Living with Anxiety
Photography by Deanna Williams
Paige Eversley is the Volunteer and Recreation Coordinator and has been diagnosed with Anxiety, an invisible disability that has a chance of affecting 1 in 4 individuals. Her family and close circle of friends have been supporting her for a few years, but she recently shared her journey through social media. She talked to us about what living with anxiety looks like for her.
Why did you decide to talk about it?
Talking about my Anxiety diagnosis has been a journey. But frankly, talking about it just… helps! I started talking with some good friends about my symptoms and how I felt like they were escalating. They became my outlet whenever I felt really anxious. Slowly and not too loudly, I started sharing my experiences with more people over social media. That’s when the private messages came pouring in, thanking me for being so open, telling me they felt the same. When I stopped internalizing it, my symptoms became more manageable.
How does it affect your daily life?
My experience with Anxiety makes no day the same. It has traveled with me through life, for example when I was young I had panic attacks before going to sleep for the fear of not waking up. In adolescent years, anxiety affected me socially making me fear new experiences. As an adult, panic attacks can still sneak up on me. As a mother of two small children and a busy career, on occasion I can feel like I am not exceeding enough at home or at work. With consistent support and encouragement around me I am lovingly reminded I can, after all, do this thing called life… even with anxiety.
What is the most difficult part?
Not letting the Anxiety become a crutch. I must acknowledge to myself that I am in control and challenge an anxious mindset. Yes, living with a diagnosis (of any sort) can seem daunting and it takes a lot of mindful decisions to improve your quality of life. But it does not define you.
Why are your drawn to WindReach?
I love that WindReach embraceseveryone who crosses the gate and includesour community as a whole. There is much more to an accessible space than you can imagine. Being accessible is the first step towards being inclusive. When individuals who are differently abled have access to more opportunities previously excluded from, it opens a platform to drive engagement between all abilities. Inclusion drives engagement and proximity leads to understanding.
What is your stance on Animal therapy?
I am genuinely fascinated with the human animal connection and believe that animal therapy and positive animal interactions are underutilized. Interaction with animals through therapy, recreation or assistance, can increase quality of life for all individuals, ages and abilities.
What other treatments do you use?
A few examples that I find immensely helpful for me to manage my Anxiety with are Yoga and meditation, journaling, art, exercise and monitoring my sugar intake (though chocolate is pretty essential!). I also try my best to keep an open mind towards new practices which are good for overall well-being.
This article was originally published in the Spring 2019 edition of RG Magazine.