In episode 9, Suck it Up Buttercup, Elaina and Tracy discussed the various types of anxiety disorders and share common statements to avoid saying to someone who suffers from anxiety.
“Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that’s very important for good health.”
Many of us experience periods of anxiousness or nervousness. For someone who suffers from anxiety, they experience prolonged feelings of worry and anxiousness, which are often related to experiences that we all experience, but there is something within them that does not allow them to work through, overcome, or cope and adapt in the same manner as someone who does not suffer from anxiety. In episode 9, Suck it Up Buttercup, Elaina and Tracy discussed the various types of anxiety disorders and share common statements to avoid saying to someone who suffers from anxiety.
There are different types of anxiety disorders that people face such as Social Anxiety, General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Phobias, Panic Disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Elaina said, sometimes we face anxiety due to a specific situation or fear like some people have a fear of some events, animals, or spiders. Elaina shared a childhood memory linked to her arachnophobia. When I was in the 4th or 5th grade, a spider dropped down from the ceiling and stopped right in front of my face.
With General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), it doesn't have anything particular to be worried about. You are worrying when you sleep and when you’re awake about anything and everything.
Social Anxiety Disorders is overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. It’s the fear of being judged, humiliated, and in some cases rejected.
Panic Disorders, unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress. Tracy shared her experience with panic attacks. It felt like I was having a heart attack which made it worst. Sometimes the worrying about having another panic attack can be worse than the actual panic attack.
Regardless of what we are or have experienced, these issues do not define us. I am not my anxiety, and it’s something I cope through every day. I am more than my disorder.
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Elaina: Tracy, we’ve talked before about the things that we’ve experienced in life, and I’ve shared that I have been diagnosed with anxiety. It’s something that I’ve known for a few years and something that I constantly work through. But have you ever been in a situation where there are certain things that you say to help someone cope or you feel like you’re motivating them, but not realizing that you may be making the situation worse?
Tracy: Yeah. Yeah. I’ve been in a couple of situations like that where I think. When it got to the point where I was just hearing myself talk and not really getting feedback from the other person, it was like, okay, Tracy, shut up. right now. Definitely feel that.
Elaina: I realized the things that I do or say would be things that if you said them to me, would send me from zero to a hundred. I thought that we should have a discussion, just talk more about what anxiety is, because there’s different degrees and there’s different types and there’s different symptoms.
So, it’s going to be different for everybody depending on the type of anxiety you have. And the degree in which your anxiety impacts you. And it was really interesting to me as I was thinking through some of the things that I’ve said, and I just thought it would be fun to talk about a few things that you should not say to someone who suffers from anxiety, especially if you know. Everyone has moments when they feel nervous or anxious. We’re not talking about those periods of, I’m just worried about this thing and it lasts for two minutes and then I’m over it and I can move on.
We’re talking about people who have this intense prolong feeling of worrying and anxiousness. So, for example, for me, I have general anxiety, but my phobia is not as bad as what it used to be. So, the phobia is that irrational fear of a situation or object or events, things of that nature. So, growing up, I had arachnophobia, which is the fear of spiders. and I can tell you the moment that I developed it, I remember I had to be in the fourth or fifth grade and I remember sitting in our dining room and I was getting ready to slam down on some pancakes that my mommy had made me that morning and I was so excited. I can still smell the syrup. I don’t even like the smallest syrup now, and I think it’s because I have PTSD from that incident.
I think when I smell syrup, it takes me back to being that ten-year-old sitting at the breakfast table with her plate of pancakes in front of her covered in syrup, and all of a sudden I go to take a bite of my pancakes and from the ceiling, this spider crawled down and stopped right in my line of sight. Girl, I lost my mind that day. I don’t think I ever screamed any louder than that day at that moment, but after that, I was terrified of spiders. Now if I see a spider, I just had to kill it and go about my business. Now, for all you all…
Tracy: You’re brave.
Elaina: There’s been a couple of times that I’ll see one, I just be like, look, dog, we all God’s children and I understand that. So, you go your way. I go my way and we’ll pretend like this never even happened. But if you are within reach, then, I’m going to take you out and it’s just not, it took me a long time be able to do that.
Tracy: But you are a step ahead of me. I still pull up the vacuum cleaner. I hope the hose can reach it because I’m not touching it.
Elaina: For me, I have to know your dead. I feel like if I suck it up in a vacuum cleaner, the moment I go to empty the vacuum cleaner out, it’s called crawl out. It’s going to get me back. Girl, when I was looking at my house and the inspector was here, he went up in the attic, so I’ve never been in my attic and I’ve been in my home for two years and have to have the conversation with him.
