What My Anxiety Attacks Are Like [Mental Health Mondays]

Thankfully, I haven’t had an anxiety attack in a while. I used to get them frequently when I was in school and, on occasion, I’ll get the feeling that I’m going to have one, but tend to talk myself out of it. If I do have an anxiety attack though, this is what it typically feels like for me.

Mental Health Mondays: What My Anxiety Attacks Are Like | Anxiety | Generalized Anxiety Disorder | Mental Health | Mental Health Matters | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Hot Flash

Usually, when I begin to have an anxiety attack, I start to get a hot flash everywhere. I get clammy hands, sweaty everywhere, it’s gross. And it’s not a nice feeling either. I think I start to feel this way when I get overwhelmed and my body is trying to tell me to step outside and just get some air. When I begin to feel this way, I try my best to find a bathroom just to splash some cold water on my face or anything to cool myself down.

I love the summer, it’s my favorite season. I also would rather be hot than cold. However, that doesn’t help when I’m out in public and get hot. Sometimes I can’t tell if it’s the weather or I’m about to have an anxiety attack… in which case, I often work myself up to have an attack.

Shaking and Dizziness

These two go hand in hand sometimes. I’ll feel shaky and unsteady on my feet or get the feeling that the floor is moving or uneven. Then I’ll get dizzy and start to feel claustrophobic. I normally get this way in stores or restaurants. I felt this way all the time when I was in school. If I’m in a place that has little to no windows, then forget it. The entire room will be spinning for me.

I normally try to find a way out of where ever I am when I start to feel this way. Depending on the situation, I can sometimes stick it out, but I usually need to leave.

No Vision

If the anxiety attack gets far enough, I’ll lose my vision. I’ll basically blackout, but I’m not passed out. I’m still conscious and can hear things going on and such, but I just can’t see. It’s a weird thing and I don’t know if that happens to anyone else or not. Thankfully, it hasn’t happened in a while, but when it does, I just have to sit and let it pass. Once it does, I’ll be dizzy for a few moments while my body gets back to normal.

Shortness of Breath

This usually happens at any time, but mostly if the anxiety attack gets bad enough that I need to just let it pass and get through it. A million things can go through my head when I have an attack because it feels like I’m dying. Thus, shortness of breath. I also have asthma so mix that in with thinking I’m dying and… yeah.

Exhaustion

Once all of this is over, I’m down for the count for the rest of the day. It puts such a strain on my mind and body that I am super tired. The last thing I want to do is work, socialize, go anywhere, or do anything. It’s not fun.

Of course, tiredness comes with the package as a whole. Anxiety makes me feel tired all the time and having an attack just makes it worse.

Overall, anxiety attacks aren’t fun and I know people experience different things when they have an attack. I also know some are more severe than others. This is what I usually go through when I have an anxiety attack. Luckily, as I said before, I haven’t had one in a while. Usually, I tend to get them in the middle of the night too so at least it doesn’t interfere with work or anything else during the day. It doesn’t make it any less annoying though.

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Getting Out Of A Funk [Mental Health Mondays]

We’re back with another Mental Health Month talking about getting out of a funk. I’ve been absent for a bit so I thought I’d share some things I did to get out of my funk.

Mental Health Monday: Getting Out Of A Funk | Anxiety | Mental Health Matters | Mental Health Awareness | Generalized Anxiety Disorder | RachelPoli.com

Getting Out Of A Funk

An Accidental Break

I didn’t mean to take a hiatus. I knew I needed to take a step back but I didn’t mean to disappear for a bit. I was still working off and on but not nearly as much as I normally do. This isn’t a complaint – it’s definitely something I needed. It’s interesting to me how your mind and body just seem to know what’s best for you. I had no motivation, no inspiration, and honestly, I didn’t care that I wasn’t blogging or writing. I took the hint and, even though I still tried to work, the rest of me shied away from it.

So, yeah. I disappeared for about a month. Actually, I think it was over a month. I think my hiatus had started before I announced it because I didn’t realize I was on a hiatus. Even when I announced it, I’m pretty sure I said, “I’m not taking a hiatus.” Well… that turned out well.

