Something I will say about mental health is that there is no quick fix. Whether you are treated using medication or therapy, it is a work in progress.
Some sufferers of anxiety will have it for a short time. For example, those with anxiety around a particular situation such as not enjoying their job or struggling with money. For others, it can be a long term problem which may never fully be treated.
However, the good news is that there are ways of managing symptoms, which can help you to live life to the full.
Personally, I went through the counselling route first. I started with cognitive behaviour therapy which includes exposing yourself to your anxiety triggers until they stop being triggers. It also teaches you ways to manage your symptoms through breathing techniques, thought processes and mapping your symptoms so you are prepared.
This didn’t work for me, so I then went to a counsellor/psychotherapist and she has been amazing for me. She’s been going back as far as my childhood to uncover where certain behaviours started and enables me to think differently about certain things. I have found this to be the most successful process so far as it’s allowed me to see things more rationally.
Alongside counselling I am also on anti-depressants and propranolol. It’s early days with the medication but I am hoping that a combination of these and the counselling will get me to a happier place!
Aside from counselling and help from the GP there are also management tips which you can do at home to help you feel less anxious.
The biggest one for me is extremely cliche but honestly, it works (for me at least) and that is going for a walk. It’s not the exercise so much but just to be out in the fresh air and be moving helps to distract my brain from the negative voices that I hear so often. Not only does it distract the thoughts, it gives somewhere for the anxious energy to go. You know what I’m talking about, restless legs, being jumpy, the feeling wired as if you’ve had 10 lattes. It just gives somewhere for that extra adrenaline to go.
Having down time! Take some time out to do something focused but also relaxing. My favourite thing to do is some adult colouring. There are so many adult colouring books out there such as animals, nature and my fave, soothing patterns. This activity forces you to concentrate on the colouring and not negative thoughts.
Talking to friends or family is a great help – a problem shared is a problem halved! Letting them know that you’re feeling particularly anxious means you don’t have to suffer in silence and it takes away the expectation on you to be happy or ‘pretend’ you’re okay.
Have a pity party! Sometimes, you just have to accept that you feel like crap and you’re miserable. Let yourself be that way! Put on a movie or play a game that distracts you or read a good book and just wallow. Often, I’ll have a day of wallowing with a cup of tea and by the end of the day, I feel better. I don’t feel exhausted from pretending to be happy. It’s okay to not feel okay. Even people without anxiety have rubbish days – so just own it.
The last bit of advice I have, is to drink loads of water. Being dehydrated can make you feel low, tired and on edge. I often find that after having a few glasses of water, I perk right up! Making an effort to look after yourself is hard when you’re constantly anxious, but it is so important to keep routines and make sure you feel physically well in order to deal with your mental state.
I hope some of these techniques help you, and please don’t hesitate to message me if you need a chat!