affects a person’s well being in numerous ways, there are a plethora of things an individual goes through. When person goes through anxiety, the body signals the organ systems to fight or flee, going back to the first answer the body responds to the stress thinking it’s in trouble, in response the body releases adrenaline and cortisol, the person may deal with, dizziness, feeling faint, lightheaded, tingling, weakness, faster heart rate, sweating, impaired immune function, lose of appetite, & even increased urination. Over time these can be detrimental & cause chronic issues if not resolved.

High point & low point?

The low point of anxiety for me and may be different for others were the panic attacks happening, because when I was having them they felt like something bad is truly happening because your body is like something is wrong so you seek help like in my journey it was Vern & Kim who played a role in helping me through that time by getting me to urgent care quick no questions asked because it was located 20 minutes away in Cypress from PVAMU (especially Kim who was out there like Speed Racer in her little red car lol, it’s straight now) & the worst part about it is feeling dumb you went through it because medical staff can’t figure it out what’s going on because they have to do process of elimination to figure it out & you’re still trying to figure it out. The other low point was going through it solo even when you’re surrounded by people especially people that can’t relate like when I was at Mim’s House doing a short film & he asked if I was alright but really want but I put that blockade up. The highest point in my journey was finally figuring out anxiety somewhat and finding some peace when I was an instructional aide with Pre K 3 & 4 in La Marque I.S.D. at La Marque Primary located at Lake Road (before they shut down the district ) & working with those little people was hectic but it was a time in my life that felt effortless in doing & gave me a breath of life again where I wasn’t worried so my about stressful situations that much, I had a job to do.

Has any of the research changed?

Like my anatomy & physiology teacher Dr. Lane said the field is constantly changing because the body is always changing, same goes for the subject we’re talking about now there’s always a new breakthrough or treatment.

How can we identify symptoms in ourselves?

For a person going through a stressful situation it’s about identifying triggers, once you identity what caused the anxiety for you if you see any of the previously mentioned effects like hyperventilating or dizziness happened then you have a starting point for what causes it for you. Maybe it’s school, a certain thing, caffeine, or even finances. Once you figure it out it comes down to limiting it effectively limiting anxiety issues.

What do you do to maintain your mental/ are some strategies you’ve been using to overcome your anxiety?

In maintaining my own mental it’s a mix of things like having someone that is in my corner whether they know it or not that is NOT immediate family, the reason for that is because you have to choose to care for them and love them and in return they’ll do the same & don’t judge you so much & actually hear you out letting you vent not you being a leech or a parasite but actually being reciprocal in care, compared to family they got your back & all that but if you stay with them, there to close to you or your situation to vent to because their possibly going through the same thing as you even though in a perfect situation they love you unconditional. The other thing I try doing is limiting my stressful situations & negative talk by myself personally and others. Doing this is easier said than done sometimes because not every day is sunshine and rainbows especially after sepsis & dealing with  nonsense like foolishness when driving LYFT or being a caretaker for my grandma. There are situations that I can’t avoid but I shut down a lot of things & people because they either want to have a pity party or sulk in their own feelings or something is brought to me that I shut down with the quickness & it’s the same for negative talk, most times we are own worst critic focusing on the bad things rather than how far we’ve come on our journey. It may seem like a terrible thing to do however it comes back to my peace of mind & limiting my stressful episodes by doing it. People that understand that are cool with it.

What can I do for self care?

If you’re not on a medication prescribed by a doctor, their and things you can do:

Exercise because it helps to have a routine & puts you in a better mood.

Meditation or attending to ones current self

(A day at a time)

Limiting Caffeine (Because it’s a stimulant & can fuel Anxiety)

Sleep on a routine 

Therapy (Whether talking to a therapist or someone you can confide in.)

What are some good coping mechanisms ?

Here is list of things that can be done or that I’ve done personally.

Take a slow breath. Continue slow breathing for 3 minutes.  

Drop your shoulders and do a gentle neck roll.

State the emotions you’re feeling as words, e.g., “I feel angry and worried right now.” (Aloud, but to yourself.)

Massage your hand, which will activate Oxycontin.

Put something that’s out of place in its place. (Physical order often helps us feel a sense of mental order.)

Take a day trip somewhere with natural beauty.

Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Then, ask yourself, “How would I cope if that happened?” Now, answer those questions.

Write an email you’ve been putting off.

Take another type of action on something you’ve been putting off.

Throw something out of your fridge.

Try a guided mindfulness meditation. (Use Google to identify free resources; there are some good ones out there.)

Take a break from researching a topic you’ve been over-researching.

Cuddle a baby or a pet.

If a mistake you’ve made is bothering you, make an action plan for how you won’t repeat it in the future. Write three brief bullet points.

Ask yourself if you’re jumping to conclusions. For example, if you’re worried someone is very annoyed with you, do you know for sure this is the case—or are you jumping to conclusions?

Ask yourself if you’re catastrophizing, i.e., thinking that something would be a disaster, when it might be unpleasant but not necessarily catastrophic.

Forgive yourself for not handing a situation in an ideal way, including interpersonal situations. What’s the best thing you can do to move forward in a positive way now?

If someone else’s behavior has triggered anxiety for you, try accepting that you may never know the complete reason and background behind the person’s behavior.

Recognize if your anxiety is being caused by someone suggesting a change or change of plans. Understand if you tend to react to changes or unexpected events as if they are threats.

Accept that there is a gap between your real self and your ideal self. (This is the case for pretty much everybody.)

Question your social comparisons. For example, is comparing yourself only to the most successful person you know very fair or representative?

Think about what’s going right in your life. Thinking about the positive doesn’t always work when you’re anxious, but it can help if anxiety has caused your thinking to become lopsided or is obscuring the big picture.

Scratch something off your to-do list for the day, either by getting it done or just deciding not to do that task today.

Ask a friend or colleague to tell you about something they’ve felt nervous about in the past, and to tell you what happened.

If you’re nervous about an upcoming test, try these quick tips for dealing with test anxiety.

Do a task 25 percent more slowly than usual. Allow yourself to savor not rushing.

Check if you’re falling into any of these thinking traps.

Try gentle distraction; find something you want to pay attention to. The key to successful use of distraction when you’re anxious is to be patient with yourself if you find you’re still experiencing intrusive thoughts.

Go to a yoga class, or do a couple of yoga poses in the comfort of your home or office.

Get a second opinion from someone you trust. Aim to get their real opinion rather than just reassurance seeking.

Allow yourself to do things you enjoy or that don’t stress you out, while you’re waiting for your anxious feelings to naturally calm down.

Go for a run.

Find something on YouTube that makes you laugh out loud.

Lightly run one or two fingers over your lips. This will stimulate the parasympathetic fibers in your lips, which will help you feel calmer.

Look back on the anxiety-provoking situation you’re in from a time point in the future, e.g., six months from now. Does the problem seem smaller when you view it from further away?

Imagine how you’d cope if your “worst nightmare” happened, e.g., your partner left you, you got fired, or you developed a health problem. What practical steps would you take? What social support would you use? Mentally confronting your worst fear can be very useful for reducing anxiety.

Call or email a friend you haven't talked to in awhile.

If you’re imagining a negative outcome to something you’re considering doing, also try imaging a positive outcome.

If you rarely back out of commitments and feel overwhelmed by your to-do list, try giving yourself permission to say you can no longer do something you’ve previously agreed to do.

Do any two-minute jobs that have been hanging around on your to-do list. It’ll help clear your mental space.

Jot down three things you worried about in the past that didn't come to pass.

Jot down three things you worried about in the past that did occur, but weren't nearly as bad as you imagined.

Do a form of exercise you haven't done in the last six months. 

Allow time to pass. Often, the best thing to do to reduce anxiety is just to allow time to pass, without doing the types of activities that increase anxiety.

(Source: Psychology Today)

Your anxiety is lying to you. You are loved & you are going to be okay.

Mareo McCracken

Overall when talking about the subject, we progress whenever we have clarity on it, this article may not cover everything about anxiety or mental health but it’s a step in the right direction. I hope that me or others being open about certain subjects are good thing in helping others that have heard about it dealing with it & knowing your not alone. Like the quote said prior to this you’re not less than or damaged you probably did a lot & you can’t let this mental battle limit your success or what you are doing, because in full view of the situation is way more in hindsight. 

Songs that relate to Anxiety.