Anxiety Combat - Be a Warrior not a Worrier

Friday, January 19, 2018

I don't know about you, but I have been under the impression that "we all have our days"...if not, then my friends must just be trying to make me feel better when I temporarily lose my mind. This isn't me being insensitive, but me trying to shed some sort of humourous light on my diagnosed anxiety disorder. You might notice - in other blog posts - I have a tendency to refer to myself as crazy, as I have accepted the fact that I have a chemical imbalance that may make me seem that way to others.

I was terrified of my, now, husband finding out I am a little far from "normal". The idea of him being around to witness one of my unforgettable panic attacks, was one I dreaded. And when it was terrible! The poor guy had no idea how to calm me down... It has been five years, and quite a few sleepless nights since he witnessed one of my panic attacks for the first time. And let me tell you, he has become unbelievably helpful when my anxiety becomes too much for my brain to handle.

I guess you could say he has mastered the art of anxiety combat. But I digress.

Since being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, I have become far more in tune with myself and understanding what sheds the most light on my - what I like to call - "off days". I have learned how to recognize when my anxiety is heightened, and when all of the things that may seem like the end of days is just a normal Monday. When I feel the urge to cry, scream, and beg for a hug (all at the same time), it is most likely my body saying "hey, you have me way too stressed out and you need to give me a little extra attention today".... Needless to say, I have had many long talks with myself on just how to feel happy during these times.

If you can understand all of this nonsense, you have, most likely, had a similar talk with yourself...we should be friends!

I believe I was put on this Earth, and given this hint of crazy, to help others. That is what this post is all about. I have had my share of panic attacks and tried so many things to help myself either calm down, or prevent an attack from coming in full-force. Thankfully, my husband entered my life and helped me discover some of the following tips!

A Calming Embrace - I have found that when I feel like bursting into angry, emotional, nonsensical tears, being embraced is a WONDERFUL thing! And guess does not need to be a physical embrace. While I am more than willing to give any stranger a hug, not all people may feel so willing. There are other methods that give you a similar, just as calming, feeling. The first thing I have to suggest - while it may gross some of you out - is a bath. This is one tip my husband helped me discover, because I previously hated baths! Let's be honest, the idea of floating in your own dirty water does not sound appealing. Or so I thought. I was mid panic attack when my husband told me to wait and walked away from me...this only made me more upset until I discovered what he was doing. He had the idea to draw me a hot bubble bath and light some candles.
As gross as I thought baths were, I was willing to try anything. I got in the bathtub and instantly began calming down. The feeling of being entirely engulfed by something warm was incredible! I wasn't thinking about the fact that I was in a bathtub...honestly, I wasn't thinking about much (my brain was a jumbled mess of mush). Since that day, when I feel an especially heightened sense of emotion coming on, I draw a hot bubble bath and submerge myself in this form of liquid calm.

If baths still aren't for you, don't worry, I have an even better solution. My favorite form of non-human embrace is my weighted blanket! I call it my anxiety blanket...for obvious reasons. You'll notice, if you click on the link, that it says it is good for "Anxiety, ADHD, Autism, [and] OCD". I am clearly not the first person to recognize the benefits of being embraced. These blankets tend to run for a pretty penny, but they are worth every cent! Trust me, I am not one who likes to spend more than $20 on myself, but this is an expense that is 100% worth it.
For those of you that choose to keep reading and endure the thought of a bath, I commend you! This is what you really came for, right? ;) I am sure you have heard about weighted blankets from someone, or have seen the video advertisement pop up on your newsfeed every time you open your least I did. Even if you haven't, I am here to tell you that this is possibly the best invention since the wheel. If you, or someone you know, struggles with anxiety or any of the previously stated "disorders", look into the weighted blanket.

Surround yourself with beauty - Life gets crazy, stress levels rise, and we all get pushed to the point of a total breakdown. An amazing way to remind yourself to calm down, slow down, and breathe, is to decorate your environment with some sort of meaning. Beautify your abode!

About five years ago, I realized there are certain aesthetics that bring me joy. I am a lover of signs - beautiful, and random, pieces of material that have words that render some sort of feeling for me. I am constantly decorating, and updating, my space with signs that remind me of the things I love. Things like motivational sayings (because who doesn't need a little extra motivation every day?), sparkles, things that remind me of my loved ones, some good ol' American Football, and more sparkles!

Think, for a moment, about what brings you joy. Is there something you can look at that just makes you happy? Something that looks pretty and makes you feel good? Something that brings up a cherished memory? Figure out what objects render those feelings, and find a way to factor them into your home and office decor.

Make time for you! - This one shouldn't need any further cannot be on top of your game, if you are not at your best! It is so easy to forget about ourselves because we all get so focused on helping and serving those around us. But not taking time for yourself and not practicing self-care will bring you from 100% to turn, making everything you do for everyone else decline as well. You can't give 100% if you and your body are not at 100%. For some quick and easy self-care habits that would be AWESOME to develop, read this article...conveniently named You are Worth More Time. ;) See what I did there?

Recognize and Accept it - This one may be one of the hardest tasks...recognize that you have anxiety, and accept it! If you are reading this post because you want to find a way to end your anxiety and never deal with it again, I am sorry, you have come to the wrong blog. The truth is that you cannot just end your anxiety, but you can do things to help prevent that dreaded anxiety attack. It is entirely possible to calm yourself down before you burst. Just breathe, there are many of us just like you!

Anxiety is a terrifying thing if you don't know what to do about it. If you are anything like me, you may have found yourself uncontrollably crying (for entirely unknown reasons) in the most unconventional place. When it happened to me, the first time, I realized there might be something a little bit off - or in more professional terms, a chemical imbalance. This was a VERY hard thing for me to accept - considering I was raised with a parent that believed I had no reason to be anything but happy because of the life I was born into.
I know a vast amount of people who have felt pressured to push their bad feelings down, because they have no reason to feel a certain me, that is NOT healthy! Don't push your emotions to the side, don't recognize your stress and then pretend it isn't there. Accept it, take a deep breath, and try to relax your body and mind. After all, I am pretty sure they always say acceptance is a big step on the way to recovery.

Above all, please know that you are a beautiful and perfectly imperfect human being. Your anxiety isn't something that should defeat you, no matter how hard it might try. Try these things and let me know how they helped you! Please let me know if you have discovered any other ways to help calm yourself down, I love the creative ideas! Every little bit helps!

 Love Always, 
                        Kaitlyn B

*Original heading Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash - before Chaos and Concealer edits
*Original Pug Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash - before Chaos and Concealer edits
*Original Calm Down Photo by Mike Wilson on Unsplash - before Chaos and Concealer edits

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