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“IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD.”

That’s what they always say when you open up about your anxiety as if you don’t already know. But my favourite of all has got to be “Oh, really? That’s normal.” Most people failed to acknowledge the reality of mental health because it’s not something that can be spotted with one’s eyes.

We live in a world where people are believers in the presence of evidence. Why do I say that? You see, if you are running a fever, the temperature of your body changes. If you catch a cold, your nose would be runny and you would be sneezing. All that can be easily detected by either one of the five senses we humans possess. As for mental health? Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. How do anyone detect feelings? Well, they can’t. At least not at the moment and because of that many chose to dismiss the cruciality of mental health.

I was 12 years old when I discovered that I suffer from anxiety disorder. I have never told anyone, not until I was about 16 or 17 years old. I started opening up about my issue because all the while they thought I was just being “lazy” or “spoilt” when I refuse to go to the counter to ask for an extra fork or walk in a mall all by myself.

It is rather torturous being in a constant battle with your mind. I would start having panic attacks in a public place, I would have palpitations, my heart will start racing terribly that I could hear my heart beating from the insides of my ears. I remember telling myself that this is how I am going to be for the rest of my life but here I am, 9 years later, better.

There were several things I did to overcome my anxiety. Fret not, I won’t bother telling you things like “Talk to a friend, discuss your inner fears” kind of crap because frankly, that will not help in the long run and not to forget that in life, no matter what people make you think, all you really have is yourself.

1. FIND THE ROOT OF YOUR ISSUE

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Know your issue better by learning what triggers it. Why don’t you like ordering your own food? Perhaps it is your fear of embarrassing yourself by mispronouncing something or the fear that the waiter / waitress couldn’t hear you that you have to repeat. It seems petty but looking at your issue in depth will help you manage it better.

1. EXPOSE YOURSELF

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Yeah , that seems like a bad advice considering that is the cause of your anxiety, right? But exposing yourself to what scares the holy crap out of you is the way to start. For example, if you are terrified of walking in public areas alone, that is exactly what you need to be doing repeatedly until you feel better about doing it. Force yourself to face your fear.

Side note: Maybe start small, with the place you’re kind of familiar with like the mall you’re used to. Go with your friend or your mom (just so they’re nearby if you need anything) but walk by yourself.

2. FIND YOUR COMFORT ZONE

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As for me, when it gets too overwhelming in a public place, I’d head to the nearest toilet and stay in a cubicle until I feel better. Or if there aren’t any toilets available, I’d pick up my mobile phone and call a close friend. It helps.

Side note: Never push yourself, you know your limits. If you think that’s enough for today, that is enough.

3. LOWER YOUR GAZE

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Anxiety can be triggered when people look at you but unfortunately, you have no control over them. So, you need to control yourself. I am used to walking while looking at the floor because I find it much more bearable to be in public when I can’t see faces.

4. WEAR A MASK

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I used to be in a phase where I would put slap on a lot of make up on my face (raccoon eyes, drawn moustaches and the likes of it) because it acts like a security blanket. I would feel that I have more power over them when they can’t see how I really look but I can. Aside from that, since they find the need to stare, it’s much better to give them an actual reason to , so my mind wouldn’t find the need to wonder why they’re looking in the first place.

5. CREATE

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Mental illnesses and art are often related. You will be surprised of how much creating art will help you. It is a form of expression which is much better than bottling up. If you are not good at drawing or doodling, try writing or scribbling. Photography is another option you might want to consider. Explore what you are most comfortable with and start from there.

5. TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME

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You can’t possibly get rid of your anxiety overnight or entirely for that matter, it is a part of who you are. What you can do is manage and take it easy. It is okay to be scared of something (or in my case, several things) , it only means you have something to lose. So, guard it, whatever it is but don’t let it consume you. Whatever’s going to happen will happen no matter what you do, if you keep that in mind, you’ll be more at peace.

This Post Is Giving Me Anxiety
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