Ways I Manage My Anxiety
I have mild but constant anxiety and obsessive thinking, with the occasional punch of depression. Here's how I wrangle it.
- •Being honest with myself about my issuesWould I love to not be this way? Yes. But pretending it's not there won't make it go away. There's that great story, I think it's Cherokee? About how we all have two wolves inside us, one good and one bad, battling it out every day. A little boy asks his grandfather which one will win, and the grandfather says, "whichever one you feed." I fight to give that good wolf all the fruits and veggies in the land.
- •If I'm home alone, the TV is always on and playing either a show or movie I know well, or benign enough I can ignore.There's something about having a tv on that feels like a true sigh of relief. If I'm somewhere without a tv, believe Netflix is streaming on my laptop. The sound interrupts the mental spirals my brain is prone to going down.
- •Audiobooks in the car or on hikesSame reasons as above. Sitting in a car with music on usually lets my brain wander down destructive paths. Audiobooks force it to focus and be in the moment. My thoughts may wander, but never for too long.
- •Audiobooks when I'm falling asleepThis is the dangerous hour for me. After 10, something shifts in my brain and I'm on a sad train to frown town. I pick a book I've listened to or read before, and let the stories lull me to sleep. At this point I've so Pavlov-ed myself that all I need is to feel the earbuds in and hear a gentle British accent and I'm OUT. May I recommend anything written by Bill Bryson or Jane Austen.
- •TherapySelf-explanatory. Also, shoutout to @ouizoid who makes the most wonderful lists about therapy that are always like a warm hug.
- •Taking breaks between social engagementsINFP, baby. I need to sit with my feelings. Too much time with other people drains me and makes me more vulnerable to spinning out.
- •Occasionally, ZoloftI believe Zoloft is a miracle drug. It has wholly reset my head on more than one occasion. I don't believe in drug shaming. Anyone asking for help should be applauded from the rooftops. I've been lucky enough to find something that works. It's got some side effects I don't love, so I try not to stay on it too long, but I'm so relieved to know it's always there as an option.
- •Sitting on the floor of a near scalding hot showerCurative.
- •WritingJournal, or write a short story, or a script with a character you can relate to. Let them battle, stumble and win. Articulate what success looks like to you. Or just vent. When I see my concerns written down, they feel more surmountable.
- •ExerciseGo read (or listen) to Spark RIGHT NOW. One of my favorite books last year. Regular exercise can be as helpful as 25mg of Zoloft. Endorphins are everything, even if you don't have anxiety or depression. Humans are made to move.
- •When I can't fight for myself, I think about my loved onesI want to be able to live in the present during special moments and happy days. I don't want to be lost in my own head, swirling with hypothetical fears and sadness. That motivation usually helps me get off my butt and go for a hike.
- •When I can't fight for myself, I think about my future kidsI want to be a great mamma someday, and it's important to me to be the best version of myself I can be for them. So time to get to healing the deeper hurts and get the reigns on my mental health now.
- •Reminding myself I am strong even when I feel shattered.I made it this far. I've taken responsibility for my happiness. It will always be two steps forward and one step back. But I'm a fucking boss bitch and I won't be beaten.