Right around the time I met Sean my grandfather passed away. His death was really hard for me. This was when I realized I have anxiety . My grandfather and I were really close, I was there when he passed. It was the first time I had seen someone die, and his death broke my heart. As Sean and I started dating, the grieving process got easier, but I still had a lot of nightmares about my grandfather’s death.
At the end of that year, Sean and I got engaged and started planning our wedding. I started to have a lot of anxiety about being the center of attention and I was still dealing with the loss of my grandfather. A friend suggested I see her psychiatrist. I wasn’t sure if that was the route I wanted to take, but I was feeling really overwhelmed and not sleeping. I called my insurance company and then made an appointment with the doctor.
The doctor I saw was incredibly nice and so helpful. He talked to melike a person, and made me feel very comfortable. I saw him over the next year with dealing with my wedding. Through medication and talking about how I was feeling really helped my situation. A couple of years later when I started getting sick, my anxiety increased into something I couldn’t control. We tried several medications until we found out what worked for me. This is key for anyone with anxiety and depression. If you start medication, you need to be clear, transparent, and upfront with your doctor. My anxiety started getting worse and worse, and I started going through a deep depression.
My vocal chords were not working properly, I had to quit my job, and we had moved in with my in-laws. On top of all of that, I was going to doctor after doctor and test after test. It was no wonder I was depressed. Before I had my nissen fundoplication surgery, my anxiety was so bad that I started getting tremors that would not stop. We actually had to increase the dosage of my medicine and I started taking more medications. It was awful. All I wanted to do was sleep because of the medication, but the medication was helping.
I was not driving very much because my doctors were afraid that I could pass out while driving. I was basically home bound unless someone was taking me somewhere, and I really felt like I was going crazy, if I wasn’t already there. My doctors reassured me that what I was feeling was normal, but I had to do something to help myself.
I want to share some things that I have learned to do to help with my anxiety. I am actual on a very small dosage of medication now and feel so much better.
Accept that you have anxiety. You are normal.
This concept was hard for me at first. How can feeling completely overwhelmed and out of control be normal? With anxiety your brain never seems to shut off and sometimes thoughts don’t seem rational.
I have worked out a deal with my husband, if I start to act anxious and I don’t realize it, he needs to tell me. This actually happened a few days ago. I was cooking. My husband was usually in the kitchen with me. We like to do things together. He was about 2 feet from me watching me, and I couldn’t handle it. I had to walk away and take a deep breath and realize that he wasn’t doing anything wrong. I don’t know what it was about that moment but he was too close to my personal space. Is this irrational? Probably, but when you have anxiety, unfortunately things like this will happen.
Overtime you will learn what triggers your anxiety. For me there are two major things, social anxiety and confrontation. I do have my good days and bad, but I have to remember that I am still a normal human being.
One of the first things I do when I start feeling anxious is to take really deep breaths. This lowers my heart rate and helps me focus. Meditating helps as well. On my Fitbit Versa there is an option that allows you to go through a breathing exercise and will tell you how you are doing. When I start to feel overwhelmed I will tap on the feature and go through the 3 minute breathing routine.
Step out of the Situation.
Stepping out of the situation can help get my brain refocused. This may be as easy as walking away, taking a breath and going back. Getting out of a situation may need to be more drastic. Changing jobs, moving, or getting rid of negative relationships may be necessary. If you are in a situation that is causing you constant anxiety, you may need to completely remove yourself. You have to determine what is best for you and your mental health.
Take A Walk.
Taking a walk, exercising, doing yoga, these are all things that will help with anxiety. They go hand and hand with stepping out of the situation and breathing. I like to take the dogs for a walk or just get outside in fresh air helps clear my mind and calms me down.
Declutter. This one is huge! I get even more overwhelmed when clutter is around me and have to clear my space to survive. When I am in a cluttered space, I find that my anxiety builds quickly and I become very moody. I like things to have a place. I took a course and decluttered our house. What a difference that made. Things that we received 10 years ago and never used, I donated it or sold it. We cleared out boxes of things out of our house. It was such a relief to have rooms without clutter.
I also learned during this process that staring at rooms of stuff I needed to go through negatively affected me. So Instead of looking at a whole room at a time, I boxed everything up and went through one box at a time. I put the things we were keeping where they belonged and reaped the benefits of my success. This brings me to my next tip —
Make small goals, not big ones.
Whenever we look at a big goal it can be very stressful to think about all of the steps it will take to complete that goal. The best thing to do is make small goals to get yourself to reach the big ones. For example, if you are trying to lose 50 pounds, break your goals into 5 or 10 pound increments and congratulate yourself on those little victories. You will feel accomplished for achieving the smaller goal without being anxious looking at how long it takes to reach that larger goal.
Find a passion.
This was another big step for me. I was home, sick, couldn’t talk and had nothing to do but be anxious and depressed. I started scrapbooking, which turned into homemade card making. It is something I can do that uses my creativity, I am proud of my finished work, and it takes my mind off everything I have going on.
This is another reason I started blogging. I can blog in my pajamas, when I want, even in the middle of the night if I can’t sleep. I am focused on what I am writing about and even sharing my thoughts helps relieve my anxiety. This again leads me to my next tip–
Find someone to talk to.
Talk to a friend, talk to your doctor, talk to your spouse, or even talk to a counselor. Talking to someone helps relieve that stress. Even keeping a journal, or writing down your thoughts will decrease your anxiety level. Getting the frustration and brain running thoughts out is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Get a pet.
I know that this one isn’t feasible for everyone, but there is research saying petting a dog or cat lowers blood pressure. If that isn’t reason enough, they help cover some of the tips that I’ve already shared. At least with having a dog, I have a reason to take a walk.. I have someone to talk to, and they often don’t talk back. I have something I’m passionate about. i love my dogs and they bring me so much joy. Within a couple of months of getting Toby, my stress level had decreased and I was a lot happier. Plus, don’t forget the cuteness!