Hey my lovelies
Anxiety... What a word with so many meaning to so many of us. A lot of you reading this if you are anything like me, then even the word anxiety makes me anxious, as it gives me the stark reminder of what I like many of you go through day in day out.
So what actually is anxiety??
To me and you, anxiety can be many things. It can be the feeling of being panicked or worried, on edge, uneasy, tearful and not being in control or able to relax to name only a few things. It can manifest itself physically as well as mentally.
Physically you can get short of breath, a pounding heartbeat, flutters in your stomach, dizzy, sweaty and chest tightness. All these can lead to a panic attack. Mentally it can make you nervous, on edge, angry, teary and everything in between.
Anxiety can also be a symptom of other conditions including panic disorders, depression, chronic illness and post traumatic stress. Obviously anxiety can play a major role in many illnesses and if you think your anxiety is coming from something I urge you to seek help.
As you can see already, anxiety is a very complex illness and without a doubt this is something I have found out myself. There is no way to describe it and when you are in the grips of it, it can take over every cell of your body. This for me is why I decided to write this post on how I try and cope with my anxiety issues. My anxiety has been up and down for many years since childhood, but since I took ill at university over 10 years ago the anxiety has worsened. Over the years it has been hard at times to cope with it, but then others I have been able to cope. We had a serious car crash at xmas last year, you can see some of my updates from it in my you tube channel. This picture was actually taken the day of the crash at the Xmas Market in belfast, and my heart drops every time i think of what could have been.
www.youtube.com/passionsandpreening and since that my anxiety has got to a level that it effects my whole life. It leaves me not wanting to leave the house a lot of the time or get into a car. I try and use the following techniques regularly to help myself. Obviously not all of these ways of coping will help or interest you, but there might be something that you want to try.
Without a doubt I needed the medication when I fell to my worst point soon after the accident. I now take a combined anti depressant and anxiety tablet daily and when I need it I take extra diazepam. I totally understand medication will not be for everyone but personally I felt I was at my lowest and at that time it was the best decision for me. It was a decision that was not taken lightly and was thoroughly discussed with my GP.
Maybe counselling or therapy is something that you feel you could benefit from. There are lots of great charities eg Mind that can help find a private therapist, or you can talk with your GP about a referral for therapy. Lots of people get great help from therapy and it is something I have been referred for the anxiety, unfortunately like everywhere our NHS waiting lists are long and stretched for these services, but I am happy I took the first step in getting the referral.
When I start to feel anxious I feel that just taking a few minutes to sit and think of my happy place or times where I wasn’t anxious is a great way to detach myself from the anxiety and let myself be free even for a few minutes. Decide what your happy place is and just clear your mind and think about this place. Obviously if you are in the full grips of an attack this will be extremely hard to do, but I find if I can do this when anxiety is just starting it has helped to stop the attack.
Don’t bully yourself for feeling the way you do, instead acknowledge it
Personally when I am in the complete hold of anxiety, I get very hard on myself. I tell myself things like, don’t be silly, snap out of it, catch yourself on, but a while ago a really good friend of mine told me to stop and actually acknowledge how I was feeling. I try now and talk to myself and repeat things like, it’s ok to have these attacks, you will get passed it, you will be ok. Allowing myself that acknowledgment has really helped me.
Yes you did just read that right! Recently adult colouring in books have become very popular and hubby bought me one in our local Waterstones not that long ago. So now at night I try and do a little piece of a page and I don’t work in colour patterns, I just go with the colours I fancy at that time. It lets your head get out of that negative space and it helps me focus my mind on the book and not the anxiety.
Take a bath
One thing I hear so many people talk about is how nice a bath with a few candles and a lush bath bomb is. Unfortunately we don’t have a bath here but what I do like to do is have a shower in the evening and use a body wash with lavender in it to relax me.
Get a nice face mask on, paint your nails or maybe just cuddle up on the sofa with a cosy blanket, cuppa and film. I think taking some time out for you is really beneficial when it comes to managing anxiety, as sometimes our lives get so busy we just go through the motions. Taking time to pamper myself has really helped me relax.
Take a walk or do some exercise
Physical activity releases endorphins which are the body’s natural feel good factor and these help to reduce stress levels and in turn may help your anxiety problems. For me heavy exercise isn’t an option but even if I get 5 minutes in the fresh air it really helps. The other night I was extremely anxious and I knew I needed out into the air, all I done was walk not even 5 mins round our avenue, but taking some big deep breaths in and slowly walking really helped and I was able to refocus on feeling ok.
Writing your feelings down and binning them
I never really understood how beneficial this could be till this year. Any counselling I had in the past had talked about using this method for my depression but I never knew it could really to help with my anxiety. I tried it a couple of times after the accident and it really helped. It wasn’t a nice well written piece of work, but it was raw and emotional, questioning why and how. Then when I finished it I ripped it to shreds and binned it, and whilst binning it I focused on letting go of the questions and all of the fears and negativity surrounding the accident. I wouldn’t say it helped everything at all, but what it did do was give me a safe outlet to be able to share all my feelings.
This might sound like a flippant statement to end on, but if you are anything like me, when my breathing starts to go from the anxiety I have found myself holding my breath not realising I am doing it. So now I really try and focus on taking long deep breaths in then out my mouth. When in the grips of an attack you won’t be getting as much o2 in as you need so this helps this aspect, but what it also does is gives you something to focus on. I really try and work on my breathing as I feel it has helped loads.
So there you have it, just a few ways I use to try and control this rotten illness. Be kind to yourself, look after yourself and always remember you can get through it