Dealing With Anxiety?

Discussion in 'The Fire Hydrant' started by sillysally, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. sillysally

    sillysally Obey the Toad.

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    Up until recently I was a bad binge eater. I ate to relieve stress, deal with difficult emotions, deal with anxiety--basically self medicating with food. I've decided that I don't want to live this way anymore--I'm tired of the physical and mental effects it's having on me.

    However, the binging was more of a crutch than I thought, because now that I have been following Weight Watchers for a little over a week I have had some major (for me at least) anxiety symptoms. I have OCD and that is in overdrive, I'll feel so anxious during the day at work that I'm yawning constantly and feel like I can't take a full breath, then I'm so worried about my breathing that it makes me more anxious. I've also ending up with headaches and weird stomach cramps that I think might be anxiety related as well. I do take meds, and I'm going to talk to my doctor about raising the dose when I see him on the 5th.

    This is really irritating and it makes me feel awful all day. Any tips on how I can at least reduce anxiety?
     
  2. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    Get as busy as possible, something required, like extra work. When left to my own devices I always revert. It's not ideal and not a cure but it is my method of averting from unhealthy behaviors associated with my anxiety. I've been great all week, no time or with Denis, but tomorrow I am alone all day with a day off and I know I'll have trouble.

    Maybe others have better suggestions on handling anxiety during down time but I always revert to the idle hands motto.

    Edit because I really do know the difference between idle and ideal, my phone however does not.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
  3. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    Double post... OCD? Me? Ha!
     
  4. meepitsmeagan

    meepitsmeagan Meagan & The Cattle Dog Crew

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    When I get anxious I clean.... It's kind of a win situation for me, though. I'm no help at all.
     
  5. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    I have some pretty bad anxiety. Have for forever. It's been to the point it is nearly crippling and I'd go into panic attacks where I couldn't breathe and was extremely claustrophobic

    It's gotten a lot better. 1. I left college, which means I left my biggest cause of stress. If you can figure out what your major stress factors are and can lessen them, that's great. Keeping busy is a very good thing too. Don't give my mind much time to wander. Meeting people/doing things I like. Taking the dogs for a walk. Happy music depending on what I'm anxious about.

    I also find exercise and eating well helps tremendously.
     
  6. sparks19

    sparks19 I'd rather be at Disney

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    Do you have a psychologist? Not a psychiatrist as they can prescribe meds but someone who is just about the mental part of it. Meds apparently aren't enough. If you could talk to someone who can deal with strictly the mental and physical handling and not just meds it may help. If you can talk to someone about the new health plan and your health issues and how to handle them
    And keep it under control.

    It seems to be more than just mind over matter and needs some suggestions beyond meds and more for coping with the new change
     
  7. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

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    As someone who can relate (dealt with an eating disorder/anxiety/OCD related issues) here are some things that helped.. I have picked these up from various therapists over the years lol

    - To-do lists/having an agenda. Writing things down, seeing my day in clear steps with check boxes of things to do and places I'm supposed to be.. it helps your brain GET IT. It's not just a mindless "OH GAH I DUNNO AND THIS AND THIS AND THIS" it's a physical list.. it's real. I know where I am, what I'm supposed to be doing, what needs to be done.

    Put easy things on your to-do lists, put non essential things, not high priority etc..
    Put the super important do it now things first of course, but pad "middle of the road" work with less important, less stressful things.

    EXAMPLE: when doing HW, I do things do the next day, and before starting reading that is due in 2 days, I clean my apartment, paint my nails, and walk Merlin. All things that could be done at ANY time but that I put there to get me some checkmarks that I could check off, easily.

    - Find a healthy distraction when you feel yourself going into, what I affectionately call, "the void" (that sense of pent up, stomach clenching, heart busting anxiety).. I like to do breathing exercises. I go to the bathroom, put on my ipod headphones and just BREATHE for an entire song. (I like enya) Know that you can escape, can take a few minutes, can get it together.

    - Keep busy but do not over-whelm yourself. I am not the best multi-tasker, I do much better by focusing on doing on thing well at a time, checking that off, and moving on, throughout the day. This works for me. If I have enough things to keep me going all day, everything is a whole lot better.

    - Take control of the things you can, and accept those you can't change.

    Stop freaking out over passed decisions, what ifs, possible outcomes.. I know, easier said than done. But say it over and over and over again in whatever way you find more appealing. Panicking will change nothing, it is a useless activity.

    - Turn unhappy thoughts in happy ones.
    Clicker training for your brain :) positive reinforcement!

    "I hate my job" = "I don't like my job very much today.. but it has taught me x, y, z and I have met y, z because of it"

    "MY GPA is awful"/"I am so fat" = "I am not defined by those numbers.. look at all the things I like about myself!"

    - Set aside crazy time.
    You heard me, crazy time (also very useful with a friend)

    10 minutes a day. Somewhere dark and alone. Scream, punch a pillow, RANT AND RAVE about EVERYTHING. WALLOW in your first world problems. Blast LOUD angry teenager music, tear some papers, stomp.

    Don't not hold back. Yell like a sullen teenager. Let your crazy feelings take the wheel
    "MY BOSS IS A JERK AND I SUCK AND I PROCRASTINATE AND I HAVE A PAPER DUE AND I DO NOT LIKE PICKLES AND I SHOULD HAVE CALLED HIM AND I HATE EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE!"

    Set an alarm. Let er rip. Take a long shower.. move on with your day.

