This is just a little post about some things I do to help with the anxiety. Most of these I started during the breakdown last year but I still use them because they keep me calm. I can’t say which I started first because I can barely recall anything but the terror from that time.
Driving on side streets. I was driving home from work one night. The street I take is a 50mph street. I decided to take the street one block over which is 25mph. I’ve been driving that way ever since. I try to avoid the freeway unless it’s truly the fastest and shortest way. There are times I still take the faster roads, but in the middle of the breakdown, I did not. I took the slowest way there, I just left a little earlier. It was far less stressful.
Dedicated classroom journal. I generally use Drive for my journaling because I can access it anywhere, except in class or at work. This was a huge problem for me during the breakdown because I use my journal to write the frantic thoughts that distract me. I bought a small journal that I can keep open on my desk. This began at work, because that was one of my worst places, mostly because I am a Math tutor and I couldn’t even remember basic math at the time. I take it to all my classes, but I still use it mostly at work. I sit in the back and it looks, I hope, like I’m taking notes studiously. 🙂
Ignoring time tested school advice. I no longer sit in the front of the class room. Never. At all. Unless I’m forced to because the teacher moves us into groups. I sit as close to the door as possible. It makes me feel safer for whatever reason my brain has decided. I deviated slightly on where I sit this summer because I knew the professor very well and trusted her. I also do not always answer questions or ask them. I know, that’s supposed to be so helpful, but I’d rather ask later, or look it up myself, because if I speak in class, I will later have horrible anxiety about it. Lit class is the worst. It’s kinda important to participate but I completely lose it later when I do. I start to examine how everything I said could be interpreted poorly and how negatively everyone now views me, etc. So, in general, I try to remain quiet.
Structure and order. This has always been a difficult one for me. I love it, but my mother and ex did their own things to make it impossible. I’ve slowly begun to get things in better order. I do try to not freak out too much when the kids don’t because that will just add to the stress. It is a balance since I am not the only person involved in how things are in the house.
Music. I have always used music to help me, but during the breakdown, I had to listen to the type of music I never would normally. Fortunately, Spotify makes it possible to change music styles without spending tons of money on new music. I started listening to things like their “Calm Vibes” playlist and working my way out from there. A few weeks ago I learned something new about myself and music. When the anxiety is severe, I have to listen to the “calming” music. But when the depression is severe, that makes it worse and I have to listen to my normal music like Pink and Imagine Dragons and Springsteen. Those are my faves.
Those are just a few of the things I have done to help me recover and fight the anxiety and depression. You will note that I did not include everyone’s apparent fave: Meditation. That is because meditation actually increases my anxiety to a horrible and uncontrollable level. I am not the only person with this problem so if you have severe anxiety and suicidal ideation, be very cautious when using meditation. It’s the current cure-all, but it has not been studied enough to see that there can be extremely negative side effects.