Overcoming Stress: One Year of Stress & Anxiety

Hyperventilation, heart palpitations, trembling & shaking, sweating, choking feeling, feeling unreal.  Living with stress, anxiety, and panic attacks for one year, I experienced these panic attack symptoms on the reg.

I didn’t know what was wrong with me.  After just one month of experiencing these symptoms at the beginning, but not having the slightest clue what it was, I was scared.  I relied on what the Internet was saying for diagnosing my issue, which only made me more scared.  But it made me stop and think, what was going on in my life at the time that caused this sudden stress and anxiety?

At the time, I was half way through my senior year of high school, around the end of January 2015.  You’re probably thinking, what kind of high school senior deals with high amounts of stress in their second semester?  Surprisingly, senior year was a very tough time for me with the workload, activities, and social events I was taking part in.  As a senior, I was only taking three classes at my high school, one of which was an AP class, was an Event Associate Intern for an Event, Hospitality, & Tourism Management course offered at another high school, was dealing with the struggle of applying to colleges, was playing at the #3 spot on my high school’s varsity tennis team, was working a part-time job, making time to go out with my friends, making time to spend with my family, and even just making time for myself.  I never realized I was taking on more than I could handle until the anxiety symptoms started to become more and more intense.  From having a heavy workload from my AP class, and especially from my Event Planning class, the amount of stress started to build and build.  I just wanted a break.

As I was constantly sick with some type of cold for a majority of senior year, or was instead experiencing many panic attack symptoms all at once, I missed more school than I had missed my entire junior high and high school career combined.  I couldn’t manage the feeling of missing so much school, which only caused me to stress out even more for how much it was putting me behind on school work.

After going to the doctor, looking up home remedies on the Internet for avoiding panic attack symptoms such as certain vitamins and medicine, working on mandalas/adult coloring books, taking time to relax such as listening to calming music, drinking certain teas, taking hot baths, these remedies all slowly started to help the attacks.

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What I enjoyed the most out of the recommended home remedies was the Mandala Coloring Book.  As a child I always loved to draw and color in coloring books, and still enjoyed it as an 18-year-old.  After working on each mandala I was always pleased with how they looked when finished, no matter what colors were used.

While each home remedy was helpful in some way, I learned that what was most helpful was control of my mind itself, and having the ability to calm myself down.  I never knew how to calm myself down during and after an attack near the beginning of my anxiety, which definitely started to take its toll.  After at least 6 months of heavy stress and anxiety, I learned systematic desensitization through the panic attacks to control the anxiety and calm myself back down.  It was a breath of fresh air.

After about a year of heavy stress and learning how to handle it from there, it feels so great to no longer experience such intense attacks and know how to control my mind and relax myself when needed.

That being said, I learned so much about how powerful anyone’s mind can be, as well as learning my own abilities and knowing what I can and can’t handle.

For those who have or are on the same struggle boat, there really is a light at the end of the tunnel.