Not all people are comfortable talking about their illnesses. For them, an illness just brings a lot of negative emotions. It sure does. We can’t blame them for that. It does hurt and dig up painful memories. That is why most don’t usually initiate the conversation. Whether these people have survived an illness or are still suffering from it, talking about their condition is never easy. Others may even decide to withdraw themselves from family, friends and society for fear of being ridiculed or judged. Others are just plain embarrassed. But I am not one of those people. Sharing is my way of dealing with it. It is my outlet, a form of therapy not just to better myself but to help others who are going through the same thing I used to have. These people need support from people who do not only understand but sympathize as well. There really is a difference if the support comes from those who have gone through the same ordeal.

I am Ryan Rivera and I suffered from anxiety for 7 years. My journey was tough, but I survived. And I would like to share my journey, so others can learn from it and take it as a form of motivation. People with anxiety need to know that help is available and there is a way out. If they think their situation is hopeless, I want them to know that they’re mistaken. There is a big chance and a lot of hope for complete recovery from anxiety. I did. They can, too. How? Through many things. Information is one. If the person is well informed, he can start from there and work toward learning or trying out the techniques or treatment options that work best for him. I personally advocate the self-help methods and natural forms of therapy. These are most of the materials contain in my website, www.calmclinic.com. In there, everything you need to know about anxiety is provided, from general information to specific details on therapies, treatments and techniques. It is my aim to help others by providing them access to the right information and showing them that anxiety is treatable as long as they are committed to doing all it takes to overcome it.

My anxiety was the whole package. The symptoms were all debilitating. They are both physically and mentally crippling. They sure made me think that there is no way out and my life is ruined forever. Giving up did come across my mind; however, realization sets in. No illness is going to put an end to my beautiful life. No illness is bigger and stronger than me. Taking control over the situation prevailed. Information was the first thing I armed myself with. I tried with the traditional but not one provided me with the help I was longing. Then, I turned to alternative means. These involve learning techniques that involve meditation, exercise, and proper breathing. Using herbal medicines that are known to have few or no side effects really did wonders for me as well. Let me share further by outlining and explaining the things I’ve learned and tried that helped me overcome anxiety.

Generally, the signs and symptoms of anxiety can be divided into two categories, the physical and emotional.

Physical
Pounding heart – When the heart beats irregularly, it brings a sense of awareness that is accompanied with palpitations on the chest, neck or throat. Irregular could mean faster or slower than usual. This usually happens when one is in a state of shock or fear. Sometimes, it can be triggered by stimulants that cause excitement, provocation, aggravation, exasperation, annoyance, etc.

Excessive sweating – Excessive sweating can either be caused by poor ventilation, extreme heat or our body performing an activity that makes one to perspire more than normal, for example, exercising. It can also be caused during bouts of anxiety especially in reaction to fear, anger, embarrassment, nervousness, etc.

Chest pains – Being in a lot of stress can cause muscle tension, which results to pains and aches not just in the chest area but all over the body. During panic attacks, chest pain is also common since a significant amount of hormones, called epinephrine, is released into the body causing imbalance. When the body is in a state of imbalance, the regular blood flow in the head is disturbed as it goes to other parts of the body to defend it from danger or threat.

Tremors and twitches – Anxiety can also cause shaking movements of the whole or certain parts of the body. This is due to the flight or fight response triggered during an anxiety attack. The mind’s reaction can manifest into these physical symptoms. In moments of fear or panic, a surge of adrenaline rushes into our body. This sudden flow of hormones surprises the body’s usual rhythm in a way and can demonstrate into shaking movements like bodily tremors and twitches.

Insomnia – Difficulty sleeping is probably one of the most troubling symptoms of anxiety. When a person lacks sleep, the body is deprived of its much needed rest in order to recharge and recuperate from the activities it has gone through during the day. The body can perhaps take a day or two without sleep but certainly cannot if it chronically continues. The body would just give up due to too much exhaustion and fatigue.
For someone with anxiety, insomnia is very common. When the mind is just too consumed with thoughts, you are not giving it a time to relax.

Other physical symptoms include choking sensations, stomach cramps, dizziness and vertigo, diarrhea, frequent urination, hyperventilation, hot flashes, chills, headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, nausea, and many more.

Emotional

Apprehension – Second-guessing or doubting about one’s abilities and skills is fairly common for someone who has an anxiety disorder. The person can be so overwhelmed with fear that performing regular activities like shopping, attending a meeting or delivering a speech can be so taxing that the person ends up not doing it at all. Anxiety can really impair daily routine and what seem to be normal activities.

Absentmindedness – Constant inattention and distraction can be dangerous because it makes one oblivious from her/his surroundings. Being consumed with irrelevant thoughts keeps someone out of focus. Forgetting events can be tolerated but what if it poses serious danger like forgetting to turn off the gas range or missing the red light.

Irritability – Certainly, there are situations that cause us to be annoyed or frustrated. This is normal, but constant irritability can be caused by underlying disorders such as anxiety.

Weird thoughts – Our mind can be as imaginative as it can possibly be. However, there is a thin line between creative and weird thoughts. When the latter overpowers, there is a reason to be concerned for it can be an indication of a mental illness. The more concern you should be if you tend to react to these weird thoughts. If you can dismiss them instantly, well and good, but if you tend to feed these thoughts by reacting in a way that fuels them even more, then you are in deep trouble.