Giving Up Social Media

One of the things I needed to do to get away from it all and take a break was to get away from social media. Sure, I still occasionally scrolled through Twitter and Instagram. I checked my personal Facebook from time to time. I never posted though. (My feed on Twitter and Instagram look really weird.) I stuck to the shadows, never engaged in conversation, and didn’t bother to post so people would start a conversation. I didn’t have any blog posts to promote at the time, so that was one less thing I needed to worry about as well. While it was weird to be watching my social media from afar, not posting or replying, it was a nice break. I wasn’t using it as much and it freed up so much more of my time.

What I’m Doing Now

With all that said, I’m back. I’m back to posting regularly on Twitter and Instagram. I’m engaging in conversations again. I’m participating and co-hosting #TheMerryWriter again with my good, patient friend, Ari Meghlen, as well as helping out with the #85K90 Twitter. I’m promoting my blog posts again as well as my writing. I’m talking about everyday life. I’m reading and engaging in other posts. So, what exactly has changed other than the fact that I took a break from all this for a month?

Believe it or not, I don’t post in “real time.” I use Buffer, like most bloggers, to set up scheduled Twitter and Instagram content to promote blog posts, books, and more. I have the Buffer Pro Plan in which I can schedule 100 posts per social media account at a time. I had my Twitter set up that I needed to sit down each week and set up my posts. This took up a lot of my time. I now have it set up so that I can sit down once a month and get my Twitter set up for the upcoming month. This has saved me so much time and sanity.

Of course, that’s just general promotion. I’m still on social media in real time talking engaging with others and talking about my day and things like that. But that’s another difference – I actually have time to do that now.

Blogging Break

I didn’t mean to stop blogging and I certainly didn’t mean to stop writing. However, there were so many things overwhelming me at the time and I felt like I was going to explode. I publish a blog post every day and that eventually takes a toll on you. I love publishing every day and toyed with the idea of cutting back on posting, but I honestly really like having content every day. So, where do I go from here? How can I continue this without burning myself out?

I’ve always wanted to be a month ahead. My Short Story Sunday and Writing Prompts are always done the year before. So, really, I only have five posts to write each week. I have a few monthly features – the quotes, mental health, healthy writer, and more – that I can write ahead of time as well. If you think about it, it’s only 12 posts a year. I actually got a good chunk of it done already. I just need to create the graphics, schedule it on WordPress, and figure out a sharing plan. So, instead of sitting down one day a week and doing the posts weekly and trying to squeeze in an extra here and there (I never end up sitting down each week – I’m constantly working on the blog). I said, screw June and got to work on July instead.

What I’m Doing Now

I’m actually blogging a month ahead. I made a list of “Summer Goals” for myself of things I want to get done in June, July, and August. During the month of June, even though I wasn’t posting on the blog, I was setting up the blog for July. I wrote the blog posts, gave my pages a make-over, and more. Of course, there’s still some work to be done that I’m working on, but for the most part, July is all set. Now I can start working on August’s content so that, I’ll be ahead.

In addition, different kinds of posts will be coming. During this break, I thought of so many other ideas for blog posts. This will no longer be a strictly writing and reading blog, but some lifestyle posts sprinkled in along with other things. I hope this keeps the content fresh and interesting for all of us.

Creative Block

No, I didn’t exactly have writer’s block. I still wanted to write, but I just didn’t want to write anything I was working on. Plus, I wanted to be creative, but I didn’t want to use the written word to do so. I wanted to work on my photography or find some DIY crafts to try. I wanted to create new skills for myself, try and learn something new and different. I flip-flopped so many times wondering what I wanted to do. Did I want to try something completely new? Or work on something I already had? The DIY section on Pinterest was y best friend for quite a while.

The thing is, I never actually did any of it. I bought some things to create something, but I never ended up doing anything with it. I still plan to in the near future, but I actually ran out of time to use it due to real life happenings. With that said, the planning was fun and I have that as a fall back if I ever get stressed and need a break from my other creative projects. In the end, though, it somehow put me back into the writing mood.

What I’m Doing Now

I don’t know why or how – maybe it was just the fact I took a month off. Maybe it’s because it’s Camp NaNo time this month. Maybe my characters have been impatient with me and are finally giving me a kick in the pants. Or maybe it’s all the Marvel movies I’ve been watching lately. Whatever it is, I’m writing again. And I have so many new ideas as well.

