By: Courtney Fogle (@courtnxyfogle)
Dr. Adrienne Wallace, GVSU PRSSA’s Faculty Advisor, says that anxiety has grown every year since the 1930s, and 6.8 million people experience it in the U.S. alone. It’s not often discussed in big groups even though it affects so many of us on a regular basis.
In this episode of PR Hangover, GVSU PRSSA gets real about anxiety. It’s facilitated by Dr. Adrienne Wallace, Faculty Advisor of GVSU PRSSA; and features Trevor Bryan, Chapter President; Morgan Shaffer, VP of Member Services; Sabrina Antcliff, CEO of GrandPR; and Courtney Fogle, Podcast Director. Reach out to any of these individuals or other Eboard members if you ever need someone to talk to.
How to Cope
Adrienne asked us what we do to cope with our anxiety. She learned from a therapist that knowing yourself and what causes you to spiral with your anxiety will help you figure out ways to facilitate it.
- Having a clean space, laundry is put away, room is clean, etc. makes Sabrina feel like she has a check off the to-do list. She feels more energized when her space is organized. She also recommends having a core group of friends that you can talk with.
- The things that make Trevor the most anxious are the things he can’t solve, improve, or change. He tries to fill his mind with thoughts that are good for him and distract him from things he can’t control. He recommends developing a plan that is unique to you. For Trevor, he’s most comfortable when he’s surrounded by a large group of people and can be distracted from his anxieties.
- Morgan is a planner. She plans her entire day, down to every fifteen minute increment. If she doesn’t do that, she’ll worry about when she’ll be able to get things done. Her advice is for you to go take a shower and relax. Self-care is important.
- Controlling her environment has been a huge part of Courtney’s healing process. Living alone works for her. She feels more in control, self-aware, and safe when she has access to her own space. She believes that animals can be very helpful for anyone dealing with anxiety or insecurities.
Adrienne sees that so many students who get attached to their personal plan get even more frustrated when it doesn’t work out. When the plan falls through, students often feel like everything is ruined and that they’ve failed. Trevor and Courtney share personal stories about planning, the stigma around “the plan,” and how it’s okay when things fall through.
Christina, a GrandPR member, chimed in on this question because planning is the root of her anxiety. She has a lot of expectational anxiety, especially when her plans fall through. Whether it’s about her future or simply what she’s eating for lunch.
Sabrina uses the term “penciled in” plan because she knows that not all of her plans will work out. Knowing that it doesn’t have to be concrete eases some of her anxiety. Trevor says that going with the flow can be so rejuvenating, especially because you can leave yourself open for opportunity, even if you need to plan out your “go with the flow” time.
Adrienne asked us how we manage up, whether it’s with our family, bosses, etc. Morgan says that she’s able to communicate with her mom, but it’s taken time to get to the level where she can tell her exactly what she needs and when she can be available.
Courtney says that it’s ok for you to step away and take care of yourself because you know what’s best for you, even if that means taking a break from family, friends, or employers that aren’t healthy for your mental health.
Trevor doesn’t hear from his parents unless something is wrong, so he’s always worrying about them. He had to learn that he has to worry about himself.
Sabrina’s parents are very hands off, which allows her to grow, but she thinks it’s a reason why she’s so hard on herself. She’s always pushing herself to be better and work harder, and she doesn’t want them to be disappointed, even though they’re always so happy with whatever she does. Managing them means managing their voice in her head that stems from herself trying to please everyone.
In the workplace, it’s important that you’re accepted for who you are. You have to be brave and courageous, knowing what you need. Morgan says that she doesn’t ever want to work anywhere that doesn’t validate anxiety. When you’re interviewing for a position, you also need to interview a company. Courtney says that when you’re in an environment at work that is not a good fit for you or you’re not learning, you have to be assertive for yourself and leave. Trevor will mention that he’s gay in an interview to see the type of reaction the interviewer will have, which is a huge piece for him. Sabrina recommends researching the company you’re interested in, network with peers in the organization, and ask questions about their company culture.
Advice for First Steps of Dealing with Anxiety:
– Journal. Identify your stressors. Is it stress or anxiety? Have a conversation with someone that you trust, but DON’T google it.
– Send your professor an email if you’re uncomfortable discussing something face-to-face.
– Take a deep breath.
– See a therapist.
– Take a break from social media.
– Pick up the phone and call someone you can count on.
Advice for Professors / Advisors to Help Students:
– Be able to listen; you don’t always have to give advice. Express that your door is always open.
– Be accepting.
– Share your pronouns. This will open the door for everyone else to see that it’s a safe place.
– Reiterate to the class that you’re here for them and provide resources.
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741-741
National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
For a full list of resources, click here.
Courtney Fogle is a junior studying Advertising and Public Relations. She is currently the Podcast Director for PRSSA and an account associate at GrandPR. Courtney is a singer-songwriter, with hopes to combine her love of music and PR so that she can work in the music industry managing artists and their brands. In her free time, you can find her listening to music or taking pictures of her cat, Oliver.