View Full Version : Dealing with anxiety


Jacksper
02-02-16, 07:25 AM
During the last weeks I have become a bit more aware of anxiety and how it affects my life, and how it has affected it in the past. Something I regularly do is to flee away from life and lock myself off from the world. In the past this could take months, now it takes days, so it is much better now. I learned that this behavior probably reinforces the anxiety, because you allow the anxiety to determine your actions. Still I find it really hard to do a full workweek, because about every week I need time to recharge, often a day or two. I am at the start of my career and I do not have a full time job yet, so I can deal with it for now, but now I realize that it's not healthy to flee away from the world so often and eventually I want to work full time (may start in a month or so). So, I want to learn to stay active in spite of my anxiety/triggers, hoping that this anxiety will wear away eventually.

Does anybody recognize this behavior and has anybody learnt to deal with it?

By the way, I notice anxiety in more aspects of my life, will describe those later.

Chloedarling
02-02-16, 08:30 AM
I do understand this. I often need a whole weekend to recover from my work week. I have a very intense job and position. But also, an intense amount of anxiety. I see that it takes me longer to recover at some times in my life than others and I go through phases. Sometimes, "indulging" myself all weekend by pulling out of life and chilling out only makes me more anxious, and more incapacitated.

Sometimes the best remedy is getting outside of myself and going somewhere where I am forced to keep living and interact with people and even fake smiling helps me start to feel better sometimes, although I resist it!! Sometimes In winter, I put out a light box and sit in front of that in the mornings, which helps somewhat. Walking outside helps me too. Light, air, getting out is the best coping strategy I have found (I tend to want to hide inside). And When I am really sick of feeling so crappy, I use mind mapping to draw out my feelings and connect the thoughts and then I try to leave it all in the journal and go do something else.

So My best personal strategy is to distract myself from indulging my anxiety too far -- I have people in my life who help keep me from "tanking" - my mom, my husband. Having kids seemed to increase my anxiety and feelings of wanting to escape the mounting obligations but the reality is that it's not fair to little kids to ignore them so that pulls me out of it a bit too.

Cognitive therapy has helped me too. it comes in waves and often a bunch of things can cause it to go into overdrive, but as those lessen, I notice, so does the hold of the anxiety and my feeling of depletion.

That's just my story.

You say you are young in your career - how lucky that you see all this so early and are so self aware! That awareness and your curiosity and interest in finding ways to manage it will inevitably help you find your own path and the coping mechanisms that work for you.

Unmanagable
02-02-16, 11:29 AM
I feel like I deal with similar anxiety and shifting issues, too. However, I've found it healthier to allow myself the space to flee when I feel the need to vs. forcing myself to remain in high stress situations.

I used to feel that staying in those situations and trying to navigate them on the fly would somehow better help me build up my ability to deal with them, but learned it typically does just the opposite.

Like you mentioned, I notice the duration of time it takes to return to the flow of life is lessening, so I see that as forward progress and things growing at a natural pace vs. the pace I wish it would to meet my often hurried expectations. Patience is not one of my greatest virtues......not even close.

The part I really wish I could improve on is lessening the depths of total paralyzation towards anything productive that sets in, be it momentarily, or however long it hangs around. Thinking my way back out of that remains a great challenge, and my ability to kick my own a** for my own inactivity remains much greater than it needs to be.

Glad you asked this today. Talking through my response just gave me good discussion points for my next counseling session, that I need to call and schedule. Thanks for the indirect prompt, Jacksper. :) Wishing you the best in clearing the current hurdles.

Fuzzy12
02-02-16, 02:00 PM
During the last weeks I have become a bit more aware of anxiety and how it affects my life, and how it has affected it in the past. Something I regularly do is to flee away from life and lock myself off from the world. In the past this could take months, now it takes days, so it is much better now. I learned that this behavior probably reinforces the anxiety, because you allow the anxiety to determine your actions.

I'm not sure it reinforces anxiety..or if anxiety can be reinforced by doing something that helps alleviate it. If these breaks help you then I'd take more of them not less (though like you said, maybe shorter ones).

Still I find it really hard to do a full workweek, because about every week I need time to recharge, often a day or two. I am at the start of my career and I do not have a full time job yet, so I can deal with it for now, but now I realize that it's not healthy to flee away from the world so often and eventually I want to work full time (may start in a month or so).