The thing is, even though I had been writing and going through the motions, I haven’t had any new novel ideas in a really long time. Normally, I start many projects and don’t know what to work on. But it’s been at least a year since I’ve come up with a new novel idea. Which is totally unlike me. Now, I’m rolling in ideas. I sat down and created a brand new novel timeline for myself for the rest of this year and into 2020.

I explained it to my sister through Discord, sending her a huge, long paragraph explaining my plans. Her response? “Wow, that’s a lot… Glad you’re starting to sound like yourself again.”

We all know I plan and over-plan things and this has felt good. It’s made me get back my mojo and I’m eager to get back to work.

Getting Out Of A Funk – What’d I Actually Do?

I don’t really know. I explained it all. I feel good. I don’t know what I did along the way to caused me to bounce back. This past month has been horrendous for my anxiety and, for a while, I thought all of this hard work – everything I’ve built since 2012 – was done. I wasn’t sure if I was going to come back at all.

But, I think, deep down, something inside me has other plans. I’m glad I was able to work through this on my own (with some support from family, of course) and I’m happy to be back to my normal self.

How’s my anxiety? Still present. But I feel much better than I have been.

How do you do when getting out of a funk? Also, tell me how you’ve been lately. Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Nothing’s Wrong With Me [Mental Health Mondays]

I’ve had Generalized Anxiety Disorder since I was 16 – at least, that’s when I was diagnosed with it. I’m halfway to 26 and I feel like I’m just coming to terms with the fact that nothing’s wrong with me.

Mental Health Mondays: Nothing's Wrong With Me | Mental Health Matters | Mental Health | Anxiety | Generalized Anxiety Disorder | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Somedays I’m Rough Around The Edges

There are days where I feel like I’m totally out of my element. I don’t feel like talking to anyone, but I feel lonely. Little things bother me, I take what people say the wrong way, I have mood swings. My mind is always spinning and I can’t stop thinking about things that are not too big of a deal.

But Somedays I’m More Down To Earth

Yet, there are some days where I feel the complete opposite. I might ignore text messages one day and the following day I try to talk to everyone in my contacts. Part of this is because I feel bad for ignoring them earlier, but it’s mostly because I actually want to talk to people. I feel good enough to engage in conversation.

Somedays I’m Sad

There are days when I get out of bed and move straight to the couch. I’ll try to get writing or blogging done, but I stare at my computer screen instead. I want to cry, though there’s nothing to cry about. I get zero things done during the day and at the end of the day, I’m angry at myself for not getting anything accomplished. Yes, I know it’s good to take a day off and take breaks, but my mind doesn’t see it that way sometimes.

But Somedays I’m Happy

Yet, there are some days where I’m all over the place. I’m extremely happy and bouncy for no reason. I get everything on my to-do list done and then some. I’m talkative, I’m awake, and I want to be around people.

Every Day I’m Me

Everyone goes through mood swings. Everyone has good days and bad days. We all feel like we have it worse than everyone else – and for some, that’s true. But we also have it better than someone else as well. We just don’t realize it.

So, yeah. Somedays I’m easy to be around and other days I’m not. But it’s me all the same.

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All About Worry Stones [Mental Health Monday]

When I was younger, I was always interested in stones and gems. Though I never knew much about them, I just thought they were pretty. I remember going on vacation with my family over the summer and getting those small, velvet string bags and shoving as many brightly colored rocks in there as I could. I never knew they really had much of a meaning.

Mental Health Monday: All About Worry Stones | Anxiety | Generalized Anxiety Disorder | Mental Health | Mental Health Matters | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

What Is A Worry Stone?

Worry stones are smooth gemstones that are often in an oval shape with a thumbprint. It’s made to be rubbed in between your thumb and fingers to help calm you down and is often used for anxiety relief. Of course, not all worry stones come like that. And a worry stone can be anything you want it to be – anything that you find comfort in.

How I Learned About Worry Stones

When I was in therapy and recently diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, my therapist mentioned getting a worry stone or something of the kind for me. She thought it would bring me comfort as they were trying to step foot back into my high school. Of course, I have no idea what she was talking about. She had a small rock, nothing like the worry stone I described above, but she let me borrow it.

