Coping with Anxiety

Source: Hilly Turner Source: Hilly Turner

(Content warning: anxiety, mental health)

Recently I’ve been looking back over my resources from my CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) sessions in hopes to find something to help me cope with my anxiety. They’re all methods I’ve tried before, such as listening to calming music, imagining I’m somewhere nice and safe or breathing techniques, but I feel desperate and I want them to work. I NEED them to. Whilst looking through my resources I thought about something my nan suggested to me, a diary.

I’ve tried writing a diary before and it just wasn’t for me, I never knew what to write. My life didn’t seem interesting enough. But I came at it from a new angle, a different perspective. A thought log. Whenever I’m panicking, feel as though I’m about to panic or even after I’ve suffered a panic attack, I write down what I’m thinking and how I feel. Now this isn’t easy, thoughts are racing around inside my head and it’s difficult to calm them down. But I’m trying and so far I’m liking it. It doesn’t always make me feel better but I enjoy to read it afterwards to try and gain some understanding as to why I’m feeling the way I feel. I thought I’d share an extract from my thought log:

‘Been panicking for around 10-15 minutes now. Managed to calm down a bit and control my breathing by focusing on my breathing technique and trying to use YouTube as a distraction. All I keep thinking is that I can’t cope. With anything. I can’t go out with my friends without freaking out, I can’t cope with all the university work and the more I push it to the side the more it just builds up and I just generally feel like a failure. I know some things in life are difficult but why is it that everyone else seems to be able to cope with them a hell of a lot better than I can? Things shouldn’t be this hard, surely? I wish I could just curl up into my bed and stay there forever, not having to worry about anything or anyone. Of course this is ridiculous and there is no way I can do this and I’m sure others wish they could do it too. I know I’m not alone in feeling like this but that doesn’t make me feel any better, it doesn’t make me feel less pathetic. I’m hypercritical, I own up to it, because when someone else comes to me with their problems, sometimes similar to mine and others times completely different, I tell them they aren’t pathetic and that sometimes things just get too much for us and that just makes us human. Unfortunately, I can’t listen to my own words. They feel like lies to me. I’m very lucky to have the life I live; I have an amazing and supporting family, great friends, a boyfriend who loves me even when I treat him like shit, financially I’m ok, I’m at a good university and on my way to a possibly good career. All in all my life is 10/10. This just makes me feel even worse in times like this. What gives me the right to feel so shit when I have such a great life compared to others out there who have nothing? Once again it brings me right back to feeling pathetic. I thought writing down my feelings would help, but it just seems to emphasize how stupid they are. Though at the same time I’m no longer panicking, so maybe it does help. I suppose it helps to rationalise my thoughts a bit and put them into some sort of order instead of them constantly jumping around inside my head, crashing into one another. I need to take a step back, look at everything from someone else’s point of view and realise that having days like this doesn’t mean I’m weak. I can do this.’

There are many methods to help you cope with anxiety, try them and experiment until you find something that works for you. You can use art, music, distract yourself with games or the TV, do breathing exercises or buy a calming music CD. Just keep trying and searching for ideas.

Some useful sites/resources that might be able to help:

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/anxiety-and-panic-attacks/#.VwVOlqQrLIU

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Anxiety/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.moodjuice.scot.nhs.uk/anxiety.asp

If you know of any more sites or ideas that could help, please leave them in the comments.

 

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