June 5, 2018

The Anxious SLP



Hi, my name is Kayla and I have anxiety.

Actually, I've had anxiety since elementary school. Tension headaches and migraines were my first symptoms. Elementary school, y'all. I was young.

I didn't realize it was anxiety causing these issues until I was in college. Early on, doctors said my headaches could be from posture. I went to the chiropractor with limited relief. Headaches worsened and alleviated depending on the year (such as who my teachers were and what classes I was taking), and sometimes even the time of year (big exams, social events, etc). I started to put two and two together. It started to make sense.

Then grad school happened. I went on anxiety medication. It was the greatest thing to happen to me. A tiny dose of Zoloft was enough to regulate my emotions and keep me in check. My headaches decreased dramatically. As a matter of fact, I don't know if I've had a migraine since 2012. Tension headaches still come and go, but much less often. I've actually been able to come off of my anxiety medication since I've been married.

I've become very in tune with my anxiety and when it worsens. Certain times of year when work becomes insanely busy. When I am alone for an extended period of time (ex: if my husband goes away on business trip). During the summer when I am "off" work and have too much time on my hands.

I've never been ashamed of my anxiety. I am very aware of my anxiety. I think being aware of your anxiety is the best thing you can do. The next best thing you can do is find a way to cope with it.

Coping with Anxiety

  • Apps, such as Stop, Breathe, Think. This app will give you a daily reminder to take time out for mindfulness. 
  • Exercise. Join a gym or go for daily walks.
  • YouTube has channels for yoga, such as Yoga with Adriene. Best of all, these videos are free. 
  • However, sometimes getting out and about (aka socializing!) is helpful as well. See if your community has a yoga class! Or any classes you'd be interested in joining, where you can be around other people. 
  • Watch what you're eating and drinking. Sometimes, caffeine can make anxiety worse. Junk food can make it worse, too! Try eating balanced meals and limiting caffeine (and alcohol).
  • Watch for the signs that anxiety is creeping up on you, and take time to reflect and relax. Catching anxiety early can ease the symptoms, IF you can tell when it's worsening.
  •  If these suggestions do not work for you, talk to your doctor. Sometimes, anxiety cannot be managed by diet, exercise, and mindfulness. Do NOT be ashamed to ask for help from your doctor. It doesn't mean a life sentence of anxiety medication. And even if it does... so what?
Anyone who struggles with anxiety, I want you to know you aren't alone. Whether you are in undergrad, grad school, your CF year, or working with your CCCs... you aren't alone. 

Also, I encourage you to watch for anxiety symptoms in your students. Sometimes, no one else will realize that a student is experiencing anxiety. Having gone through it myself, I feel a little more in tune with the signs and symptoms. Let your students also know... they aren't alone.

Friends, our jobs are stressful. Life is stressful. But you're never alone. ❤

If you experience anxiety, please leave a comment telling how you best cope with it. We can all learn from each other!