There are a few things that can get my anxiety pumping. But nothing gets me worried more than really bad weather.
Hurricane Sandy is headed in my direction, and I live not far from the Passaic River here in New Jersey. I am apprehensive about flooding, needing to leave when I have no place to go. I worry about being able to get out of my neighborhood or being able to get back into it.
A lot of my apprehensions come from my experiences a year ago for Hurricane Irene. The river flooded and crept really close to where I live. The major flooding was a block and a half from where I live. When the river crested days after the storm, it splashed onto River Drive just feet from where I live. We didn’t have mandatory evacuations where I live, but I left after talking to my local police told me that it might be a good idea. I can’t tell you how thankful I was after seeing all that happened after the storm.
I didn’t lose power during the hurricane or during the pre-Halloween snow storm a year ago, but I worry about that too because people have been without it for a week or more here in New Jersey.
And in the middle of all the apprehension I have to worry about the work I need to do for my job. And I worry about being ineffective because of my worries about the storm.
Needless to say I’m a bit of a mess. I had to take Xanax to help me sleep Thursday night and to get me through Friday. I was so exhausted from worry last night I was asleep really early. And today I am debating taking a Xanax as my nerves turn my stomach and make me feel sick.
I haven’t had to take Xanax since last winter, so it makes me sad I needed to take one. Taking Xanax doesn’t feel like I’m making progress, especially given my love-hate relationship with it.
And the best thing people can tell me? “Oh relax. Everything will be fine.”
If I hear one person tell me to relax, I may punch them in the face. It’s the worst thing to tell someone with anxiety issues. If you deal with anxiety, you know there’s no real great way to control it.
You can know what can trigger it and you can do things to help yourself (getting outside and walking helps me a great deal, for example). But most of the time anxiety can sneak up on you. Nothing specific can cause it. I’ve woken up and felt anxious for absolutely no reason. And doing things that can help you outside of medication might not work either. Taking deep breaths might not help a panic attack every time.
Telling someone who has anxiety issues to relax is dismissive, acting like it’s not a real issue.
So how do you help someone who has anxiety issues? For me, just letting me talk and not being judgmental is one thing. Talking helps calm my nerves. And let the person know you care and that their feelings, even if they seem irrational, do matter and are important. Even just a hug can help.