As you may already know, I have struggled with anxiety for just over a year now and I have so far managed to cope without the use of medication.
It is a tough trek and there are still bumps in the road every now and then, some worse than others.
On the occasions when it hits bad, I do struggle to maintain my usual routines, especially socially. I start feeling claustrophobic and trapped by all my anxieties, responsibilities and by the people around me demanding of my time and attention. Eventually I invariably have to take time away from people to concentrate on getting back on track.
I have recently just dragged myself out of a bad experience with my anxiety and this is what has prompted me to write this post.
Mental health is equally as important as physical and emotional health and with everything so intrinsically linked I feel it is important to address this and attempt to help others out there looking for the same guidance I was.
It has taken me a long time and a lot of research and reflection to figure out just what anxiety is; to pin point where my anxieties come from; what sparks them and what I can do to try to overcome them.
When it comes to overcoming my ‘blips’ with the anxiety, time and again it involves allowing myself the time to go through the necessary stages before taking control and picking myself up again.
Anyone struggling with any form of mental illness will understand that everyone has their own ways of dealing with their issues and there no miracle cure or sure-fire process to follow as everyone is different and what works for one will not work for another. With this in mind, there are steps I found that have really helped with managing my own recovery and I thought I would share them in the hope that they can help others struggling similarly.
I hope this proves useful in some way to anyone who is struggling with similar issues.
I would like to add that I am not an expert, merely someone who struggles with anxiety and this is simply what I have found helps me with my process.
Like many people now-a-days I struggle with depression and anxiety. I have always been determined to avoid taking medication to temper the effects and because of this I have had to find my own way to balance / cope with the effects without letting it impact my working and personal life.
It wasn’t until recently when I had a week off work that I realised just how integral my daily routine was for my mental well being, especially when I was feeling so low and anxious.
Initially intended as a week off to play the latest of World of Warcraft (it was the latest expansion release and I have always taken 5 days off on the latest release to play it), it ended up being a bit of a sham.
Stocking up with munchies and easy to cook oven meals, I ignored my normal sleeping routine and slept very little when I did, only allowing maybe 5 hours of sleep. I drank copious amounts of tea rather than the usual fruit juice and water, and I stared at a screen from the moment I woke until the moment I slept.
This lasted 3 days and then my anxiety kicked in and the worst part about anxiety is you know when it’s happening.
You know that the anxiety is causing you to become irrational and erratic but you just can’t stop yourself.
The below steps are what helped me get control of my anxiety issues. It isn’t by any means a quick- fix solution but it is a starting point and gives you a routine to be pro-active and busy. By continuing to make sure I did as many of these things as possible every morning I began to feel happier in myself and slowly the anxiety subsided.
These six steps helped me sort my head and my issues out and because I was doing them for me and no one else, it allowed me to feel like I had gained a sense of self back, something I felt I had lost in amongst all the noise of the anxiety.
There are of course other things you can do to promote inner well being such as getting fresh air, smiling, drinking lots of water and eating healthily. However, with so much around these days concerning healthy living, these should already be in peoples peripheral and pretty much a no-brainer!
I would just like to point out that these steps helped me cope with my depression and anxiety issues however they are not a cure- all solution. My anxiety has peaks and troughs and will always re-emerge and then subside. There have been points where I did struggle and I did seek help. The important bit is knowing when you have reach the limits of your capabilities and when you need to seek alternative help.
If you are struggling, please don’t hesitate to see a doctor if you need. There is no shame or weakness in asking for help . Strength does come from within however it is the support and advice from sources around us that keeps us strong.