Tag: depression

7 Ways to Kick Anxiety’s Ass

*The following is not and should not be used in place of medical advice. If you need help, please see your doctor or a mental health professional.These are just personal habits I’ve had success with.*

Back in the early 00s, I was a wide-eyed, overworked, scared to death college freshman. In my very Mickey Mouse Intro to College class, we had this group activity. It was one of those icebreaker games that’s only freshmen and people at seminars do. The gist was, we had to pick an adjective that started with the same letter our name that described us. Alliteration being a memory helper and all, I suppose. I instantly knew mine. It was a name that I had been carrying with me since I was just a wee little girl.

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I’ve never known a time when I haven’t been anxious. As a kid, I cried. I cried a lot. I’m not sure if it was the early signs of anxiety, depression, or the effects of my mother, but childhood was full of teary eyes and snotty noses. I remember once during an elementary school orientation my mother telling the teacher that I was “tender-hearted”. It was a descriptor that stuck with me long past my public school days. All these decades later, that tender-heartedness has turned into full-fledged anxiety.

Anxiety is still a big part of my life. It’s a monster I battle each day. Below are 7 things I do to try to take its power away.


Breathe

It sounds simple enough, right? Well, it’s not. Breathing is one of the hardest things to do in the midst of an anxiety attack. Shallow breaths come easy and fast and can cement you in the fight or flight mode. I tend to hold my breath when I’m struggling. I don’t even have to explain why this a foolish thing to do. One thing I’ve found that really, really helps is the 4-7-8 breathing technique. It’s a great way to reset your brain and center yourself. And it’s pretty easy.

  1. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds.
  2. Hold that breath for 7 seconds.
  3. Exhale for 8 seconds.
  4. Repeat as necessary

It’s really a fantastic exercise to regulate your breathing and bring your mind back from the brink. If the 4-7-8 technique isn’t your style, taking deep slow breaths will also help. The fast shallow breaths that are common during an anxiety episode do more harm than good. Breath deep, from the bottom of your diaphragm. Those long deep breaths are the good ones that will help you center yourself and calm down.


Ask For Help

The only thing harder than remembering to breathe correctly often is to ask for help. It’s painful and frightening to open yourself to others. But we are not islands. We need each other. Find yourself a tag team partner. Someone who will support you and work with you as you navigate the bullshit that is anxiety. 

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Whether it’s holding your hand, making you lunch, or just reading the words you need to type, having a circle of people you can turn to is so very important. Ask them for help. Let them help you share the load.

 


Go Outside

Sometimes what you need during an attack is not just a change of space but a change of mind. Going outside can do both. It doesn’t matter if you live in a city or are in the middle of the country, going outdoors is a great way to help bring yourself back. Sunlight, fresh air, and the sounds of nature foster a sense of serenity. Being able to have space and absorb them is a great way to become unflustered.


Create Something

 

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Some of the best art comes from the darkest places. If you are able to harness some of the power of anxiety and use it for good you might be amazed at what you’ll create. It doesn’t have to be great, just make something!  Write some words, doodle some drawings, take some pictures, bake a cake, build a birdhouse! Just put yourself in motion and use your powers for good, not the self-harming evil they can be used for.


Drink Water

The first thing I ask whenever one of my kiddos comes to me with a complaint is “Do you need some water?” Staying hydrated is important. It’s also something that gets overlooked quite often.  As someone who drinks more coffee than I should, sometimes just taking a moment to drink a glass of cold water changes my mindset. Water, dirt, fire, and salt. They are all three things that connect us to the planet. They are all things we need. In the middle of our chaos, I firmly believe these things can ground us.


Find a Positive Distraction

We live in a time where podcast, audio books, and most tv shows we love are streaming on demand. We don’t have to wait to for a certain time on a certain day to lose ourselves in a mindless distraction. It’s available anytime we need it. And when you’re fighting anxiety, you need it whenever the episode happens. Finding something positive that you can quiet your mind and enjoy in the middle of a rough time is wonderful to keep you grounded. Some of my favorite things to listen to are podcast. One of my very favorite podcast is Levar Burton Readse19bd1d38fca74faca9d281a1bf9d29e9da713a57c9e60345030bab6b3a852b51bc68db007ff7d3abf61cf1f941cd4e47d48020374917551204f040abc975062 Its Levar Burton and his wonderful voice reading amazing stories. It’s incredibly calming and interesting. Being able to focus a speeding mind on something as enjoyable as Levar’s voice is great calming technique.