I don't think it's unhealthy, especially if you are someone who needs it. I need it and if I deprive myself of these breaks (which I often do) I go crazy, am less productive and just everything gets worse.Everyone needs breaks. You'll have the weekend once you start working full time and maybe you can find something on weekdays as well for quick bu reinvigorating breaks. Like taking a walk in your lunch break. or just switching off at work and listening to music at your desk or something like that.

Jacksper
02-02-16, 07:48 PM
I'm not sure it reinforces anxiety..or if anxiety can be reinforced by doing something that helps alleviate it. If these breaks help you then I'd take more of them not less (though like you said, maybe shorter ones).

I feel like I deal with similar anxiety and shifting issues, too. However, I've found it healthier to allow myself the space to flee when I feel the need to vs. forcing myself to remain in high stress situations.

True, this is an assumption of mine, let me clarify my reasoning; I agree that taking some time to rest is a good for anxiety, but I think if you do that regularly every time you feel the need to, you condition yourself to flee from stressful situations, which reinforces the idea that those situations are really difficult, robbing yourself of the chance to discover that those situations are not really that difficult at all or of the opportunity of growing stronger. Another problem is that it's overreacting; requiring days to recharge from a situation is not healthy, it's a sign that something bigger is going on and you are only dealing with the symptoms.

I do not advocate just trying to be strong and taking no rest at all. Like I said, getting enough rest is important, and I think it is a good idea to schedule those moments in advance (for example when you are planning the week). That way you can ensure that you have enough time to recharge, but not too much and you do not take it because you are triggered by a stressor.

I don't think it's unhealthy, especially if you are someone who needs it. I need it and if I deprive myself of these breaks (which I often do) I go crazy, am less productive and just everything gets worse.Everyone needs breaks. You'll have the weekend once you start working full time and maybe you can find something on weekdays as well for quick bu reinvigorating breaks. Like taking a walk in your lunch break. or just switching off at work and listening to music at your desk or something like that.

I totally agree!

Sometimes the best remedy is getting outside of myself and going somewhere where I am forced to keep living and interact with people and even fake smiling helps me start to feel better sometimes, although I resist it!! Sometimes In winter, I put out a light box and sit in front of that in the mornings, which helps somewhat. Walking outside helps me too. Light, air, getting out is the best coping strategy I have found (I tend to want to hide inside). And When I am really sick of feeling so crappy, I use mind mapping to draw out my feelings and connect the thoughts and then I try to leave it all in the journal and go do something else.

Thanks, great to see how you learned to take such good care of yourself, I can learn from that. I hope you don't mind if I steal some of your strategies! ;)

You say you are young in your career - how lucky that you see all this so early and are so self aware! That awareness and your curiosity and interest in finding ways to manage it will inevitably help you find your own path and the coping mechanisms that work for you.

Thank you, I really hope that it will help! :)

katrin-ru
03-22-16, 04:29 AM
You should just accept your aptitude to worry as a feature of the character. There is no need to blame yourself for the fears, even if they are too intrusive and irrational:

“Yes, I am afraid that a brick will fall on my head tomorrow. I have a right to be afraid.”

When anxiety (http://undepress.net/anxiety-issues-tips-to-get-rid-of-anxiety/)is not perceived as an internal enemy, it reduces its influence on the quality of life. The mind ceases to dwell on worries, admitting their existence, and switches to actions.

KarmanMonkey
03-23-16, 01:48 PM
Fear and doubt is protective, while anxiety and panic in most modern situations tends to be destructive.

People talk about "thinking positive" and personally I don't ascribe to that. I'm all for focussing on strengths, but I need to acknowledge the negative and the risks. Fear and doubt makes us good planners, lets us be prepared for many situations that will blindside the optimist.