    - Breathe.
    I know this sounds like some crazy psycho babble but trust me on this. Deep breathing fixes most things

    - Sleep more.
    Try to get as many as you can. Tired anxious people are even crazier than regular anxious people.

    - Do not find a pacifier. Eating was one, and no matter how "healthy" another may seem.. it is just that, a bandaid, you aren't dealing with the root of what is making you upset and that right there, is unhealthy.

    Do not confuse a pacifier with a destresser. Working out, exercise, deep breathing.. these are activities that through endorphins and oxygen, physically calm you down.

    Pacifiers are mental. Lip picking, eating, scratching, hair pulling, nail biting.. they are self pacifying behaviors.

    - Exercise.
    When I started running was when I found an escape from being an anxious mess. Endorphins, a tired body, pounding the pavement, clearing my head, deep breathing.. it is anxieties worst nightmare in a pair of running shoes.

    - Don't skip meals. Eat regularly.
    Big dips in blood sugars lead to sugar crashes and hyper active moods. Highs and lows. Not good.

    - Sex.
    Self explanatory. Sex with yourself, sex with others.. it's like an endorphin cocktail.

    - Smile.
    Trick your body into actually being pleasant. It works.

    - AFFIRMATIONS.
    These sound crazy, but let me tell you.. they are oddly comforting.

    Mine is "I am happy. I am strong. I am just right. Everything will be ok. I will calm down."
    Say it again and again and again

    - Find a hand toy.
    Idle hands and all.
    My personal favorite?
    [​IMG]

    It shifts your focus, there is no winning or losing, it is a squishy relaxer. Plus it smells of childhood.

    - The happy book
    Oh god, cant believe I've saved this puppy for last.
    Get a notebook. I like composition notebooks because they are cheap and unassuming (I am threatening by fancy journals) or a blog
    Fill it with things you love. Things that make you smile. Funny things that happen on the train. Tape the starbucks cup holder where the guy wrote "Sparkles" instead of your actual name. Spray that perfume you love.

    Write down everything you are happy about. When you are happy about it. From long paragraphs about your parents to "The last french fry at the bottom of the bag"
    There is no bad/sad talk allowed in the happy book.
    Write things you love about yourself, about your favorite tv show, quotes from your favorite book.

    Try to take it everywhere if you can.
    When in doubt, pull it out. Smell it, write in it, read it..

    - The blog
    Like your happy book except you can add video/pictures. Fill it with things you love in an easy format. Especially useful when you need to just look at things that you love and not think about your evil boss or work pressures.

    Here is mine: http://justfransheska.tumblr.com/
    and a better one:http://try-to-stay-positive.tumblr.com/

    - Find what is making you anxious. If you can change it.. do.

    - Last but not least.. a good therapist. Shop around.

    - Also, a good psychiatrist. And some awesome meds. Do not be ashamed to admit you need help.
     
  8. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    Fran has a lot of good advice.

    Don't be afraid of medication if you need it to smooth the edges. Eventually as you re-train your thought processes and mental muscle memory you may be able to reduce or eliminate it.

    The other thing I sometimes do is just tell myself over and over stuff along the lines of "This isn't going to last, you won't feel like this forever" almost like Fran's affirmations, or a mantra. And I agree 100% with the breathing. I find the sound of my breath incredibly calming at times so I try to sit or lie down somewhere quiet where I can just breathe and listen to myself breathe.

    Also, laughing. Tonight I was struggling with some anxiety myself and just clicked around Buzzfeed looking at ridiculous pictures and laughing at them. It's amazing how much it can help.
     
  9. Fran101

    Fran101 Resident fainting goat

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  10. Dakotah

    Dakotah Kotah BEAR

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    If anyone is in doubt, ask Fran.
    Fran that is seriously one of the best posts I've ever seen from you so :hail:

    I have gotten to were my anxiety is kicking back up again and has been in the last 2 weeks and its TERRIBLE. I agree with ALL of Fran's post.

    I definitely agree with the 10 min down time and just SCREAMING. Seriously screaming helps me. Deep breaths help me. Even drinking a nice cup of coffee while smoking a cig (do not smoke! I am trying to quit but it is very hard) while standing outside in the cold helps me a LOT.

    Again, when in doubt, ask Fran.

    ETA: I am SOOOOO doing the happy book! I've never thought of that and just re-reading that part in your post made me smile. Awesome, amazing idea.

    ETA again: Also if you are like me and are on your phone 99% of the day and you use it for EVERYTHING. Find happy pics or quotes on Google, pinterest, etc from your phone and save them. I change my wallpaper sometimes three times a day from a happy picture of tiger babies playing in the snow to a quote i love to an eagle flying high in the sky to a delicious cup of coffee, etc etc. Its soothing to me to see things I love everytime I unlock my phone.
     
  11. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    I suffer from major anxiety/panic disorder ( as well as bipolar and EDNOS). I tried all the methods everyone above listed, but none of them worked for me very well or long term.

    Now I'm in DBT (dialectic behavioral therapy), and I'm so much better. You can google and read up on some of the exercises and skills used there. They're on a lot of mindfulness and recovery sites:

    Surf the urge
    Observe and describe/be in the moment
    Opposite action (which will eventually lessen anxiety induced by situations or tasks and help with binge eating)
    Distracting

    It will also help to identify triggers, everything from food (caffeine, sugar, or hunger) to certain thoughts. If you realize the anxiety worsens when you have a thought and it snowballs, it's easier to change your thinking pattern or realize the thoughts are not rational. Look up mindfulness exercises, which teaches you how to change your thoughts so you're not ruminating or getting caught up in the emotion of fear/anxiety.
     

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