I could care less what’s in that attic. As long as it stays there. Cause when he came down, I said, there’s nothing up there I need to be worried about is there. And he was like, like what? I said, so I don’t like spiders. And he said, you probably swallow more spiders in your sleep than you see in the daytime.
Tracy: Oh my God.
Elaina: I wanted to punch him.
Tracy: Yeah, you can’t say something like that.
Elaina: I wanted to punch him. Like literally I saw my little five-foot self. Sweeping my leg up and kicking him in the throat. I’ve kind of grown out of that phobia. But I do have general anxiety where I have these periods of just constant worry. Another example, because I think sometimes when people look at different disorders and mental illness, they always think of things that are on this grand scale of impact. And sometimes it can just be small things that we all experience, but someone was a disorder responds to it completely differently than someone without a disorder.
You and I had talked about what we were going to do for the next few episodes and what new format we wanted to do. If we want to do something different, and in my mind, I was thinking about, okay, I need to be able to manage recording, editing, publishing stuff to social media. I still have my motherly duties, have my Monday through Friday, eight to five I have school. We have all these things that we have going on. It’s like if I create a schedule for myself and I block out times that I schedule everything, I’ll be good if I stick to that schedule. That turned into buying three, four different types of bullet journals, new markers, stickers, highlighters, drawing out pages, what collections, am I putting in it. I went through this whole thing, all because I was worried about how I was gonna structure my schedule.
Tracy: So, you added more stuff onto yourself.
Elaina: Yes. See, that’s what a person with anxiety does.
Tracy: I do that too. I can relate to that to a certain extent. I get that.
Elaina: There’s always more serious things too. there’s always the constant worrying. with general anxiety, it doesn’t have to be anything in particular. You can be worried about 50,000 things at the same time and you lose sleep, or you have difficulty falling asleep, or you have difficulty staying asleep. You have a difficult time being able to concentrate.
So how I found out that I had anxiety was, my muscles were tight, my shoulders, and it’s like, Oh, it’s just a little tension. Not a big deal. But then when I started having back spasms, that’s when I was diagnosed, and she was like, this is anxiety. Your back spasms are triggered by the level of stress you’re putting your body through.
Tracy: That’s interesting. How they were able to make that connection.
Elaina: And I realize that muscle tension is a sign of anxiousness and anxiety, and then there’s also social anxiety. With social anxiety, it could be a fear of performing or being in a public space. For me, my social anxiety is the fear of being negatively evaluated by others, like how people perceive me even in work situations or when I’m out and about. If someone looks at me, are they judging me? The average person is not thinking about that. If you’re in a meeting and you say something and someone looks over at you and it’s like, did I say something stupid? You immediately start the question and go back and play those things over and over and over again, trying to figure out what you could’ve done differently to change it. Has their opinion of you changed? What did they think about you now? And it really shouldn’t matter.
Tracy: Right. Well, I know I’m learning a lot. I think when I think about anxiety, I don’t know why my mind automatically goes to just, panic attacks. I think that’s where my mind automatically goes when someone mentions anxiety and I’ve had a panic attack before. I didn’t know what that was, but I think it was more situational than it was like a disorder or something I struggled with and after that I’m like, if this is what having anxiety is, and someone deals with this on a regular basis, that has to be stressful. Cause that was a really, really scary moment.
Elaina: Panic disorders is a category of anxiety and you are absolutely right. How stressful is, so I do not have, or I have not had a panic attack.
Tracy: Oh my God.
Elaina: So, I’ve never experienced one, but I’ve heard about them. But I do know that the thought of experiencing it again, causes more stress and anxiety than the actual attack itself.
Tracy: Yeah. I read that. I was reading about panic attacks where there are some people who think about it and they have a panic attack thinking about it, but the whole experience, it was so scary because I thought I was having a heart attack. It was like my heart was beating so fast and I couldn’t calm down. It’s like I tried everything to calm myself down and it lasted, maybe a couple of minutes, but it felt like forever where you just felt like in that moment you were going to die. That’s just how I felt and like I said, I know it was stress-related, situational, but just that experience and just thinking about people who do suffer from that on a regular basis. It’s like that has to really be scary.
Elaina: Let’s talk about some of the things. That you want to avoid saying when someone has an anxiety disorder and maybe you don’t know and you should just stop saying it to people regardless of if they have anxiety or not because when we talk about it, I think it’ll make sense as to why we should probably avoid saying some of these things.
So, number one, and it’s not in any particular order other than what I captured. Calm down.
Elaina: Don’t tell me to calm down. If I could calm down. It was that easy. Don’t you think I would?
