Getting Out (of the door)

For a long time, maybe 6 months or longer, I was struggling with getting out of the house.  It was getting really bad, I wouldn’t even step outside to check my mail which is literally right outside my apartment door unless it was night or super early when absolutely no one was around.  Being outside was just so overwhelming.  I have panic disorder so once in awhile I do have agoraphobic tendencies when my anxiety gets out of hand.  For a couple years I was leaving the house no problem then slowly my anxiety and panic attacks were becoming more frequent  and  about half a year ago I started going out less and less and it just progressed.  In the past few weeks it’s been getting much better.  I hung out with a friend.  Went to the dentist (which is a HUGE thing for me, I’ve been avoiding that for a year) and have been going out most days without any feelings of dread.  It’s nice to not be afraid and it’s getting better everyday.  It’s not easy, I still have to push myself to get out the door but it’s definitely progress.

 

Anxiety and Other Stuff

My anxiety has been extremely bad the past several weeks, daily panic attacks sometimes multiple times a day.  I’m not really sure why, they seem to be pretty random.  However, the past two days were panic free.  I’ve still had some severe anxiety but I’ve been able to manage it by using my top 3 coping skills: reading, listening to music, and drawing.  I’ve also been getting out of the house more.  I hung out with my friend yesterday.  We got a pizza and watched Men In Black: International.  Had a lot of fun!  It had been quite awhile since we spent time together.  Taking walks has been a great way to get rid of nervous energy too. My mood has been great, no psychotic symptoms and I’m sleeping well.  Feel very stable.  It’s amazing really.  I’m doing the best I have in a long time and I’m very thankful for that.

I’m able to focus on drawing more often which is great, it’s becoming second nature again.

The weather has been amazing.  As I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, I love cold weather.  I’d take freezing temps over a hot summer any day.  The meds I take cause heat intolerance as well so I’m much happier in the Fall and Winter.

I’m still working on getting into a new/more affordable apartment.  I’m on another waiting list now in addition to the other place I applied to so now I have two options, and whichever comes through first I’ll make a decision then.  It could be awhile though.  My case manager is great and always on top of things which I appreciate.  Hopefully something becomes available by the beginning of 2020.

Dealing with Agitation

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I’ve been having a lot of agitation lately, so I’ve been trying out different things to help with it.

The problem with agitation is the last thing you want to do is sit still and focus on something, you want to keep pacing or doing something negative to relieve it.  I can’t do that though, as much as I’ve wanted to lately.  I force myself to sit still, breath, and do something non destructive.  It’s very uncomfortable in the beginning, going against how you’re feeling but it gets better after awhile.

Walking

  And really any exercise that gets energy out is helpful.  It gives me an outlet for the negative energy.  I’ve been taking lots of long walks, doing sit ups, and reps with weights. I generally use this method when I feel like the agitation is too much and I might do something negative if the energy isn’t released.  Running would probably be helpful too but I’m not really in good shape so that’s not something I’ve been doing right now.  Eventually I likely will though.  

Reading

This is kind of tricky because sometimes when starting to read and being agitated I get pissed off and have a hard time sitting still and just want to throw the book down.  As silly as it seems, taking deep breaths really helps.  I try to just let the anxiety out and focus on what I’m reading.  It generally takes about 10 solid minutes of reading but once I hit that mark I really get into it and can keep going.  So it may start out as something that seems to make things worse but in the end it’s worth sticking it out if possible.  That is, if you actually enjoy reading.  Forcing yourself to read when you’re not into it to begin with probably wouldn’t just be extremely aggravating.

Gaming

I can always count on Animal Crossing: New Leaf to help me relax.  No matter what’s going on, it helps me chill.  It’s such a laid back game but it’s very task oriented which is good to take my mind off things and I find getting things “accomplished” in the game helpful for my anxiety.

Cleaning

Putting on music and cleaning and organizing is great for when I’m feeling agitated because it’s both physical and task oriented.  So I don’t have to sit still, I can move around as much as I want but it’s not that aimless pacing which generally just works me up even more. Plus, it always feels great when your place is nice and tidy.  Having a messy house/apartment really messes with you subconsciously.  It may not seem like a big deal but having a clean place creates peace of mind.

 

This was somewhat of a rambling and non planned post, actually, writing this is something I decided to do to help relieve some of the agitation I was feeling tonight.  So, if anyone has any ideas feel free to add in the comments!  I love learning different ways to cope, there are tons, this barely scratches the surface.

Distractions

Good afternoon!

