Have you ever found yourself nervous about a presentation? You feel overwhelmed and feel the presence of every eye watching you. You start to sweat and lose your thought process. You may start mumbling, stuttering, or worse – not able to speak at all. Then you either begin to fall apart or pull yourself together and make others think you know what you’re doing – even if you don’t feel like you do. More people deal with anxiety than the public likes to admit. Anxiety is like a bad demon. It can feed into our fears and immobilize us, or it can propel us into uncharted territory and make us feel like champions. Personally, I like the idea of conquering the demons.
There are always things in our lives that happen. We may get tongue-tied when we meet someone with that our chemistry levels are off the charts. We might be up for a promotion that hinges on how we do a specific project or task. We might be going into a leadership role and are intimidated by the criticism we are undertaking. No matter what issue you may have in your life, remember this. “You’ve got this.” When fear takes over, it feeds into anxiety. Anxiety is real, living and breathing, a disease that affects too many people. Most of us who have anxiety are aware that we do and take appropriate measures for it. Not every anxiety requires medication. Sometimes all it takes is to catch your breath. Breathe. Calm down. And show what you bring to the table.
Did you know a lot of performers suffer from anxiety? It’s true. You wouldn’t know it because they can perform under pressure. We don’t see what happens behind the scenes. Some of them deal with anxiety through medication. It’s not always the smartest form of coping, but medication can help regulate a person’s body when used correctly. I don’t recommend overdosing, and I especially don’t recommend abusing drugs.
I thought it might be helpful if I provided some information on the symptoms that anxiety can present. I found several sources, including WebMD, that lists the following symptoms:
Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:
- 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.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, it might be helpful to note that millions of people suffer from the same problems. I’m grateful that there is a lot of information out there to help us from feeling overwhelmed. Anxiety isn’t a joke. It has serious effects on people. It can feed into depression, and the two of them together can be very dangerous. That’s why it is critical to address this disease. If you feel like anxiety prevents you from doing things you know you can do, please get help. I’ve watched too many loved ones succumb to anxiety and depression.
You have the power to take back control of your life. Anxiety may be a disease you fight, but it doesn’t have to be the disease that controls your life. When you feel fear taking over, remember fear is temporary. Taking power back over fear is critical. You’ve got this. You’ve got support, you’ve got friends, and you’ve got opportunities.
There’s a man I know that suffers from extreme anxiety. He volunteers with a local organization and does well as long as he’s in his comfort zone. But when you throw anything with technology at him, he will look at you like a deer in the headlights. He freezes. He struggles to adapt because those skills do not come easily to him. His panic attacks become pronounced, and it’s become the norm to help him calm down. I’ve watched a lot of people suffer from anxiety. I’ve noticed that when people are dealing with their anxieties, many other folks make fun of what they don’t understand. The danger is when someone is fighting a disease like anxiety and depression, it can cause other issues. I didn’t understand this until I was forced to evaluate my anxiety levels. I was one of the people who would make fun of others when I was younger. It took wisdom and life to teach me I was wrong in my judgment. To those I ridiculed, I’m truly sorry for my actions. I had no way to understand the depths of pain my actions caused. It’s only been in the last fifteen years that I’ve begun to learn what those actions did. I can’t make the past change. All I can do is recognize that I was part of the problem and now choose to be part of the solution.
In doing this, I’ve come to recognize that life is messy. By admitting where we’ve taken wrong turns, we are saying we’re ready to right some wrongs. And by righting those wrongs, I hope I can remind people that fear is something they have a chance to conquer. Because at the end of the day, we all have got this. We are all a part of the solution to many problems in this world. Let’s calm down and kick anxiety to the curb.