As far as overcoming the pattern of the behaviour reinforcement we get from withdrawing from a situation, I have a few strategies that have worked well:
Admit it. To yourself. To someone you trust. Secrecy, for me, often accounts for about 1/3 of the anxiety.
Always be a little bit uncomfortable. This sounds really messed up, but bear with me. If I'm 100% comfortable with a situation, then that means that nothing is changing, or worse, I'm resuming old habits that were a mix of maladaptive, harmful or unproductive. I don't want to traumatize myself, so I pick situations and tasks that just make me that little bit uncomfortable; stretch my habits just that little bit. Then as those new habits become more comfortable, I take the next step. With 1 being "completely relaxed" and 10 being "freaking out" I aim to spend a fair bit of my day at a 2-5, but I do make sure to schedule time doing tasks (or having downtime) that lets me be a 1.
If a situation is too intense to move forward (say a 7+), pause, but don't retreat right away. Try ways to calm yourself and trigger that relaxation response. If things are still too intense, then it's okay to do a tactical retreat to strategize. We still need to deal with that situation, but that 7+ likely means we need support to proceed, or that we need to break down the task into smaller chunks, or that we need to rethink how to tackle the problem. Retreating from that 7+ means that it'll be a 7.5+ next time, so using the same approach again is likely to help. My biggest problem was trying to convince myself to do it all myself, and to "just try harder" or "just ignore the anxiety"
Get lots of support to reach your goals, then gradually withdraw the supports. Nobody said you had to tackle everything yourself. When going to a new place, or meeting new people, I'll still drag someone along when I can. I'll also print a map to where I'm going, ask the bus driver to remind me of my stop, use the navigation on my phone, etc. As I grow more comfortable, I can do away with those extra supports so I can sleep through my stop in peace :D
Plan for the worst, then use that plan as a tool to let go of the negative thoughts. When I took my current job, the first question I asked my boss was "If I need hospitalization for my mental health, will I become the patient of my coworkers?" Knowing the answer to that meant that I could come up with a plan with my wife so that I know that I will be well supported if that happens. I still think about it, but most of the time I'm able to remind myself of the plan and set the worry aside. Edit: There's a Russian expression: "If I knew where I'd fall, I'd lay down some hay". Well, I'm a huge fan of hay.
Edit 2: Practice relaxation. Schedule it. Every day. At first I thought it was a waste of time. I've learned over the years that it makes a big difference, not so much in the moment (i.e. if you wait until you're freaking out to practice your breathing, forget it), but it's awesome at reducing that "background" anxiety; the stress that lingers in the body and brain after the cause has long since left. I do a lot of mindful breathing and progressive muscle relaxation because it's invisible; I can do it in a meeting and unless I tell someone, they have no idea I'm practicing relaxation.

TheGreatKing
03-23-16, 01:55 PM
what you is your guys experience with meditation?

KarmanMonkey
04-01-16, 03:58 PM
what you is your guys experience with meditation?

Mine is a positive one, but I found I had to reinvent my idea of meditation to adapt to the ADD. I can't just sit in the lotus position and chant a mantra.

In my case, sorting tasks can be meditative, or painting (adult colouring books are becoming more of a thing too), or humming along to calming music.

I knew someone who could only meditate when Metallica was playing, so really it's all about what triggers you to find that relaxed state.

Jiberish
04-24-16, 10:10 PM
There is a great book, called spark on the brain. (i believe). It talks about exercise and the benefits of it treating multiple disorders. I try to add exercise to my daily routine, its my way of getting rid of anxiety. For me their is a direct correlation between the two. So before work I would Skin (Ski with tape style things on the bottom for traction that allows you to go uphill) 2500 ft at 5 am......this put my anxiety to rest before work.

Cheers

sarahsweets
04-25-16, 05:03 AM
My version of retreating is to sort of get lost on the internet or reading. Ive used this in stressful situations, like when I went away with some friends of mine and I thought I would scream. I dont think retreating is necessarily a bad thing if it helps you to re-center or re-focus. Its a problem if its used to escape from reality all the time. We all have to learn to feel uncomfortable. I have a unique situation though. I dont work. For a period of time years ago, I developed agoraphobia. Its was horrific and I wouldnt leave unless my husband drove me somewhere, and even that was tough. I could go into how I got over that but that will derail the thread. Anyhow there was a reason for the agoraphobia and for a little while, I didnt beat myself up over it. I did what I needed to do to feel safe. I read about it, and learned about it. I didnt let it become my life for too long but while I was working on it I tried to be kind to myself.
Do you feel like you are hiding from the world? Are you avoiding people, places and things? Thats when it can be a real problem.
Balance is hard, at least for me it is. I want to feel safe and in tune, but sometimes I feel like I just cant handle it.