Hi there, My name is Johnnielynn, I struggle with anxiety. It’s mostly social, but also I’ve noticed a lot of general anxiety as well. When I was 14 they finally figured out what was wrong with me. I was medicated throughout highschool, but I didn’t like it. I hated that I needed the medicine, I hated the side effects, and I hated how I felt when I missed a few pills. So when I became an adult I chose to take myself off of them. 4 years on mood stabilizers didn’t cure my anxiety. If I wanted to stay off of them I had to learn how to function while coping with anxiety.
Now Disclaimer I am not a therapist. I am in no way qualified to teach anyone how to deal, and I am definitely not telling you to go off of medication without consulting your doctor. I am however going to share with you what works for me, and how I deal with my struggles.
Coping with anxiety
The first thing I found that helped me was my childhood cat. Angel was real good at knowing when my anxiety was acting up, and she would come and lay on my chest. With out me realizing I would match my breathing to hers and my heart would slow back down until I can sleep again. After a few years I’d realized that if I can slow my heart, and my breathing I can work through my panic attacks. I imagine this would work with anyone or anything with calm breathing and a calm heartbeat, hold them close and match their breathing.
Distractions. When My thoughts are overwhelming like they often do I look for something to distract myself. Usually I go to Netflix and turn on glee. Musicals make me happy, and the show is pretty busy. Plus Darren Criss is a nice bonus. Another good distraction is books. They will occupy your hands, eyes, and thoughts. They’re also good at putting you into someone else’s world, so you can forget about your troubles.
I’d adopted the theory, if it makes me happy and doesn’t hurt anyone then I’m going to do it. I am a very neutral person, So when I find something that sparks and makes me happy I do it. No matter what it is along as it doesn’t hurt anyone. I don’t care that I’m a 33 year old adult, I’m getting the heart shape sunglasses. Im gonna walk around with a sea shell shaped purse that doesn’t hold anything practical. I fully support playing in the rain, swimming in your clothes, and making wishes on dandelions.
Sorting thoughts; I keep my thoughts under tight control. There are three categories I put them in, Anxious thoughts, Valid thoughts, and defensive thoughts. Anxious thoughts are easy to spot, they’re the negative ones, the ones full of doubt and the loudest ones. Valid thoughts, and the ones that make sense, they’re also the quietest ones. Then I have the defensive ones, they help protect from the anxious thoughts, they’re random, silly and impulsive, Like “how long can I cuddle [killer animal] before it eats me”
I still have work to do…
I am in no way cured from my anxiety disorder. Honestly I don’t think I ever will, I was born anxious. Thats ok though. I’m ok with my mental health struggles. I am coping with anxiety enough that I can function. That way I don’t miss out on anything, especially anything with my family. It might take an entire day to recover from the big panic attacks; but it’s ok to take a day to care for yourself.
Because I am always looking for new coping methods please tell me how you cope. And send this to a friend who might need help coping.