B-Rabbit is having an anxiety attack: His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy…
You know this song. I know this song. Even Generation Z is familiar with Eminem’s 2002 smash hit “Loose Yourself” — and some of you weren’t even born yet! But did you know that this recovery mastermind is rapping about an anxiety attack and even peppering in the remedy? More impressively, it came out 6 years before his recovery date. Let’s break it down.
What is an anxiety attack
Interestingly enough, anxiety is primarily categorized as a symptom to disorders. For example, I have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and anxiety, OCD, and paranoia are the symptoms. Anxiety typically involves the idea of something that could happen, such as an obstacle or fear. Anxiety attacks are also commonly confused with panic attacks because they share a lot of emotional and physical symptoms. You can even experience both at the same time!
“An anxiety attack is a sudden and intense episode of fear and anxiety. These anxiety attacks can sometimes occur unexpectedly for no apparent reason, but they can also be linked to specific triggers.”
Using the song as an example, B-Rabbit is anxious to go on stage for his rap battle … ironically he is battling his thoughts in the process. His anxiety is causing his mind to blank which then evolves into the onset of a panic attack. He starts feeling more physical symptoms such as getting sick to his stomach and sweating. Fortunately, Rabbit doesn’t fall into a full-blown panic attack and overcomes his anxiety by the end of the song.
What does an anxiety attack feel like
Anxiety comes with a laundry list of symptoms. From uneasy compulsive thinking to sweating palms and a racing heart … the attacks are never pleasant. What to expect when experiencing an anxiety attack:
- Nervousness and racing thoughts.
- Increased heartrate and chest pain.
- Labored breathing and dry mouth.
- Chills or hot flashes, even sweating.
- Numbness or tingling.
- Nausea, abdominal cramps (even pain), or upset stomach.
- Feeling faint or dizzy.
There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti
He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready
To drop bombs, but he keeps on forgettin’
What he wrote down, the whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth, but the words won’t come out
Eminem obviously kills it in describing the uneasiness that goes along with anxiety. He offers a good reminder too that these symptoms can commonly disguise themselves. Someone could be suffering but it doesn’t appear so because their feelings are internal.
Loose yourself in the moment to ease an anxiety attack
Mindfulness. Eminem is talking about mindfulness. Preach it my man!
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime
Stepping out of the narrative the song follows, you can apply what he is saying to your own life to conquer anxiety. Deep breaths, mindfulness, and reframing thoughts are the answer. Take a moment when you witness the onset of anxiety and pause. Do some controlled breathing to reset your body which will reset your mind.
Take a deep breath
- Sit up straight and close your eyes.
- Slowly inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
Be mindful and present by taking on one task at a time. Compartmentalize the other projects you have for the day, focus on the task at hand … you can come back to the others. Rabbit even does this in the song. His brain is racing with tarnished memories from his childhood and the dark reality he is facing if he doesn’t blow the audience away and shoot his shot at a brighter future. He grounds himself and carries on to achieve his goals.
By the end of the song, he achieves what his thoughts were telling him was impossible. He simply reframed his thinking toward the end of the song.
Success is my only @)*&$^$#* option, failure’s not
Mom, I love you, but this trailer’s got to go, I cannot grow old in Salem’s Lot
So here I go, is my shot
Feet, fail me not, this may be the only opportunity that I got
Reframe negative thoughts
Be aware of what you’re saying to yourself. We have the power to change our thinking and manifest the seemingly impossible. Some days a great feat is getting outta bed and going to the grocery store, and that is amazing! Baby steps. As long as you are putting one foot in from of the other, you are working toward silencing those pesky thoughts.
Don’t be afraid to seek professional help. So many do! Anxiety can be so incredibly overwhelming. The bottom line is this … no literally, the bottom line is this: You can do anything you set your mind to. Amen.