The Loop of Anxiety
“Anxiety” Image by victoria_art_music
Lately I have found that normal, every-day occurrences (or even hypothetical situations) give me anxiety quite easily. Sure, I had been anxious about things before. Social anxiety prior to (or after) a gathering, emotional situations. You know, things that would be expected to cause stress.
Recent Experiences with Anxiety
For the last few months however, I have felt anxious when there was theoretically very little to feel anxious about. My previously “exercise-induced asthma” has turned into regular, frequent shallow breathing without much of a notable trigger. I even had my first full-blown panic attack recently during a family trip.
I want to make it clear that I am not writing this from a place of having “beat” anxiety or even effectively dealt with it. As I am writing this, I have an appointment with a doctor scheduled and do plan to see a therapist to continue working on it. That being said, I wanted to share my experience so far in the hope that it may be comforting for someone to hear that they’re not alone.
Anxiety inherently can be quite a solitary experience. It often prevents one from asking others for help or even to do something social. It’s a vicious cycle, as often you feel more anxious the longer you steep in your thoughts alone, yet your thoughts prevent you from breaking the cycle. You may even have the urge to see friends but then your brain sends a little ripple of uncomfortability at the thought of them saying “no”. It would likely be helpful to talk to someone like a therapist but perhaps talking to various new people tenses you up.
Now for me, anxiety has almost certainly been triggered by this pandemic. I’m sure for those who have already been dealing with it, the state of the world has likely increased the symptoms. It’s completely valid. You’re stuck at home most of the time. You have a legitimate reason to be cautious going places. Our bodies however are not meant to stay this dormant.
Getting Physical vs. Anxiety
One thing that has helped me tremendously with my anxiety has been exercise. I realize that’s what everyone suggests and it’s easier said than done. For me however, it has been a vital way to break up my day and get me away from screens and my own brain for a moment. Trust me, I am not a gym person. I wouldn’t even say I enjoy working out. I do however notice a drastic difference in my physical and mental well-being on days I move my body.
Can’t afford a gym (or don’t feel comfortable going back to one in person yet)? Go to the park! I have been taking a yoga mat with me several times a week and plopping myself in a shady spot outside. Do a little body-weight strength workout or some HIIT cardio, breathe the fresh air, hop on a bike. You will be shocked at the natural burst of energy you will take with you into your day.
The most important thing I’ve learned from “going it alone” however, is that is doesn’t solve the issue. Sure, you can make healthy choices to combat the symptoms of anxiety. Ultimately though, there is no substitute to talking things out with folks who specialize in mental health. Sometimes when you’ve discovered your passion, voiceover or otherwise, it seems that the answer is simply to do more of what you love. Absolutely you should be making space in your life for what you know brings you joy, however those things will only seem richer when the rest of your life is in balance. Personally, I’ve waited too long to take the next steps in supporting my mental health and it’s time to do something about it. Who’s in?
Director of Media and Technical Services at Blumvox Studios, Brandon Blum manages, edits, and creates much of the content you will see, both on the website and in Blumvox’s social media videos. He also runs the tech for our live classes and offers technical help related to our site for those who need it.
Brandon has a B.A. in Theater Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz and also works as an actor in the Los Angeles area.