Anxiety

13 10 2010

Anxiety is a really strange monster. It’s intense, overwhelming and all-consuming. No matter what you do, it continues to build. As it’s building, there are frantic attempts to make it stop. Sometimes, this is purging. Sometimes, it’s self-injury. Sometimes, it’s exercising. Sometimes, it’s a drug. Sometimes, it’s music and pacing. Whatever the case may be (outside of purging, which acts as a drug and actual drugs, such as Klonopin or Ativan), nothing is really effective in STOPPING or LOWERING anxiety.

At this point, I expect many of you went “That’s not true! When I do blah blah blah” the anxiety goes away.”

However, consider that point. When you’re pacing/listening to music/rocking back and forth/crying/running/watching a movie, what’s really happening?

Time is passing. Outside of drugs, time is the only things that truly lessens anxiety. It will build, it will reach a peak and then slowly, it will taper off. Here are some things to remember:

  • Anxiety is just a feeling. You don’t have to *do* anything about it.
  • It will go away. It’s impossible to stay at the peak of anything forever. By the very definition, “peak” is a physical or emotional pinnacle. Once it gets as bad as it can get, it’ll get better.
  • Pick safe activities. Remember the key here is TIME. So, while time is passing, pick a safe activity. Play a board game. Watch a funny movie. If it’s allowed by your treatment plan, take a walk with a safe person. Whatever you do, don’t isolate yourself. ED and Sia have a funny way of worming into your brain when you’re by yourself.
  • Focus on something other than what you feel. Give the dog a bath. Braid your sister’s hair. Focus on your breath. The funny thing about breath is that your thoughts influence your breathing (when you get all worked up, your breath is fast and jerky) but your breath can also influence your thoughts! Calm your breathing consciously and eventually, your thoughts will calm as well.
  • Know that the more you do something, the less anxious it will make you. This is a desensitization process. Facing your fear and winning has a strange way of making anxiety see that there’s no reason for it to hang around.
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