Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Anxiety & My Coping Methods

Anxiety & My Coping Methods
I have anxiety, I am not my anxiety.

Anxiety is not me, I do not let it define me and it is not a characteristic of my being. It is what it is, a mental health illness and is not a description of who I am as a person.

I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember but only officially got diagnosed in 2010 with General Anxiety Disorder; (excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry, that is, apprehensive expectation about events or activities). I had all the symptoms of the illness, but because I was so young I didn't really understand and I put the way I was acting and feeling down to being bullied in school (which is another factor) - my symptoms weren't recognised as Anxiety has such a broad spectrum. My symptoms included not enjoying everyday activities, not wanting to go out in public because I was paranoid that people were looking at me or talking about me, not wanting to be around people I didn't know, thought I was being judged constantly, worrying over completely nothing, feeling very irritable towards people and being anti-social by locking myself away and many more, but this is just the few. Everyone reacts very differently and will have symptoms individual to themselves as it is quite a complex mental health illness.

I am 29 years old, which would have made me 19 years old when I first went to go seek help about my mental health. I was a lot worse off then, than I am now and my anxiety rarely effects me but has not disappeared completely. I think it is one of those that will never go away but can somehow be pushed back into your subconscious as you learn to deal with the illness. I had tried self-care methods originally as the thought of going onto medication scared me, I didn't want something that I had thought of as unnatural to my body to take away who I was or control how I felt. At this time I was studying mental health nursing at university and you would think this would make me think very differently. But until it is happening to you, it makes you think very differently but it does eventually make you open-minded to the concept as I eventually started taking the medication for 6 months until I weaned myself off them and using more self-care coping methods to minimise the anxiety or try keep it at bay.

Focusing On Something Other Than The Anxiety Itself.
You are more than likely thinking, nice one Linda I have NEVER thought of that one before, I am all cured now, cheers. But it isn't as daft as it really seems. Sometimes when I am feeling overly anxious and I can feel my heart palpitating, I will start thinking about that more than I should and it adds to the anxiety, so I try and take my mind off it by doing small things such as reading, scrolling through my social media or put my energy into cleaning - it can be absolutely anything that distracts you from the anxiety itself. It might not work for everyone, but it helps me put me at ease when I have a sudden episode.

Taking Time Out For Myself.
Self-care is really important when it comes to your mental health. There will be times when you don't want to be around anyone and take solace in your company; for me this is definitely the case. I like to change into my pyjamas, stick some trash tv on, have a cuddle with my kittens and just relax. There are days where I will not want to speak to anyone, return anyone's messages they have sent to me or do anything and that is definitely okay to do so. I would never feel guilty for taking time out for myself.

Deep Breathing Exercises.
When I can feel a mild panic attack episode arising (I've not had a full blown panic attack in several years), I will carry out some deep breathing exercises. Whether it be at my desk, during a journey or absolutely anywhere. I will breathe in through my nose and then out of my mouth for a period, this will help me concentrate on regulating my breathing and keeping me calm and composed during that situation. It helps stop me from getting worked up.

Watching YouTube Videos
As silly as this may seem, watching my favourite YouTubers and catching up with what they have been up to or what content they have been creating always takes my mind of things, especially with the plethora of people I am subscribed to. My favourite videos to watch currently are Mukbangs and I have a bad habit of watching these when I am super hungry, but always give me ideas of what I am able to make or recreate.

Batch Cooking or Making My Favourite Meal
Batch cooking has got to be one of my all time favourite things to do, especially when it comes to cooking my favourite meals all in one. Some of my favourites are vegetable stews, tomato soup, chilli con carne or mayflower curry. I love prepping the ingredients and putting them altogether to create a delicious dish. I find it very therapeutic and rewarding once I get to eat what I have created. It definitely takes my mind off what is going on around me and keeps me at ease.

These are just a few of the many coping methods I take when it comes to my anxiety, but there are many more and each are individual to the person as some can work for some people, whereas they will not work with others. So, it's just finding the right methods for you and seeing which ones work.

Do you have any particular methods which you find work?

2 comments:

  1. I've had anxiety for as long as I can remember but was officially diagnosed with it about four years ago now, when it got really bad. Deep breathing exercises are what have helped me through so many panic attacks and I fully believe in it, breathing and focusing on something else can help so much in times of extreme anxiety!

    Lucy | Forever September

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  2. I have really enjoyed your post, not at your expense but it has taught me so much about anxiety i did not know. Like things that are good for distraction. a few close people to me have it and i never really know what to say but suggestions like could could help!

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