Monday, August 23, 2010

Anxiety, the Fear, Loathing and Distraction

I have had anxiety for about 10 years now. It has a massive stigma attached to it. Some people don't understand this mental illness. For me sometimes it's not there at all, I can go months without feeling the extreme anxiety, and only feel the healthy anxiety everyone gets. Other times I am so overwhelmed by it, that it makes me so upset.

I have chosen to not take any medication for it. I know that most people think that this is irresponsible, but I need to learn to cope with this debilitating form of mental illness on my own terms. Otherwise I will have this illness, with no way of coping for the rest of my life.

I choose to use mindfulness and lots of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, aka CBT.

I have also started to like using meditation. I got into this months ago, but it has taken me a while to understand it. I don't practice daily, and I only sometimes use Cd's to help me. Most of the time I prefer to meditate on my own. Go somewhere quiet, and just sit there, take in my environment around me. Observe the world. Recently I have taken to going to the beach, I have so many photo's to prove this! I love to just sit there, even in the cold and just listen to the waves, the birds, and whatever else pops up. But I try not to listen to my internal self. Just observe. This fills me with a sense of calm and peace. I find myself walking back from the beach with a big smile on my face, and I can't help saying 'hello' to total strangers.

Anyone that has anxiety and panic attacks, knows how individual they are. Everyone has their own symptoms, and triggers. I know many that can't even talk about these things, for fear that it triggers an attack! I used to be like this. I would bury my head 'in the sand' and hope that the whole world would just disappear. But now I feel like I can't stop talking about it!

I have wanted to start a support group for a while now, but all my fears stop me. I would love to get together with people, that also suffer from this condition to go for walks, and to talk to people that will understand and help alleviate some of the loneliness. No matter how many people you tell, even your loved ones, they will never understand, the fear and loathing, unless they have had anxiety or had a panic attack.

This is such a lonely way to live, to close yourself off from the hurtful and hateful world. I am constantly thinking, 'why am I so lonely?' I don't want to be, so why am I?

I think by now I know my triggers. However, I also know what helps me feel better. It doesn't always work for me, but the times that it does I am so grateful and happy. The biggest help is distracting myself. I can't endorse this enough, no matter what this usually helps.

Playing my ipod: really loud. Put on your favourite album, at the moment mine is Angus and Julia Stone's Down the Way, and play it loud! Sing and dance to your hearts content! Even if it is sad music, if you love it that's what matters. I go everywhere with my ipod, just in case I need it.
Talking to people: even if it is only via IM,
Cooking: I'm known for tackling complicated recipes! Or things that will take me all day. I love making all sorts of stuff now from scratch. And knowing what is in my food. And I believe that the health benefit from this is extraordinary.
Cleaning: yes cleaning haha! If I'm especially bad my house will be spotless!
Anything that involves thinking about something completely, and will consume you. I love puzzles for this. I have found some great sites online. One that I use is it is silly but helps me to focus on something other than fear and anxiety.
T.V. with my hubby. We have a great laugh sometimes, and usually at nothing in particular, we have lots of in jokes.
Meditation: I have tried to incorporate meditation in to my life as much as possible. Even if it is only a few minutes to take time to listen to the world around me. I feel so good afterwards I wonder why I never did this earlier.

These are just are few things that I do to help me. I hope that this helps someone with the same problem. Please feel free to contact me if you wish. Also if you see a woman walking along the beach, possibly singing to her ipod, it could be me, so at least smile back.....It'll make her day at least.

Whatever fear says, nothing can destroy me. When people fall they don't break, they bounce. Change is inevitable. Resisting it doesn't work. Deepak Chopra

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