Detachment from reality – The world is just so full of troubles that we want to get away from it sometimes. We dream. We imagine things to be different. We create our own little world. This is okay if it helps us forget about all the ills of the world and our own personal struggles temporarily. The problem only occurs if we can no longer distinguish reality from make believe and tend to stay in the world we created. Other times, this world is not a happy place at all. It can be a world created based on the concept of evil or fear. This disassociation from one’s mental processes and detachment from one’s body, which interfere with the person’s normal functioning, can be caused by severe anxiety disorder.

Dreadful feelings with no valid cause, concentration problems, inner tension and nervousness, catastrophic thinking, hyper-vigilance to danger, extreme feelings of panic, fear of losing control, and delusional feelings can also be considered emotional symptoms of anxiety.

Even if you are experiencing any or most of the symptoms just mentioned, do not hastily conclude that you are indeed suffering from anxiety. Self-diagnosing is never helpful. You cannot be certain unless you are qualified to do so. If not, only health care professionals can confirm whether you have it or not.
The same way that you go to a dentist for your dental hygiene or consult an ophthalmologist for your eye problems, people with anxiety seek the advice and help of psychologists or psychiatrists. Psychologists focus on individual behavior and base their diagnosis on how a person acts or reacts according to his/her beliefs and feelings. Psychologists seek to understand and explain why people behave on certain ways. Their discoveries have helped improve people’s lives. They can provide the necessary support on how people can change their bad habits and conduct and how they can function better regardless of the circumstances they are in. As for psychiatrists, they specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. They are also licensed to prescribe medications, which psychologists cannot. They can request for laboratory tests, such as MRI, CT or PET, and know how to interpret results.

Psychologists and therapists are the best persons to turn to for cases of anxiety. But we must admit that they can be pretty expensive. Not everyone has the capacity to afford the current charges of these professionals. The cost of psychological therapies (cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, systemic therapy, EMDR, somatic experiencing, etc) can be too much for the regular folk. Not to mention the prices of medicine these days. In my honest opinion and based on experience, medicines should only be prescribed as the last treatment option. It’s undeniable that there are adverse effects that may even worsen the condition or aggravate other symptoms. There are certain reactions to drugs that other people could not bear. Some can even set off other symptoms that are equally disturbing. Drugs also have the tendency to be habit-forming, especially if taken for quite a time. Great precaution should be taken whenever drugs are prescribed. Fortunately, there are some anxiety management programs that do not cost as much or won’t even cost you a penny. These alternatives are natural forms of remedies that are known to be as effective in decreasing symptoms of anxiety. Some of them are the following.

Relaxation techniques – These include meditation, massage, breathing exercises, music, reading, writing, and even regular exercises.
Meditation reduces the possibility of anxiety attacks as it tends to lower the levels of blood lactate. High levels of lactate can indicate insufficient supply of oxygen to the tissues, which is the case before and during an attack.

Massage therapy just brings in good positive energy. Massage is also known to aid recovery and healing, improve performance, reduce stress and enhance blood circulation.

Learning the correct breathing technique can help relieve stress and anxiety. They are very easy to learn and involve simple steps. They don’t take much of your time, and what’s great about them is that they’re absolutely free. All you need to do is take a few slow, deep breaths, push out your tummy as you fill your lungs with air and then exhale as much air as you can. You can count about 1 to 5 when you inhale and another 1 to 5 when you exhale. Do this in your most comfortable sitting, standing or lying position. Repeat the steps until you feel that a relaxed state is starting to fill your body.

• Two of the many benefits of listening to music are its ability to “kill the pain” and increase optimism. The genre doesn’t even matter. What matters is that it stimulates endorphins, known as the happy hormones, and keeps depression and stress at bay.

• Reading takes the mind to another world. Subject matter that engages the mind to other things other than worries and sorrows can be very helpful.

• Writing has been considered a form therapy to release emotions that are buried deep inside. Keeping a journal is a good way to let out all the things that trouble or bother you. After a while, you can read them again and assess if they are indeed things that you have to concern yourself about. Maybe they are just insecurities that will go away once you recognize them as nothing but hindrances to reaching life’s dreams and aspirations.

• Jogging, walking, swimming, going to gym or biking are forms of exercises you need to consider when you are suffering from anxiety. Exercises are known to improve mood and boosts energy.

Nutritional supplements – People with anxiety need to be conscious of what they eat. There are types of food or drinks that stimulate symptoms of anxiety and triggers attack. Some of them are alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, as well as sugars. Instead, you can alternate them with supplements like magnesium and fruits and vegetables. Examples are peaches, acacia berries, blueberries, almonds, maca root and moderate amount of raw chocolate (this is a good source of magnesium).

Herbs – Herbal teas are known to effect relaxation, offer little or no side effects and very unlikely to cause harm. Go for Kava Kava, St. John’s Wort and chamomile.

Even with these recommendations, a person with anxiety must know that these are all futile if the mind and heart are not in total submission to the quest for recovery. One must let go of all the doubts and qualms. Those with anxiety must keep a positive attitude while going through the process of discovering what works for them. It is only when you submit yourself to the fact that you can overcome this ordeal that good things can start to happen.

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