Tracy: Yeah. I think I got a problem with that. Even from not having an anxiety disorder. Who are you talking to?
Elaina: And that’s why I said like even if you don’t know. Stop telling people that. Don’t tell nobody else, for the rest of 2020, I want everybody to commit to you are not going to tell anybody to calm down.
Tracy: Hashtag check yourself.
Elaina: You need to push through it. That’s the reason why telling someone they need to push through it is because again if it was that easy. They would be doing that.
Elaina: We have to stop trying to push through things and learn how to cope with things in a healthy way. Let’s see, what’s the next one? Oh, suck it up. See you suck it up and get you punched in the throat because depending on what someone is anxious or worrying about, that could be a trigger gone wrong for you.
Tracy: And it’s condescending, and I don’t care in what context.
Elaina: It’s disrespectful. You don’t know what someone’s going through in that moment. And if you were feeling a certain way, how would you feel, if I just said to you, suck it up? Let’s see. Stop worrying. if it was that easy, I would do that. the next one. Just let it go.
Elaina: Let’s see. Other people have it worse than you.
Tracy: Yeah. That’s yeah.
Elaina: Is that a trigger for you?
Tracy: Yes. A couple of them that you name where I’m like, you can’t say that to me in any context, but it’s like, yeah, that’s another condescending one. A lot of nerve.
Elaina: You have to learn how to be more positive and see, for me, I think I am a very positive person. Now, I will say that one of my coping mechanisms is to, in my mind, strategically plot out the absolute worst thing that could happen in any given situation that I’m in or thinking about putting myself in because I feel like if I can have a strategy to overcome that or have a way of dealing with that outcome, then I can be okay, so I may bring something up and it may sound completely negative to someone else, but it’s not about being negative. I’m preparing for myself. I will survive the zombie apocalypse.
Tracy: Well, I know who to call. Thank you.
Elaina: The rest of y’all walking around here talking about learn how to be more positive. What you’re going to do in a zombie apocalypse. Shake its hand. Be more positive. Imma positive you right in the throat. Alright, oh yeah. This is a trigger for me. You’re making a big deal out of nothing.
Elaina: See that one would have me blackout.
Elaina: And Harley steps up to the plate.
Tracy: Yeah. And I think the big problem is those last three that you just named, they’re minimizing another person’s feelings, you know? And I think that’s what makes them so triggering. So yeah. Harley deserves to come out.
Elaina: Yeah. Harley comes out on that. And here’s one that people, again, for all 2020 just be conscious of who you say this to you as a circumstance. I know how you feel and here’s the reason why. If you truly have not been in that situation. Then you absolutely cannot know how someone feels if you haven’t experienced it. I’ll give you an example that has nothing to do with anxiety, but just I know how you feel when you haven’t experienced it, how it can set someone off.
When my father passed, I remember being at the repass and I remember my uncle coming over to me and saying, I know how you feel. You can’t possibly know how I feel because your dad’s sitting over there. but you can say, I can understand. Because I think conceptually, we can somewhat identify, but you don’t know how I feel if you haven’t experienced it.
Tracy: Yeah, I definitely get that with the, with the death of someone. That one I’m not so triggered by, I think only because like I totally get it when it comes to death, but I think. That’s one of those statements people make when they don’t know what else to say in each, want the other person to feel like they’re not alone. You know? They see the intention behind it. I don’t know.
With death, I may not feel the same way if I just lost someone and someone said that, and I mean I had that same reaction because that’s another level, but I totally get the sentiment behind the person saying it.
Elaina: It’s like a default,
Tracy: A filler. It’s a filler.
Elaina: It’s a filler. It’s a default. But I’d rather you say you’re not alone than to say, I know how you feel if you haven’t experienced it. If you’ve experienced it, then tell me in all the ways that you can relate. And I try really hard cause I’m definitely one of those people where I try to relate to people and let them know they’re not alone by sharing a personal story.
And sometimes it’s like, well, I don’t want you to feel like I’m trying to one-up you. I’m just trying to show you how I can connect on the level that you’re at. And so, I definitely need that. There’s a difference in that.
Tracy: Yeah, it is. It is.
Elaina: Let’s see. Ooh. You need to try harder because I’m not stressing myself out already. Said, I’m not doing enough that I need you to come in. It’s helped me to try harder.
Elaina: Like I’m already, yeah, take a couple seats, sir. Or ma’am, go sit down somewhere. You try harder. Try harder to go ahead and remove yourself from my space.
Tracy: Try harder not to get this ass looking to want to say, I’m sorry.
