There are many times in our lives where we feel anxious. Just like happiness, anger, or sadness; anxiety is a normal emotion that is felt throughout life. For some people however, the feeling of anxiety seems to be present in the most unconventional situations. Everyone has a different experience when it comes to anxiety disorders; some people have triggers, others do not, some people have things that are able to calm themselves down or distract them while for other people nothing seems to work, etcetera.
Personally, I feel as if anxiety disorders are often “downplayed.”Anxiety disorders have the ability to infiltrate one’s normal life and make daily tasks extremely difficult to manage. For instance, I have had great difficulty in the past when going into areas where there were large groups of strangers. Anytime I had to go to the library or local coffee shop to get some work done for school, it required me to get there incredibly early to ensure that I was able to get the same table that I always sit at and a great deal of self encouragement to even get out of the car.
The fact that anxiety disorders can turn simple tasks and things that should be enjoyable into miserable, laborious experiences is something that other people often overlook. Unfortunately for most people who suffer from anxiety disorders, there is no “magic cure.” It just becomes something that we learn to live with and hopefully cope with effectively. There are some things however, that have helped me personally in the past and could benefit others who suffer from anxiety disorders.
One of the biggest things for me is my diet. There are some foods that are associated with exacerbating anxiety symptoms. A lifestyle choice that I made because of this is that I limit my caffeine intake, especially when I am in an environment that could be triggering for my anxiety such as a busy coffee shop. Getting into a routine is another thing that helps me. I do the same things every night before bed which is something that definitely helps me when concerning falling asleep. I also keep a notebook beside my bed in order to write down any thoughts, worries, or concerns that plague my mind in the 10 minutes or so before falling asleep.
The final major thing that I have done to reduce my anxiety symptoms on my own is to communicate openly with others in my life about how I am feeling and if/how they can assist me in any way. Although it may be difficult to verbalize how you are feeling, the people close to ultimately just want to help you in any way that they can. For example, if you know that a warm cup of tea helps you calm down a bit, tell those close to you that! There is no reason to be ashamed of your mental illness. There are always people there who wish to help you in any way possible. If you need additional help, don’t hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat online.