I’ve seen 3 doctors and I was told “We can fix this with conversation”, “This will go away when the prednisone is out of your system”, and my favorite, without any evaluation or analysis of my situation or symptoms, “here take this.”
None of them helped me at all, so I did my own homework. I’ve searched the world wide web endlessly for natural remedies, and ways to cope with anxiety when I start feeling it. Of course, it’s hard to stop or control anything once it’s come on full force, but I thought if could find ways that works for me, I could start using them when I knew I was in an anxious state or situation, and I could prevent those feelings from occurring- or at the least, keep them from getting any worse.
If you have anxiety, you know there’s no possible way to just “stop thinking about it”. Like, that’s the most far-fetched idea. There is no “thinking about something else”. It’s like your mind becomes utterly obsessed with the fear and discomfort and it takes something absolutely huge and real-time to distract you from that. It’s so hard to change your thought pattern in that moment. There’s just no way. So the idea of “focus on your breathing” is just silly to me. Breathing is innate; I can do it and a million other things at once. But breathing techniques are a different idea, entirely. There are tons of breathing technique videos on Youtube demonstrating how you can use your hands and breathing out of certain nostrils and your mouth in particular patterns that take more concentration than simply breathing. This has proven effective for me in more than a handful of different situations. When I’m feeling a little anxiety coming on, I start doing it. It keeps it at bay, or gets rid of it entirely for me.
Another things I’ve really found helpful in coping with my anxiety is understanding it. Not understanding why but understanding what causes your anxiety will help you tremendously. I know that taking long trips makes me anxious, so I always pack sunflower seeds to keep me busy, and an ice cold drink (usually water or tea; ice water is like, my remedy for everything.) Being tired makes me anxious as well, so I always make sure I get sufficient sleep and I don’t over work myself. Being hungry makes me anxious because I get nauseous, dizzy, and a little lightheaded – so I always make sure I have some sort of snack with me (sunflower seeds, peanut butter, etc.) When I’m away from home, I never sleep well. I just don’t. And when I wake up in the middle of the night, there is no going back to sleep. Anxiety just sets in, and fast enough that I can’t get a grip on it before it’s unmanageable. So sometimes I’ll take a sleeping aid to ensure I stay asleep through the night. If you know what tends to trigger your anxiety, you can do things to make sure it doesn’t even start.
Making time for yourself and some personal relaxation is also important. Even if you don’t deal with anxiety, “me time” is still so important. I like to take baths with epsom salt or bubbles! I love face masks, doing my eyebrows, and cleaning. And I like to light all the candles in my house. It just feels good! I’m also a huge fan of ambient lighting, so when it gets darker outside, I don’t like to turn on the ceiling light. I love lamps or string lights for the evening. All of these things are relaxing to me, so when I’m feeling especially stressed, Ill do them. Or I just do them regularly, to keep my good feelings as constant as possible!
I have started doing yoga and meditation as well, and that’s helped me tremendously in reflection and having quiet time. Being in a relaxed state for so many minute a day makes such a difference, too. I’m also planning to see a doctor for some guidance in what else I should be doing, considering my specific case and how my anxiety came to be. I’d love to have more insight into how and why things unfolded the way they did, and what would be beneficial for me as far as medication goes.
With anxiety and depression and any mental illness, really, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t fight medication, if that’s what you need. It’s important to do your own research and do what you can to help yourself, because you know yourself the best, and if it can be improved without medication, then awesome. It’s not for everyone, that’s true. And it takes a lot of trial and error to find something that works for you, but if you’re someone who needs that, once you do, it’s amazing the difference it can make. And this is all self-talk really, because I’m trying to convince myself that it’s okay, which it is, I’m just stuck on that “I shouldn’t have to be on medication for something like this” mentality, when it should be treated just like any other illness you take medication for. It’s not weird.
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