Anxiety is just a normal part of life, something many deal with in their daily lives. This general feeling of fear, dread and unease can overwhelm you, causing a bit of panic, often brought on by stress or worry about a certain situation. But have you ever thought about what your anxiety means and how you can better control it?
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and a great time to take stock of how you manage your own mental health, the role you can play in developing your mental health conditioning, and the practices you can adopt to maintain a healthy outlook. mental. With this in mind, we contacted Eva Marie of Eva Under Fire, who, when not leading her up-and-coming rock band, was licensed as an outpatient psychotherapist, working primarily in the areas of anxiety, depression, grief and substance abuse. recovery.
Given her expertise in these areas, Eva has graciously agreed to write this Loudwire column throughout Mental Health Awareness Month, highlighting specific mental health issues and providing some tips on how you can help. to deal with each. We begin this series with a deeper look at anxiety, with Eva sharing one of her own personal experiences with anxiety and what she learned about how to deal with it. Take it, Eva!
It was our first big tour. As the opening band, we had just loaded all of our gear on stage. Our equipment was new but we trained with it and felt prepared. We had a full sound check. Previous sounds we were getting from the PA the day before were fixed by changing a bad cable. Or so we thought…
Fast forward to actual show time. The fans have arrived and everyone is waiting for us to come on stage. But our equipment does not turn on. I mean, LITERALLY the whole stage box blew up and we had nothing. No wireless signal, no click track, no in-ear monitors…that means guitars, drums and vocals were all affected. Worse still, we were delaying the start of the whole show trying to sort things out and figure it out.
It was my first moment of professional panic. I had worked my whole life for this opportunity and now none of the equipment was working. I couldn’t do anything about it. It could have gotten us removed from the show. At worst, we could have been kicked off the tour! Do you want to know what happened instead?
The production manager of the headlining band looked me in the eye and said, “Breathe. This is what life on tour sometimes looks like. It’s happened to all of us. We will understand it”. Then the backing band playing after us said, “Here, use our gear. That way you can still play!” (Did I mention I absolutely LOVE my rock community?)
The world is not fair. There’s a lot of pressure to fix things we can’t even control, but I promise you, if you surround yourself with supportive people, you’ll have less to worry about. Messing up doesn’t mean the world is going to collapse. Fear lies to you. Here’s the truth about anxiety.
Having peace is not a circumstance, it’s a state of mind
This can be hard to learn as you move through life finding yourself in new environments with new experiences that are unfamiliar to you. Afraid of the unknown. This is where we have to trust what we know: ourselves. Positive affirmations can help! Examples: I am smart. I will do it by myself. I’ve come this far, so I can continue…
*takes a deep breath* Ready? The last… ASK FOR HELP IS OK. The. I said it.
10 second rule
Speaking of deep breathing, there are breathing exercises that not only calm your nerves, but can also reset brain chemistry. Inhale for 10 seconds, hold for a beat, then exhale for 10 seconds. Repeat 3 times. There is another technique called “4-7-8 Breathing”. I have included the link for you.
Dealing with Anxiety Attacks
Sometimes the anxiety is not situational and there is no clear trigger to report. Have you ever felt like anxiety hit you out of nowhere? Your brain is messing up. Somewhere along the way, your brain saw, heard, or felt something and registered it as threatening. It’s a reaction, not something you consciously think about. Don’t worry: this fear response can also be unlearned.
Although it can be frustrating not to understand why you feel the way you feel (heart racing, sweaty hands, blurred vision, brain fog), mindfulness can help you talk to your body in the present moment and calm. Waiting, honoring how you feel, talking it over with someone, talking out loud or in a mirror to make sure you’re safe can help.
If the triggers are too numerous or too intense to think about, you might ask your doctor to prescribe you medication for anxiety. Not all drugs are addictive, and sometimes even low-dose drugs can help your body’s fear response to be less intense. A less intense anxiety/fear response means more access to your critical thinking skills and reasoning ability so we can stop coping and start healing. I strongly recommend that anyone taking medication for anxiety or depression also be active in psychotherapy. Medications help your body maintain a healthier physiological base, but they don’t help you learn or process emotions for long-term healing.
Cultivating a strong sense of self and healthy, supportive relationships is important for safety. It starts with assuming good things about yourself and the world around you. Once you can expect good times and be sure you can get through the bad times, freedom from fear is possible.
Lots of love,
Recommended cathartic reading list:
From ashes again, “panic”
Make war, “Manic”
Bring me the horizon with YUNGBLUD, “Obey”
Ice Nine Kills, “Rainy Day”
Eva Under Fire with Spencer Charnas, “Blow”
Evanescence, “Go Underground”
Nine inch nails, “Wounded”
Seether, “Words as Weapons”
Story of the Year, “Anthem of Our Dying Day”
A perfect circle, “weak and helpless”
Our thanks to Eva Marie of Eva Under Fire for this first in her series of Loudwire columns for Mental Health Awareness Month. The band’s ‘Unstoppable’ album is available now and you can grab it and find the band’s tour information via their website.