I have anxiety. Specifically diagnosed as high-functioning anxiety, but anxiety regardless. I’m trying to be as open I can about the entire process and have posted a video all about my journey so far, but there are a ton of questions about what exactly I do to manage it.
First and foremost, I see a therapist once a week. I do plan on cutting it back to every two weeks, but starting therapy did serious wonders for my anxiety. I’ve noticed more than anything, it’s helped me to become aware of the various stages of my anxiety that leads to panic attacks. Awareness helps me acknowledge what’s happening sooner, to help me start to try and come back from it sooner. If you take anything away from this post, definitely consider going to therapy.
When it comes to doing things at home though, I have a few tricks. When I feel myself being particularly anxious, I try to switch up what I’m doing. A lot of the time what I’m working on is giving me stress, so I try to take a break from what I’m working on to focus on something else and come back to it. Usually I’m able to work out of the mood rather than trying to force myself through it.
I also communicate to my husband Alex as soon as I start feeling the signs of a panic attack coming. He’s my best defense for anxiety and the sooner he knows what’s going on with me, the better. He helps distract me, tells me things will be ok, and works me through a panic attack if it does happen.
Social media plays a huge impact on my stress and anxiety levels. Although I can’t avoid it completely because of my job, I don’t look at it when I wake up or before I go to sleep. This helps to keep my mind from wandering to unhealthy places at two very anxiety-prone times of the day.
When a panic attack feels particularly imminent, I stop everything I’m doing, wrap myself up in a blanket, and watch a drama-free show (usually the Office). It’s hard for me to just stop working and do this “lazy” action, but it helps me to avoid a panic attack that could ruin a good couple of days. I rather be “out of commission” for a few hours rather than a few days.
It’s definitely a learning process. My anxiety and panic attacks are constantly changing and adapting and I’m always trying to find the best ways to deal with them in a healthy, thoughtful way. I’d love to hear what your methods are when you find yourself in a thought spiral.