My mom had found a red, heart-shaped stone we had in the house and gave that to me to use. I had both and kept my therapist’s in my pocket and the one my mom gave me in my backpack since it was too big and heavier to fit in my pocket. I don’t know why or how, but it helped. For some reason, knowing I had those small objects made me feel better.

My Own Worry Stone

I had given my therapist her worry stone back the next time I saw her. I had the one my mom had given me and I was thinking of looking into getting my own anyway. Shortly after, my neighbor on the other side of the block (we’re not very close, but we talk to her once in a while), stopped by my house and gave my mom and small, oval-shaped worry stone made from rose quartz. Her two kids (both are younger than me) have anxiety and use worry stones. When she heard from the grapevine (meaning my whole neighborhood seemed to know I was having a rough time) that I had anxiety, she had gotten me a worry stone saying it helped her kids a lot.

Rose Quartz is pale pink stone (like the ones in the photo above) and is said to give off energy pertaining to love, happiness, and passion. I was so touched that this neighbor had thought of me and went out of her way to pick me out a worry stone despite us not being very close.

I kept that stone in my pocket every single day. Until I accidentally broke it.

Jasper Worry Stone

Apparently, Rose Quartz has grooves in them looking like cracks. They’re not cracks, but they’re fragile enough to be like cracks, so guess what’ll happen if you drop it on the floor? I had that particular worry stone for a few years and had it in my pocket every day. It was special, not just because it helped with my anxiety, but because it was given to me from someone special.

I was away for the weekend with my family. I had gone into the bathroom to take a shower. I took the worry stone out of my pocket and placed it on the sink counter – except I missed. The stone fell and hit the tiled floor splitting into two even pieces. I was so upset. Luckily, we happened to be near a shopping area and one store was an elemental store.

It was cool, it had Harry Potter stuff, Tarot cards, gemstones, and more. They had a decent selection of worry stones, though they were completely out of rose quartz. I got a brown stone (I believe it’s a Jasper stone, but I honestly can’t remember). It’s thinner than the one I had, but was oval and had thumbprint.

I didn’t feel the same effect having that one as opposed to my rose quartz one. I wasn’t sure if that was because I wasn’t used to it or if it was because I felt so bad I had broken the rose quartz one.

Some Bad News

Or it might have been because, the day we got home from that weekend trip, a day or two after my stone broke, we found out my neighbor – the one who had given me the stone – had cancer. It was a rare cancer and it a late stage. They weren’t expecting her to live much longer. I’m not superstitious, but for some reason, I felt as though my worry stone breaking was sort of an omen.

I never got rid of the broken stone. I still have both pieces and they’re sitting on the shelves above my bed with my other worry stones. I thought, if I had thrown the pieces away, it would have been the end of my neighbor. It sounds weird, I know, but that’s how I felt.

I’m happy to stay she’s still here with us and cancer-free. It took her a few years, but she won the battle. I still won’t be throwing out those pieces. Superstitions aside, it’s special to me and was my first worry stone.

A Collection of Worry Stones

I now have five worry stones. Three rose quartz, not including the broken on, the Jasper stone, and a white stone. (I bought the white one after I bought the Jasper stone. I figured having a back up would be a good idea in case I accidentally dropped another stone.) I bought another rose quartz stone, similar to the one I had before because the rose quartz seemed to make me feel the best.

I got two other rose quartz stones from a friend. Once he found out I dropped my first one, he immediately ordered me a new one, unknown to me. He ended up ordering two because when the first one arrived, it was a bigger circle (as you can see in the picture above) and he thought it was too big. So he ordered another. So, I have two rose quartz stones that were the same size as my original plus the Jasper and white one.

I like the big one though. I often wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety attacks and holding onto my worry stone will help me fall back to sleep. Of course, I tend to lose them under my pillow or in my sheets. I use the bigger one at night and I don’t lose it in my bed. I can easily find it when I wake up the next morning.

I’m Grateful

I’m lucky to have so many people who care about me enough to hunt down small stones for me just to make me feel better. I have a worry stone in my pocket at all times every single day. Though, I’m at the point where I don’t need it on me at all times. If I’m wearing pants with no pockets, I can get away with leaving my stone in my backpack or wallet. But it’s still near me in some way.

I find it interesting that a small stone can help you and make you feel better, but I’m glad it does.

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