Stay Present

Even harder than remembering to breathe and asking for help is remembering to stay in the moment. When your head is playing the highlight reel of every horrible thing you’ve ever done, its hard to remember to be in the here and now. The following is a grounding exercise I use daily to help me focus on what is and what is not:

5: Acknowledge FIVE things you see.

4: Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch.

3: Acknowledge THREE things you hear.

2: Acknowledge TWO things you can smell.

1: Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste.

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No matter what methods we use, we must realize that we are stronger than anxiety. While this is a monster that lives in our world, we do not have to make our world about it. It is my hope that some of the tips effect you in a positive way. As with anything, find what works for you and do that.

I’m looking California and feeling Minnesota

 

At 6:58 am, my phone rang. I could tell by the Mariachi music that it was my not-biological-but-pretty-much brother. I’ve curated a family that is no kin to me to make up for the one genetics left me with. I promise you, the Build Your Own Family Adventure is totally worth it.

I was wrist deep in biscuit dough and drowning in breakfast prep so I had to let his call go to voicemail. When I was able I shot him a text to ask what was up. During the waiting between my text and him returning my call, I found out that Chris Cornell had died. When we got on the phone finally, that was the reason for the call.

It was by accident that I found Soundgarden in middle school. I think it was swapping CDs on the band bus when Superunknown found it’s way into my ears. It quickly became one of my frequently played albums. Even when I bounced around, experimenting with genres of music (yeah, I was totally into nu-metal for a long while) Soundgarden and their grunge brethren were with me. When Audioslave hit, I was instantly in love. There were many, many time Chris Cornell and his four-octave vocals held my hand, iced my burns, and sang me to sleep.

It seemed like the news that it was suicide hit as fast and as hard as his death did. Reports seem split on if he had exhibited signs of depression or not. The trouble with depression is that for a lot of us, the “signs” have been around so long they’ve just become who we are. So often we hide behind a mask so thick, it hides our struggle from even those closest to us.

I can’t speak for Chris, I only know my own story. But I know that hiding your true struggles becomes an art form. We live in a world where mental illness is constantly second guessed and made light of. There’s still this stigma that hangs over us. Tell someone you broke your arm and they say go to the doctor. Tell them you feel depressed and they ask if you’ve tried just feeling better. As if it was that simple.

If you’re fighting that fight, please know you aren’t alone. It’s easy to feel that way. At times it’s comforting.But these are not battles you have to wage alone. There are people there to help you.  National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24 hours a day online and on the phone (1-800-273-8255).  Here is a link from PsychCentral with numbers for hotlines that specialize various issues.

You are not alone in this. Needing help is not weakness. Asking for help is one of the strongest things you can do. Let’s support each other. 

Now please excuse me while I damage my hearing by blasting some Soundgarden/Audioslave/Temple of the Dog.

Day 8&9 In Your Bag/Worst Habit

Well, it happened,loves. It only took 8 days for it to, but it did.

I missed posting. But it was because I had a friend over and we spent most of the evening eating cheesecake and watching stand up on Netflix. So, under cheesecake consuming rules, I’m in the clear. No wrongs can be committed while eating cheesecake. Hashtag that  as Truth, cause its fucking gold.

Anyway, here are the contents of my bag, which if I can boast for a moment, I made myself. IMG_9046

So we got a baby sweater, some diapers, my wallet, a compact of powder which is sadly no longer with us because the wearer of that pretty pink sweater threw it across a parking lot.There’s also my keys, a book I picked up at an Asian Market in a language I can’t read, and some trash I should really throw away. Also, the fabric I made my bag out of glows in the dark. So that’s pretty cool.

