The holiday season ushers in cheer and hope for many, but the same period may make some others feel extremely anxious. Sharing her personal struggle with anxiety, fitness enthusiast Ankita Konwar opened about dealing with days “where everything isn’t fine”.
“Things can seem overwhelming and meaningless at the same time. But I don’t get scared like I used to. After living a long period of anxiety and depression and getting out of it with all the courage I had in me, I still face tiny episodes of dark patches. Way milder, way shorter and way better than the ‘all consuming’ days I actually lived through,” she said in a long post on Instagram.
She shared a picture from “recent past, a day when I had a storm in my head but my face reflected calmness with a smile”.
Expressing that it is extremely important to not let negative thoughts consume one, the 30-year-old said, “But now, I have gotten stronger, become more positive and I manage to see the bright light through the dark patches. I don’t let it consume me, I cry when I have to, I don’t hold onto my thoughts like I used to. I let them come and go as they please.”
She also stressed that one should seek help. “Of course, the events and experiences of our lives play a huge role in it. But we must get all the help we can to navigate our way through it. It’s not easy and no it doesn’t get easier, you just get better and stronger,” she mentioned.
“But to even get to the point of gathering the will and courage to fight requires help. Seek professional help when needed. Holiday seasons can be quite stressful, can bring back all kinds of memories. So many things can trigger you but keep at it. Look at what you have achieved in spite of all the obstacles. If you’re having one of those dark days, I’m just here to remind you that your resilience is far stronger than the storm inside your head,” she added.
Konwar also listed a few activities that help her:
*Physical and mental exercise,
*Cutting down on caffeine,
*Reducing alcohol intake,
*Avoiding substance abuse
*Engaging with friends and family
As per clinical psychologist Narendra Kinger, founder, Talk To Me, “anxiety is largely internal and depends on how you react to stressors.”
Symptoms of anxiety include feeling restless, tense, nervous and a general feeling of dread.
One of the most common anxiety disorders is generalised anxiety disorder, said Dr J Mayurnath Reddy, consultant psychiatrist, Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad. “To identify if someone has generalised anxiety disorder, symptoms such as excessive, hard-to-control worry occurring most days over six months need to be noted. The worry may jump from topic to topic,” Dr Reddy noted.
Food therapist Dr Ria Banerjee Ankola also shared how anxiety is not restricted to feeling scared.
*A restlessness you can’t explain
*Feeling uncomfortable in your own skin
*Feeling isolated as you struggle to explain how you truly feel
*Anticipation for everything, even a walk down the street
*Many, many physical symptoms
*Intrusive thoughts and overthinking about everything
*A rollercoaster of emotions
How to cope?
Physical activity, a nutritious and varied diet, and good sleep hygiene are a good starting point to control these symptoms, said Dr Reddy.
A standard way of treating anxiety is psychological counselling. This can include cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), psychotherapy, or a combination of therapies, he added.
As per Dr Reddy, another potential treatment is exposure therapy, which involves confronting anxiety triggers in a safe, controlled way in order to break the cycle of fear around the trigger.