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  • Writer's pictureMallory Fuller

Alex Andrews: Hope in Anxiety

Hey Friends,


First off, hi, I’m Alex with Anxiety—at least that’s what my hashtag says anyway. I’m so honored my queen/friend/sister that is Mallory asked me to share my story with you guys and I truly hope that by the end of this you’ll feel informed, encouraged, and empowered. Because you are so much more than enough.

I woke up one day to a dull ache in my chest and the feeling that something was “off,” but I had so much to do and this was a feeling I was used to, so I hurried off to class anyway. I was on edge, writing notes before class got started when suddenly every single light, sound, texture, and smell was so intense it got overwhelming. Then somebody dropped a water bottle and the sound quickly put my body into shock.


A flash of searing heat pushed through my body and my first instinct was to bolt, but I didn’t. I had to choose to either stay there frozen and try to suffer through it, or leave the room and let a surge of adrenaline cause me to hyperventilate, my heart to feel like someone was squeezing it through my chest, and my arms and legs to go numb.


Sounds SUPER fun, right? That was my reality all through college before I began treatment for anxiety and panic disorder. And way back in Elementary school I dealt with the same kind of stress over seemingly simple things.


I’ve had anxiety for as long as I can remember, and the facts say that I am not alone. 1 in 6 kids aged 6-17 will face a mental health disorder this year. 1 in 5 adults will face the same.


Everyone’s anxiety looks different. For most, it’s excessive worrying over little things. For others, it’s worry that leads to more (depression, suicidal ideation), and that is the kind where I say, “I feel you, friend.”


The thing is, I never thought I was going to see the light at the end of that tunnel, but here I am. After therapy, a good treatment plan, some life changes, and some really super supportive people, I’m over here living my best life within the Miss Texas America Organization! I have a happy home, a growing small business, and a new appreciation for myself and all that I’ve been through. I know what I said before sounds scary, and really it was, but I promise you, I learned something super important during the whole healing process that I want you to remember too: There is help, there is hope, and you are not alone.




Some steps I encourage you to follow if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of anxiety:


Education

The first step is to get educated—for yourself and others. You can start by taking a mental health screen for anxiety through this link here, and you can find more information on the signs and symptoms of anxiety to be looking for them in your friends. The more you know, the easier it will be to understand what your body is doing in the moment and you can work through it.


Advocacy

There are multiple kinds of advocacy, but for my purposes here I like to use advocacy for the self and for others. Now that you know a little more about what’s going on, find some resources available to you to get help. Organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness offer free experience-based programs and support groups to help you on your recovery journey. You can also try over-the-phone therapy, which is becoming increasingly common, through apps like Better Help. Advocacy is about finding a solution to a problem and doing your best to make those solutions known, so find out more, try them out, and spread the word!


Action

This is probably the hardest step. As someone struggling with anxiety, the next best thing to do after finding resources is to follow through. Follow your treatment plan, take your medication if necessary, know your diagnosis and triggers, and take those small steps every day to get better. As a friend, family member, or someone in recovery, this is also a really good time to give back and support mental health organizations with your time (volunteer), talent (offer services/special skills), and treasures (donate).





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