Ok, now that we are caught up, here’s today’s post. My worst habits. In no particular order they include

  • Over apologizing for slights real and imagined
  • Giving up on my interest and actions to make time for other people.
  • Asking if someone is okay. Over and over and over.
  • Picking at zits, scratches, any sort of flesh imperfection.
  • Scratching. Excessively. Hello stress rashes, let’s get raw!
  • Tailgating. Speeding. Pretty much driving in general. I am a horrible driver. Horrible.
  • Saying “Goddamnit”. The kids say it now because of me. I’m a great influence.
  • Caffeine consumption. Give me Monster or give me death. And by that I mean, it probably will give me death.
  • Listing all the horrible things that could,would,should, might happen over and over in my head.
  • Making fucking list.

There you go. A laundry list of my bad habits and yesterday post about my purse. It’s an odd combo, for sure. I hope not to miss anymore days. The photography challenge I’m doing on Facebook is almost over. I’m pretty sad about that. It’s been a lot of fun. Maybe I will do another one just for this blog? Who knows. I probably should just finish this shit first. That would be a good idea. Can we add taking on too much to the list of bad habits?

 

 

Day 4: What are you afraid of?

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On the superficial side of things, I am really, really, REALLY afraid of ants. Here in the Southern U.S. we have big nasty fire ants. They seriously are like Satan’s public lice. They are everywhere and are just waiting to crawl on your feet, up your legs and bite the shit out of you.

Many moons ago, when I was a little girl, during an Easter family get together, my little dumb ass walked between two ant hills. And BOOM! Those motherfuckers starting attacking my chubby legs like an all you can eat buffet. My Great Uncle Ray snatched me up, ran me inside to the kitchen and threw me in the sink, pretty little dress ,panty hose and all. My legs were polka dotted with ant bites. It was horrible.

On a much deeper level, Im afraid of turning into my mother and pushing everyone in my life away. I don’t want the mental struggles I go through to hinder and hurt the people I love. I don’t want to be so deformed by my mental anguish, so poisoned and bitter, that I continue the cycle and infect my babies with it. I don’t want them growing up with the same shit I have in my head in theirs. They deserve better. I deserved better.

So, I know this isnt part of the prompt, I’m working on making myself better. I talked with L today about this very thing. And when I told him that I felt that he and the kids deserved better than a crazy, over emotional me he was quick to remind me that I too deserved it. And he’s right. We all deserve happiness and contentment. Especially with our selves. Our worries can not be the largest feeling we have. Love should be. Self love especially.

Also,

Fuck ants.

Opps Bag- $2

The closest mall to our house has a cookie shop. I actually think it may be called “The Cookie Shop” but I could be making that up because it sounds good in my head.

We were at the mall on Tuesday for the Mister to get his eyes checked. (Yes, theres an optometrist in the mall). I was walking the babies around when they were getting antsy. There was only one thing that would calm the savage beasts. And it was cookies.

We roll up to the cookie counter in the food court and I order some little sugar cookies for their little kid hands and a lemonade for myself. I noticed a sign near the register while we were waiting “Oops Bag-$2”. So I read the small text and found out that Oops Bags were overcooked, broken, a day old or otherwise less than perfect cookies. I immediately thought this was a great idea and asked for one.

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It wasn’t just because it was cheap cookies. I mean, I love cookies and cheap ones are even better ya know. It’s because if people were cookies, I’d be an Oops Bag. I’ve been broken, I’m older, and I’m a far ways from perfect. There are pieces of me missing that will never return. There have been parts of me burned,blackened, and ruined. And even though my life has been filled with people who passed over me and chose another, I’m still good. I’m still worthy. To a zombie or cannibal, I’m still delicious.

Just because we’re not perfect doesn’t mean we aren’t good enough. Our flaws are parts of our story. Our flaws are part of who and what we are. We should honor those things in us that make us who we are. For good or bad, we are who we are. And we shouldn’t be ashamed.

 

 

Anger

Anger is the coating for inadequacy.

Anger is the capitalization of pain.

Anger is a bad translation of misunderstanding.

Anger is unhappiness set on fire.

Anger is panic wearing stilts and dropping it’s voice.

Anger is Depresson’s paramour.

Anger is not a badge of honor.

Anger is the dictator that rules after a coup.

Anger is the jar of nectar tempting from across the room.

I know these things. I spilled the words from my heart. But I still let anger take over when I feel vulnerable, insulted, or rejected. Its a preset response that I want to eliminate.

I’d rather be seen as soft than as a hateful,anger bitch.

What paths have you found the break the chains of anger? What resources do you enjoy?