“How cliché, a blog post on anxiety.” Yes this may be pretty typical now a days but this is because anxiety and depression have been showing up more in the world today than ever before. The National Alliance on Mental Illnesses found that in just 2015, “Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.” For many people who experience anxiety or depression, they tend to hide their anxieties in hopes that they will go away on their own, if that was the case, anxiety would not have such a strong effect on people. I am here to tell you that there is nothing wrong with speaking up and getting help.
For me, 2015 was a year full of fun, excitement, happiness, stress, anxiety, sadness, and fear. This may sound a bit dramatic but fear was the biggest issue I faced, this included fear of being left alone, fear of the future and just fear of disappointing people. In attempt to hide all of what I was feeling in my head, I turned to the easiest possible way to get over my anxiety, that was shoving myself into social events, partying, and pushing the fear deep down inside of me. For a while, this really worked, until one morning all the anxiety sprung back up and it felt as if I was being suffocated by every wrong deed I had ever committed including events such as stealing a piece of candy in the 3rd grade. For months, it was as if I was not participating in the world, but simply watching from the outside. My fears grew and I was afraid that I would be stuck with that mindset for the rest of my life. Flashback to around 6 months before this all occurred when I was a strong believer of “medicine does not solve problems”. I in no way had anything against people who used medicine for help, but I saw it as a shortcut and somewhat of a placebo. Looking by to that time, I must have been very arrogant to believe I could solve my own problems and I could do it without the help of anyone or anything. Eventually, I made the step and spoke to my doctor about all possible options to fix what was going on. Just going to this appointment made me feel so weak, as if I had lost to something that “was all in my head”. I was wrong. I am proud to say that I did a courageous and brave thing, I did what I had to do to keep myself happy, and asking for help did not change the person I was, it made me stronger. To those of you who are afraid to talk to people about any mental illnesses, anxieties and stressors, just know you are definitely not alone. I urge you to take a step and help yourself by asking for help.
Disclaimer: medication is not for everyone, there are many methods to finding the peace of mind you need, i.e. Therapy, running, painting, etc.
Some tricks I use when I am anxious or stressed out include: (may or may not work for you)
- Breathe and Smile 🙂
Silly right? But it helps. Often times when I am feeling anxious, I take a moment to catch my breath. Often with anxiety we tend to rush our breathing which puts our bodies into fight or flight mode and we have unnecessary adrenalin going through us. It is nice to take a breather and just smile. There is a difference between acting happy to please others and putting a smile on your face to boost your own happiness. A request from me to you, smile as you read the rest of this post. In Myer’s Psychology textbook, it explains that when “manipulated into a smiling expression, people feel better; when they scowl, the whole world seems to scowl back, so put a happy face on… going through the motions often times trigger the emotions.”
- Find hobbies that put you “in your zone”
When a person is absorbed in enjoyable tasks, they are in a “flow”. Taking time to savor activities that interest you go beyond the normal forms of leisure such as watching TV. When you fill your time with these activities, your brain has no time to stress. For me, this includes helping out at my church, painting, and exercising.
- Scream in your head
This sounds crazy but it is something new I am trying and so far it has worked. Since having anxiety and for those who also have anxiety, I think we can all conclude that anxiety is just an asshole. An asshole who just gets into your head with unimportant information. And what do us humans do with assholes? We yell. Block off everything going on around you, close your eyes and scream at this asshole to go away and tell him he is not welcome here. (I feel that when speaking about anxiety it is easier to refer to it as “he” I am in no way trying to offend anyone). Try it sometime, it is truly helpful
- Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it necessary?
Like I said, anxiety will bring thoughts into our head that have no meaning to our current lives, yet cause us so much stress. Every time I am stressed, I look to these three questions and if I answer “no” for one of the questions, I refer to method 3 of coping with anxiety. For example, did I steal a piece of candy from the grocery store as a child? Yes. Is it helpful? I mean maybe, I learned to not steal again. Is this thought necessary or does it affect anything going on in your life right now? Not at all.
If I haven’t already said this, I’d like to say that these methods will not work for everyone. Everybody’s minds work differently and respond to anxiety in different ways. These are just some helpful things that worked for me. If you ever feel like you need to ask more questions and want to know me, please feel free to ask me, I am an open book and would love to help. Also, this topic means a lot to me so I would ask that if you are not serious about it, please keep your opinions to yourself because I am just putting my knowledge and experiences out there for people who may need some guidance. And lastly, I’d like to say thank you and I appreciate those people who take time to read my blog posts, I do not write to please others, but when I hear that someone truly liked my writing, it makes my day. Thank you!