Here’s a recent Animal Crossing drawing

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I’ve often been distracting myself from my anxiety

Right now I’m reading a book called Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman.  It’s very interesting on multiple levels.  One being how much I love art and Vincent’s paintings, especially Cafe Terrace at Night.  The other being Vincent’s struggle with mental illness, it’s interesting to read and look at his paintings, the brighter pallet (especially the color yellow) and multitude of work when he was manic and the darker when depressed.

I’m playing Yonder still on my Nintendo Switch.  Getting further along, just 29% complete so far but I’m enjoying every moment.  I always put my beyerdynamic headphones on when playing, the background music is relaxing and perfect for the different environments.  I’m also playing Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7 on my 360, it’s making me want to reread the series again for the millionth time!

Have gone out to eat a couple times the past week, normally I’m too anxious to do that but I’ve been able to handle it.

 

 

 

Spring Cleaning

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I’m thinking about volunteering this summer. I’m not sure where yet but there are many opportunities where I live.  It would be great to get out of the house, deal with my social anxiety, and gain some experience.  I’d like to eventually get a job of course, but I’m taking things one step at a time.  I have volunteered a few times during the past year at different places, one time serving a community meal at a church/charity organization and one time at a local festival and I really enjoyed it.  It was difficult to put myself out there and do something I had never done before but they both ended up being great experiences.  I get stuck in a rut, the more I avoid social stuff the harder it gets to get out there and do new things.  I’m working on it though, I’m setting reasonable goals for myself.

I’ve been getting a lot of exercise in lately so ended up being exhausted and taking a nap today which I usually don’t do.  It was definitely needed though.  I downloaded The Sims 4, it’s free to download on Origin until May 28th in case any Sims fans are reading and would like to get it.  I also finally found out about Nintendo platinum and gold points, so I redeemed some for a few themes for my 3DS.

It’s been hot here lately, but we had thunderstorms today which was nice.  I’m hoping to get some drawing done this weekend.

It’s spring which means I’m going to spend a majority of the weekend cleaning like crazy, I want to make my place look great.  It needs a deep cleaning and I need to go through my clothes and figure out what I need, and don’t need anymore, then put away my cold weather stuff.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Anxiety and Productivity

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The picture has nothing to do with the post, it’s just a pic I took at a fair a long time ago of a Ferris wheel 🙂

Hello! I figured out something that helps me stick to doing the things I need to do and or want to do during the day.  Writing them down in my journal.  I used to just list stuff on one of my phone apps but I find for this particular problem writing them down physically is very helpful.  It holds me accountable in a way because I’ll look back in my journal and realize if I’ve been slacking or not and it helps keep me motivated.  Sometimes days just get a way from me and a lot of time is spent thinking about things I need or want to do but never actually getting anything done.  I tend to be much more productive this way.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of agitation and anxiety lately.  Not really sure why, but it’s been hard to deal with.  This seems to happen a lot in the spring/summer months for me.  Might also be from having significantly less caffeine lately. Last night was very rough and I was having some very negative thoughts.  I ended up putting on my electric candle melter (scentsy) and reading a few stories out of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas Miracles.  I had a cup of chamomile tea also. After that I played Stardew Valley for awhile, which is extremely relaxing by the way!

I’m hoping I can become more productive over the summer.  Just getting basic things done is a good starting point. I have a habit of putting things off for way too long due to anticipatory anxiety.  I get apprehensive about almost everything, haven’t dealt with that for a long time.  For several years I was on top of my game but anxiety has been taking over the past few months. I’m also working on improving my ability to concentrate by reading for longer periods of time, and not letting myself check my phone or anything.  I started using the productivity app Habitica, it’s kind of like an RPG style way to track your habits, you level up with certain amounts of points and can get stuff for your avatar with the coins you earn, it’s really a lot of fun!

Does anyone else have any other productivity tips or ways to develop good habits?

Thanks for reading!

Another Year

My birthday is coming up in a few weeks, I’ll turn 25.  I’m actually for the first time a little on the down side about it.  I guess it just dawned on me that probably over a quarter of my life is over.  I’m not sad, it just feels sometimes like I’ve wasted so much time and I feel like I’m running out of time to do the things I want to.  I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything near what I’ve wanted to by now.  I guess I have to give myself some credit, despite the mental illness I’ve managed to complete nearly half of my associates degree.  I have quite a bit to go, and I want to eventually get my masters, but I’ll get there.  I’m persistent if anything.  I’m thankful for my life though, I’m very lucky to have supportive family and good friends.  I’ll try to focus on the fact that life in itself is a gift, and could be taken away at any moment, and I’ll appreciate and take advantage of all the time I have ahead of me and think back on all the good times I’ve had.  I guess I don’t need to measure myself in comparison to others’ lives, everyone’s journey is different.

