Before I start, I just want to clarify a disclaimer that none of the below is professional advice, it’s just how I dealt with anxiety and ideas to potentially help you. Always get medical advice before embarking on anything serious.
Struggling with anxiety can be a daily struggle. Not only are you anxious about a certain thing, sometimes you end up getting anxious about the possibility of being anxious, it’s a difficult circle to break. I was listening to a podcast earlier and they were talking about the beast of anxiety and how they deal with it. Everyone deals with it differently as it affects everyone differently.
It’s worrying to think that anxiety is affecting children before they even reach the age of 14 years old. Shocking. But no one can really pinpoint the cause of anxiety. It’s a mixture of upbringing, lifestyle, friendship groups, social situations and much more. Not only does it affect children, but it also affects 1 in 10 adults, that’s a HUGE number.
Let’s not allow ourselves to dwell on the past anxiety
Not one person will suffer from the same anxiety as another. It’s all down to the individual and their circumstances. I wanted to write this post to try and help people accept their anxious periods and move on from them, not to dwell on them and allow the anxiety to stop them from doing things they enjoy, as it did me.
I’d say that I was a nervous person as a child, I would try and keep my parents home from work so that nothing happened to them, I would (and still do) bite the skin around my fingers until they bleed and are excruciatingly sore. I didn’t learn about anxiety until it got to the point in my life where I was really struggling with panic attacks. I couldn’t work, see my friends or just live in general without feeling this sheer pain of fear.
When you are struggling with anxiety you feel cut off from the world. You feel lonely. But until you learn to ride that wave of loneliness and accept how you feel, you will never be able to deal with it. Being able to accept you are feeling anxious and still get on with your life is a huge step, not one that comes overnight.
Knowing your anxiety triggers is the biggest thing that is going to help you. If you can narrow it down and pinpoint what exactly it is that makes you feel anxious, you can, therefore, control it in the future. I’ve been able to control my triggers to the best I can for the last few years or so, but even now, sometimes, it can get the best of me and I end up being in the same place I used to, doing things I don’t want to do. Not to quite the extreme, but it does get me down when I’ve allowed myself to get to that point again.
No progress came from staying in your comfort zone
Once you know your triggers, you can do 1 of 2 things. You can either, avoid the situation which you know will make you anxious, OR, tackle it head-on. What I mean by tackle it head-on, is put yourself in that situation and learn how to deal with the anxiety you usually face. Personally, I feel that by avoiding the situation you are allowing the anxiety to win. You can get through that phase and overcome the fear you are feeling. But without putting yourself in that anxious situation you will never know how to deal with it, no matter how scary it is. If you can push yourself out of your comfort zone eventually you will be able to feel more at ease.
Now you hopefully know what your triggers are and can understand that you need to put yourself in uncomfortable situations to be able to progress. Slow and steady. I’m not saying that if you feel anxious in large groups of people just throw yourself into a group class, I’m saying slowly progress up to that stage. Maybe if you feel anxious about heading into London on a train, to start off, just get the train one stop in the London direction then head home. The next week, go for 2 stops and so on. Until you can get the train into London and straight back. Eventually, you’ll hopefully be able to get the train to London with no anxiety and have a wander around. It doesn’t matter how big the progression, small progression is better than none at all.
Do you overthink, making the anxiety worse?
I found that my anxiety would progressively worsen when my mind wouldn’t allow me to think of anything else. Taking your mind off of the situation and focus on something else can be hard but, not impossible. Focus on what you are doing right now, this very second. Think about reading this post and that’s all. Don’t think what you have to do tomorrow, or in a weeks time or even in an hour. Focusing on the now has helped manage my anxiety immensely. Instead of thinking about that situation you know will make you anxious, make a conscious effort to think of something else to take your mind off it. I used to sing nursery rhymes in my head, twinkle twinkle little star to be exact! It might sound crazy, but if it helps, it helps.
I also found that colouring and writing helped me personally. Writing down exactly how I felt at that present moment and why I was feeling that way if I knew. I didn’t always want people to talk to, even though now I realise how much talking actually helps. However, I understand that sometimes you don’t want everyone knowing you are suffering, you don’t want people to worry, so usually, you end up dealing with it on your own. Or what I found was that I didn’t want to worry people and cause them stress, so writing out a couple of paragraphs of how I was feeling was a way I could just let it all out! Colouring was another tool I used to help me take my mind off the problem at hand. Going back to something I did as a child without any worries.
Find something that works for you!
Not everything I have spoken about will help you. Some of it might, all of it might, or none of it might help you and that’s okay. We are all individual and deal with things differently. We all get anxiety just at different degrees and it affects everyone differently. I can’t express that enough. WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT. You have to find a way of dealing with anxiety which helps you and only you. It doesn’t matter how crazy it might seem, as long as you are keeping a healthy mind that’s the most important thing. Talk if you want to talk, write if you want to write, go for a run if that helps you. Do whatever you feel is the right thing to do.
If you have any questions about any of the above I have spoken about, do comment below! If you want to help someone struggling with anxiety get them to read this post and maybe have a look at some online information.