Panic: Dealing with anxiety...
I have anxiety disorder. It's something I've suffered with since I was a child and often it feels like I'm dragging a ball and chain around. I've never told employers about it (except one with negative results) and rarely really talk about it in real life. Yet it is such a big part of my life. I have to plan everything in advance so that I am prepared and any slight change sends me into a panic. I have to avoid most social situations making various excuses (and the ones I do attend tend to involve me bent over the toilet being sick or hiding in the cubicle mid panic attack hoping it will soon pass.) Crowded places are a no no. I remember as a kid spending many nights lying awake worrying about all sorts of unlikely situations convinced terrible things would happen. In many ways I was scared of life.
So how do I deal with it? I've tried CBT and take medication but there are other little things that help me...
1. Taking at least a day a week to myself. To not have to be around people (which can be exhausting), and to be able to relax and get some peace and quiet. Usually spending some time reading, blogging, watching Netflix or having a long bath.
2. ASMR videos. ASMR on YouTube has been a lifeline for me. If I am anxious or worried about something, can't sleep or am on edge then I put an ASMR video on my headphones and zone out. It's amazing how effective they can be and have got me through a lot of stressful times. (to find out more about ASMR go here.) Some of my favourite channels include Visualsounds1, Gentlewhispering, Tony Bomboni, Calming Escape, Deep Oceans of Sounds and Duff the Psych.
3. Be organised. As mentioned above changes to plans send my anxiety out of control. I have Bipolar and routine is very important to me so I live a very organised life. Every week I write a to do list of all the chores and things I need to get done (even the little things). If I have to go somewhere I research routes and bus times etc... and write a plan. In my mind I map out the day ahead so that I can mentally prepare myself.
4. Always carry my Ipod. If I have to go somewhere on my own or get public transport then I will always have my Ipod on. Not only does listening to music or podcasts relax me anyway but it creates a barrier that allows me to feel more comfortable in a usually anxious situation. Sunglasses or a hoodie can also be helpful as well.
5. Getting a good nights sleep. Sleep is such an important thing for your mental state and although it's not easy I always try and get a full nights sleep. That means going to bed early if I have an early start. Candles, fresh pjs, audiobooks and ASMR videos are all useful in helping with that.
6. Talking to someone. Coping with anxiety is difficult, but it's even harder if you are coping on your own. I try to be open with my family about it so that they know how to help me if I am struggling. I'm very lucky to have a family who is understanding and it definitely makes a huge difference.
Do you have anxiety? If so what do you find helps you cope?