Anxiety Management

Anxiety management is something I have been trying to learn for about 4 years now. And I still struggle with it daily. I am not completely sure yet what works best but some exercises I have learned work well in certain situations.

I used to release my severe stress and anxiety in unhealthy ways I would rather not mention (though people who also deal with anxiety attacks as regularly as I did could probably guess what my outlet was). In fact, it got so bad that I had stopped eating,  pretty much never left my room because I was too scared of, well, the world, people, and place, just everything. The thought of going anywhere and having to interact with actual humans made me want to puke (which is what led to the lack of eating).

I was scared and it was getting to the point where I could not see any light at the end of the tunnel. The outlook for my future was bleak through my eyes. I saw nothing of myself. I thought I was nothing. The severe anxiety my mind was forcing me to suffer through every day was making me depressed and that scared me even more, so I finally told my mom.

She was obviously heartbroken, for which I hated myself, but I knew it’s what I had to do if I wanted to keep from killing myself. She took me to my first therapist and literally all he taught me was uplifting and breathing exercises for me to practice.

I didn’t know this then, because it wasn’t helping me at all at the time, but now I use the exercises often now, as they do calm me down. Eventually I stopped going to him because the anxiety attacks refused to cease. It was driving me even crazier than before because what was supposed to make me better was not working. So I went to a different doctor, this time an actual psychiatrist. She prescribed Zoloft. But that’s not what this is about.

I am trying to share the different things I try to do to calm my self down from anxiety and anxiety attacks, because I know there are several students here at George Ranch and people all over the world that suffer from severe anxiety just as I do. They probably don’t like discussing the anxiety problems; I know I never have. But today I decided to face my anxiety, because I want to help people as much as I can.

The first thing I learned in handling anxiety is breathing techniques. I  hated these at first, I thought they were stupid and that there was no way slow breathing would help my mind from spiraling out of control. But somehow it does. If you focus on nothing but slow deep breaths not only do they take away the hyperventilation but they also cause you to stop thinking about the anxiety so much.

Now, that doesn’t always work for me, so another healthy outlet is exercising. Doing jumping jacks will help your breathing patterns and heart rate and get your mind straight again. You don’t have to do just jumping jacks if you don’t want to. You can choose any exercise you want. I just think they are the quickest, easiest things to do.

Another helpful idea is to focus all of your mind on something you love, like a hobby or a person. Whatever makes you happy. Painting, playing the guitar, basically focusing on anything fun that can get your mind off the endless anxiety.

This always helps me a lot; usually I’ll get a piece of paper and try to write down everything on my mind, and eventually when it’s all out there I no longer have so much anxiety about it, and I feel more calm about the situation.

These outlets may not work for everyone, but I just wanted to share because they work for me. I understand what anxiety feels like and would love to be the reason someone, anyone, gets control.