Feeling Good!

Good morning!

I’ve been sleeping much better since I started eating regularly.  Haven’t been agitated either, pushing through any anxiety I have and doing things I need/want to despite it.

Lately I’ve been drawing every day. Right now I’m working on shading techniques.  I’m learning to have patience again and am enjoying art rather than getting frustrated with myself from perfectionism.  No two persons artwork is the same, I learned that in the art class I took last semester at my college.  We’d all draw the same still life prop but when finished everyone’s art was unique to their own style, which doesn’t make one better or less than another.

Need to get some new colored pencils.  Not sure what kind yet.  I love the intense, bright pigment of prismacolors, but the led breaks often.

Anyway, it’s a rainy day and I plan on some relaxing Netflix time. Can’t wait to start watching Rilakkuma and Kaoru!

I got a bunch of fresh produce yesterday so I plan on sauteing some yellow squash and mushrooms and having it with roasted potatoes tonight 🙂

Agitation and Anxiety

The spring/summer time is difficult for me.   I’m not exactly sure why but I get very agitated often during these months.  It’s like I’m ready to implode or something, it’s frustrating but I’ve been doing my best to calm myself down when this happens.  I think that I’ve made a lot of improvement over the years.  A long time ago if I was feeling like that I would generally act on impulse and do stupid/reckless things.  I’m able to recognize when I’m feeling on edge now and to take steps to chill out.

Last night it was coloring and videogames.  I enjoy coloring, it’s relaxing, hard to get myself to actually do it but once I do I get lost in it and feel a lot better afterwards because I’m doing something with my hands, coloring different pieces one at a time and focusing all of my attention.  Videogames of course are a great distraction for me.  Right now I’m playing Lets Go Pikachu.  Next game I plan on playing is Stardew Valley, I already own it but wanted to just focus on one or two games at a time.

I took a walk today and it felt really nice to get out and clear my mind.  The weather was beautiful.  Another thing I’ve been doing is turning on my scented wax tart melter.  Aromatherapy helps keep me grounded.

One problem when I get agitated and restless is that I feel so.. I don’t know how to describe it other than crawling out of my skin, so I get aggravated because at first it’s hard to get into any of these things when in the state of mine.  What I do is make myself take a deep breath and give it a shot and most of the time I ended up getting really absorbed into whatever distraction or hobby I’m doing and before I know it I’ve calmed down and feel much more relaxed, even happy.  It’s definitely a challenge but I think the more I turn to these things instead of letting emotions and feelings simmer and build up to an unbearable point the easier it will get.

Here’s a picture of the coloring page I did yesterday 🙂

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What’s Been Helping My Anxiety Lately

So, I’ve been actively working on combating my anxiety/panic.  So far I haven’t needed my prn anti-anxiety med in about a week.  I was having really bad panic attacks for awhile.

I’ve been drinking less beverages with caffeine (coffee, tea) and more water, that’s certainly helped I’m sure.  Praying the Rosary is very helpful as well, I had been meaning to get a new rosary for awhile and finally got one recently.  I think that the prayers being repetitive and having something to physically hold and move makes it very relaxing. I used to pray it every night and it was always a nice peaceful time.

Music is another thing that’s helped.  My friend recommended some really good headphones for me to buy since I was interested in finally getting something with good sound quality.  When I put my headphones on and turn my on my music it completely cancels out any outside noise which is great.

Something else I’ve been doing (now that my concentration has improved) is reading.  I’m a huge book lover and used to read upwards of 70 books or more a year.  Now that I can focus I’ve been getting into some good books that have been on my to-read list for awhile.  Nothing is more relaxing than a cup of tea and a good book (and my cats purring next to me!) Right now I’m reading “My Lovely Wife” by Samantha Downing.  I won an ARC of it from a Goodreads  giveaway awhile back.  It was described as “Dexter (one of my favorite shows!) meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith), so I was definitely interested and happy to win it.  It’s out now by the way, if anyone wants to read it, it was released at the end of last month.

I’ve been drawing again and doing other arts and crafts, coloring, etc.

And, lastly, walking.  Just walking anywhere around town, it helps clear my mind and the weather has been pretty nice.  🙂