The Truth About Living with Anxiety

08.17.2020 — Ashley

Anyone living with anxiety knows how crippling and scary an anxiety attack can be. From the physical and mental effects, it’s something that no one ever wishes to deal with. But the truth is, so many people are living with anxiety and it’s likely at an all-time high right now. So, if you’re wondering what I do when I’m experiencing an anxiety attack? CALL EVERYONE!

I’ve been very open about my journey with anxiety and depression. I’ve done more work than I ever thought possible. I’ve learned how to get through the dark times. I do, however, still get anxiety from time to time, and let me tell you, it’s quite the journey. Most recently, while staying in Malibu at a friend’s place (pre-Coronavirus) I had a severe anxiety attack. I hadn’t had one in a very long time so the symptoms made me spiral and not realize what was happening.

It started like this: I was on Twitter reading about the COVID-19 spread (shocker) on cruise ships. I then had a phone conversation with a friend about how isolated I felt being out in Malibu as opposed to being in my home. As soon as I got off the phone, I noticed I had a rash on my leg, which then progressed to pains in my stomach and me feeling like I was on the verge of passing out. I called my husband who was at his studio to tell him I might pass out and I’m all alone with the dogs, so he told me to lay on the bed and just breathe.

[Image: VSCO/CleverFolly]

I then proceeded to call a lot of friends because I felt lonely, and I thought that by distracting myself my anxiety would get better. I noticed that when I kept saying the word “isolated” it triggered some anxious feelings. One of the things I learned in the past was that negative words or thoughts attribute to anxiety and depression, and it’s changing those to more comforting and positive thoughts that help get us out of the anxiety.

One of my favorite books is called Attacking Anxiety and Depression by Lucinda Bassett. The book incorporates hands-on exercises, group therapy tapes, and homework so that you can apply these tools to your everyday life. I’ve recently decided to do the book again since being in quarantine and experiencing the pandemic has triggered a lot of unknown feelings that have translated into bouts of anxiety.

We’re all going through something new, and the fear that creeps in can cause our emotions to roller coaster out of control, and it’s up to us to take action.

I encourage anyone who might be going through depression or anxiety to speak to a professional—as well as allotting time to find your own tools through reading and education to be able to self-cope. I know that therapy can be expensive, but thankfully more affordable resources like Talkspace and 7 Cups are available for all and don’t require you to leave the house. Having the right tools helps instill a good amount of confidence within yourself that helps defuse the anxiety when it happens.

I know the symptoms can be scary but know that you are not alone and a lot of people are going through the very same thing right now. Starting your day with meditation, I’ve found, can help ground you before your day begins as well as clearing your psyche of potentially anxious thoughts. I’ll be tapping more into meditation very soon with another post! Again, it’s all about changing your perspective from a negative to a positive one and appreciating the journey. We’re all in this together.