Anxiety and depression are two psychological issues I battle. Most days I’m fine, but some days I have to look through my “toolbox” to find the right fix.
Honestly, it’s not always easy to find an immediate solution. I go through periods where I have to really work at it to chase my anxieties and depressive moods away. Times where I have to use multiple fixes to make sure I breakthrough and see that light at the end of the tunnel.
I’ve gotten pretty good at deciphering what I need and when I need it. It took months, even years to know how to twist and bend to my will - and not to the will of my mental health issues. But here I am today, living in the present and proud to say I did it. I did it on my own terms, I worked through without medication of any kind, and I found ways to cope.
Want some good news? You can do it, too. Start with my suggestions and see what you think!
I truly believe that everyone needs a therapist at one point in their lives. It feels amazing to let all your thoughts be out in the open with a complete stranger - mind you, a stranger that is obligated to never repeat anything you tell him or her unless you or someone you know is in danger.
My favorite part is babbling on and on about something that’s bothering me. Why? Because my therapist lets me speak until I have nothing left to say. Then, and only then does she hit me with a mind altering statement. Something that’s so simple and recognizable that I would have caught if I just put myself in someone else’s shoes for a second to listen in on my thoughts. Nevertheless, hearing her say that statement really puts my subconscious and conscious mind in sync, and I get to learn a little piece about myself. Great for figuring out why I’m anxious or depressed - or recognizing the patterns before they become routines.
I thought mediation was a scam, up until a year ago. I never wanted to give it a chance. What can you really get out of closing your eyes and listening to calming music?
For starters, I became more in tune with my mind. I sleep much better now and I can navigate different ways of figuring out complex issues. It’s been a very helpful tool for keeping the anxieties and depressive moods at bay - I will admit that meditating and expecting immediate results doesn’t work for me. If I’m in the midst of a panic attack, shutting my eyes and listening to that music doesn’t necessarily soothe my mind. This one’s a long term solution.
Also, I don’t meditate every day - which actually might be even more beneficial, if I could find the time. I only meditate 3-4 times a week right before bed.
I used to date this fitness junkie. He would go to the gym every single day without missing a beat. His diet was near flawless; the man would never put any sweets, processed foods, fried foods, etc. into his body. He encouraged me to become more active to cancel out my anxieties and depressive moods.
Then there’s my father. He’s the furthest thing from a fitness junkie, but definitely agreed with the fitness approach for my mental health. I didn’t want to hear it.
Until I tried it. Same thing goes for fitness as it goes for meditation with me. If I’m depressed and try to go to the gym, I’m just going to start thinking negative thoughts - they think I’m too fat, those guys are watching me, I’m working out wrong, why bother? If I’m anxious and try to go to the gym, my heart rate will just steadily increase (my heart races when I’m anxious) and I’ll end up passing out from the way my body is responding.
For me, fitness is something I do on a regular basis to control my issues. It’s very beneficial when I keep at it.
I have a playlist - as every anxiety-ridden, depressed person should - that centers on the comfort music I love. I put those jams on and let the beats and words take the wheel.
Sometimes this suggestion works all on its own. Other times, I need to combine listening to music with other “toolbox” items to relax.
I have no idea what kind of magic a television has on my brain, but almost every single time I stream a show I’m interested in or a movie that fancies me, my anxiety dwindles away. It has to be a show I’m already watching, because if it’s something I have to start from scratch, my anxiety will turn into uneasiness for some odd reason. And if it’s a movie, I tend to lean toward romance films or comedies.
Once I’ve chosen one, I grab a blanket, a nice tall glass of water, and some snacks. After I’m all comfy cozy, my body starts to relax and my brain stops overthinking.
I’m an office manager and writer by day, and (hopeful) relaxer by night. Most of my writing consists of factual knowledge or nonfiction topics. Which means that the last thing I want to do after a long day at the office is read more books with facts and nonfiction involved.
I’d rather place myself in a fairytale world - whether it be something mystical like the popular Harry Potter books, or something romantic like the cliche storyline of Me Before You. I want something that was made up by a wise author, something that keeps me entertained and distracts my mind.
When I’m anxious, reading such books keeps me occupied. When I’m depressed, reading such books puts me in a happier mood because I get to live somewhere else for a little while.
If I do feel like writing through my anxiety and depression, I always have the option to journal. Getting all my thoughts down on paper can relieve some of the stress that I’m feeling. Plus, writing it in my hidden journal will ensure a third party won’t see it - unless I bring it to therapy with me to get to the root of the problem.
This suggestion can get out of hand if I let it.
I absolutely love treating myself. Going shopping and grabbing a couple of new outfits. Going out and splurging on a good meal and some tasty drinks. Trying a new hobby and putting my undivided attention into it.
Only thing is that I make sure I only put a select amount of money on my debit card - and I leave my credit cards at home. That way, I don’t go into financial distress and cause even more stress than what I started with.
Cooking calms my soul. Give me pots and pans and your favorite recipe, I’ll whip it right up! I love experimenting in the kitchen and mixing/matching recipes to make a new creation. For some reason, chopping and preparing pieces of a recipe keeps my concentration locked in. Not to mention I’ve created a delicious delicacy by the end of my cooking charades.
When all else fails, I nap my anxiety and depression away.
Sleeping puts me more in tune with my dreams and my psych, which is great for balancing my mind out. Sure, this suggestion may not work for everyone in the world, but for me, it does the trick.
Specifically, I like to put one of those good shows or movies I’m invested in on, and I’ll just watch it until I doze off. A couple hours later, I’m awake and feeling better than I did before.
Sometimes, if I get into an anxious loop or depressive hole, I’ll nape everyday for a couple of weeks. But at the end of it all, I come out on top and feel much better than I did when I started feeling down on my mental health/