Elaina: Now see, there goes my Peaches, I was waiting for my Peaches to show up, but I knew if I just say I Harley’s name three times.
Tracy: I try not to bring her out. That one is triggering though. you can’t say that to people.
Elaina: All right, well, if that’s the trigger, it’s all in your head and there’s nothing to worry about.
Elaina: You just, you’re being dramatic
Tracy: I don’t like people trying to make beings sound like I’m, you know, just making things up.
Elaina: And then, Oh, so this one gets on my nerves. This one will get your feelings hurt really quick. And this is also one of the ones that I realized that I was doing with my daughter, and I had to stop because I had to think about that gets on your nerves when people do it to you. constantly asking, are you okay?
Elaina: I understand how we got to that place, right? Because we’re going through something, our default is just to say, I’m okay. I’m fine. Right? That’s a default setting. Rather than keep asking me, am I okay? Change it up a little bit. If you truly want to know if I’m okay, ask something else and so what I’ve trained myself to do is instead of saying to someone. Are you okay? So, I’ll say, are you okay? And if you say, yeah, I’m fine, I’m okay. I’m not asking that again. I may follow up a little bit later, like, Hey, anything you want to talk about. Anything bothering you? Any, you know, what good happened in your day to day did something not so great happen?
You know, just so we can get past the, are you okay? Cause to me, are you okay if I just default, I’m usually going to dismiss you if you asked me that because I don’t want to talk about it.
Tracy: Yeah, I was going to say with that question, sometimes you may not get the real response because a lot of times people aren’t in that headspace to talk about it over and over again. So, to kind of shut it down, it’s like, yeah, I’m good. Oh yeah, I’m okay. And that may not be the reality.
Elaina: And then the last one, and I think we do this because we want to help. And I know that I am really good for, for doing this. And my goal for 2020 is to not do this to anybody. And that is to say, have you tried?
So, then you list off all these things. Somebody could try. It’s not always that simple. There are things that I can share that I have tried that helps me with my anxiety, I would say for anybody that feels like they are suffering from anxiety, the best thing to do is to work the helping professional, your physician or therapist, one to find out if you do have an anxiety disorder. But then to talk through some ways that you can self-manage that. And if it can’t be self-managed, then find, figure out what those other medicinal avenues are. But I definitely think the conversation should be had.
Tracy: Yeah, absolutely. Also, with that, I did hear that peppermint, peppermint oil and lavender oil are good for stress, anxiety and things like that. So yeah, definitely a fan of essential oil.
Elaina: Yep. So, I had never really been into it, but I want to try it out. I just ordered chakra bracelets that also have lava rocks. So, the lava rocks hold essential oils because I did some research,
Tracy: Oh, I’m sorry, I just bought one. I have mine on now. Yes, they have my birthstone, which is your birthstone. I’m going to take a picture and send it to you, but yeah, and it has the Hamsa hand, which pretty much is supposed to absorb negative energy.
Elaina: See, girl that Aquarius mind.
Tracy: I know.
Elaina: But these are chakra rocks and has the lava rocks that absorb essential oils. And I did some research and found out that Rosemary is supposed to be a stimulant and it’s supposed to help you in moments that you’re sort of spiraling and dealing with your anxiety and helps you supposed to like refocus and get, basically get yourself back on track.
So, I bought some Rosemary essential oil and I’m going to test it out. We’re going to try and see if I feel better when I’m dealing with certain situations to manage my anxiety because there’s other ways. So, there’s cognitive behavioral therapy and there’s of course anti-depressant medicine and anti-anxiety medicine. So, if there’s all these things that are out there that you can try,
I read this quote at the beginning of the year that made me just kind of say how kind of wanted to reframe how I looked at going into 2020, and I don’t know who the quote originally was by . When I tried to find out like resources pointed to four or five different people, but the quote was, life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.
And I connected with that because I feel like just when I was talking about oh, let me get a, I want to create a schedule so I can block all the time and get everything set up. So, I’m set up for success and then I just went off the rails with it. Like I didn’t need to go that deep into it. But I think that being aware of it helps me be able to pull some of that back and be able to manage better and all my anxiety whose name is Hartley. It’s really her fault.
Tracy: Blame Harley for everything.
Elaina: Thanks, Harley. I just had to buy all this stuff just to get you to sit down somewhere. All right, well, we are going to go ahead and end there. I hope you enjoyed our discussion today on anxiety and if you want to learn more information or if you want to follow us, you can find us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. You can visit us on copequeens.com. And we look forward to talking to you next time. Tracy, anything else?
Tracy: Nope. Bye guys. Until next time.