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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Allowing Others to Help

So… things have been rocky but are looking up.  I think part of my problem is that I really dislike needing and asking for help.  I called and scheduled an earlier appointment with my therapist, we had one scheduled for a few weeks from now, but I realized I need some support during this time.  I’ve never done that before in over 3 years of seeing her.  She was completely fine with it of course.  I started having re occurrence of symptoms several months ago, but let it go because I thought it wasn’t that big of a deal or important enough to mention.  I thought I could deal with it myself, and I did try.  I tried very hard, to “fix” the symptoms without informing my doctor or therapist about them, until finally realizing that I need to ask for help, I can’t do everything completely on my own.  I can use my coping skills of course, to make things more manageable, but when voices and whatnot are so bad that I’m wanting to escape from life, there’s only so much I can do. Somehow I’ve maintained getting As in the classes I’m taking, and completing huge papers on time.  Not exactly sure how, the past couple weeks were kind of a blur.  I’m really hard on myself especially with college.  I love learning and want the degree I’m working towards more than anything, so when this started affecting my education again I got worried. It’s definitely a good thing the semester ends in two weeks.  I will be off till the end of January.

Another issue related to this is that I felt like a complete failure for hearing voices again.  I had a year with virtually no symptoms, not even mood problems. It was amazing, the most peaceful time in my life.  When I started dealing with this stuff again I felt like I screwed up or did something wrong somehow.  I just viewed myself as a failure, like there’s some sort of flaw with me as a person.  I’m starting to realize that those beliefs are not true.  I’m not a bad person or failure for having symptoms come back.  A year with none was great but considering I spent a large part of my life with them it’s unlikely that they would go away 100% forever.  I mean, it’s possible, who knows, maybe someday.  I’m going to keep moving forward and managing things the best I can, while allowing others to help me as well when necessary.

 

 

My 10 Favorite Coping Skills

  1. Journaling: great way to get emotions out!
  2. Art:  drawing, coloring, arts and crafts can be very relaxing.  Many people enjoy adult coloring for stress relief.
  3. Watching a Comedy:  there’s nothing better than to laugh when you’re feeling anxious or down.  Look up funny videos online or watch your favorite comedy! (I enjoy watching clips from Ellen (DeGeneres) on YouTube, they always make me smile.
  4. Talk to a friend or family member:  It’s good to have someone you can talk with who will listen without judging.
  5. Getting Out of The House:  This is a big one.  The worse you feel the more you isolate and it becomes an endless cycle because you start feeling even more depressed or anxious as a result not getting out.  Staying inside all day by yourself feeds into obsessive/repetitive negative thoughts. So get out, go somewhere.  Anywhere.  Sit outside in the fresh air, take a walk, visit a museum, sit in a park, go to the zoo.  All these things can make you feel more connected with the outside world.  I know for myself the longer I stay indoors and don’t leave (sometimes it border on agoraphobia) the more distorted my thoughts become.
  6. Play With a Pet: Pets are amazing, they can decrease anxiety and even reduce blood pressure.  If you don’t have a pet maybe volunteer at a local shelter and help care for the animals, or play with a friend’s pet.  I know the most relaxing thing for me is when my two cats take nap with me or lay on me and purr.
  7. Socialize: Join some sort of group.  It doesn’t have to be a long term commitment.  There are many free activities at public libraries such as yoga, arts and crafts, book discussions.  Or hang out with a good friend.  When I hang out with a really good friend of mine it pretty much completely takes my mind off my problems because we have so much fun together.
  8. Exercise: one of the most effective ways to deal with anxiety is to get out all that extra energy.  Physical activity can greatly improve sleep quality.  It’s good for the body and the mind.
  9. Play a game/do a puzzle: perfect for taking your mind off problems and focusing it on the present moment.  It can provide a brief escape.
  10. Read or engage in some other hobby: I have many hobbies and I find that I almost never get bored now.  I always have something to keep my mind occupied when I have down time.  Learning new languages, music/instruments, find something you enjoy and stick to it!

This is a very basic list of some of the coping skills that have helped me, there are many others you can try.  I’ve seen lists with hundreds of coping ideas, so look around, your bound to come across something that may be beneficial to you, good luck! 🙂

  1. Sunflowers

(Picture taken by me Summer 2018 at a local rose garden)

Inpatient Tips

I have been having trouble coming up with posts to make which is why I haven’t written anything new in quite some time.  I guess I’m just not that creative, so if anyone has any ideas feel free to post them in the comments.

This topic came to mind today and I felt it is important to go over.

I have been in psych hospitals several times starting when I was a teenager.  Both voluntarily and involuntarily.  If you have the choice, choose to go voluntarily.  You get treated pretty much the same regardless at the hospital but the police will likely treat you like a criminal if they have to bring you there.

Here are my tips:

  • Bring clothes (stuff that doesn’t have strings attached) bring something warm because most hospitals are cold.
  • Don’t bring any sharp stuff
  • Participate in group.  You generally have several groups a day, at least that’s how the hospitals around here are.  Make sure you are active in them.  If you’re there involuntarily they will be looking to see your progress in the groups.
  • Advocate for yourself.  If you feel like something is wrong don’t hesitate to talk to the director of the program about your concerns.  I once had an incompetent psychiatrist who tried to get me sent to a residential facility even though I was doing 100 times better and it was only my first time being hospitalized and all the staff members agreed that I was doing much better.  Thankfully he discharged me once I was there for the max time.
  • Bring something to read.  There are several hours in the day where you aren’t doing anything, a book can help you escape mentally and make the time go by faster.
  • If your doctor says they’ll put a hold on you if you decide to sign yourself out (if you’re there voluntarily) listen to them and just wait until they decide to discharge you.  The last thing you want is to be there on an involuntary status, it will just keep you there longer.
  • Take the meds they give you, complying with the treatment is a big part of recovering.  If you have issues with any of your medications be sure to voice your concerns to the doctor.
  • Do NOT start dating another patient you meet there.  It is not the place nor time and you each have your own problems you’re trying to resolve.

I’m just putting down things that come to mind right away when I think about my inpatient stays.

It can be a wonderful experience.  Take advantage of the therapy and groups.  Get the help you need and most importantly be honest with your doctor.  If you’re not feeling better, don’t tell them you are, tell them the truth so they can help you.

Coping Skills

Coping skills are what the name implies, things that can help you cope with tough situations in life.

Different things work for different people.

What do you enjoy doing?

Think about that for awhile and try to come up with a list of things you can do easily when times are rough and you need a distraction.

Here are some of my top coping skills that have helped me many times.

Journaling

This is definitely at the top of the list for me.  It’s a great feeling to be able to just write and get all your feelings out, especially when you have nobody to talk to.  It’s also interesting to look back at patterns in the future and see how you dealt with things before.  I personally use a physical journal, I just happen to like that better.  You can do it however you want, blog, draw, write in a journal.

Coloring

Another big one, this is insanely helpful.  You may think it sounds silly for adults to color but it’s not at all.  It’s extremely relaxing, it gets your mind off what’s going on around you and on deciding which color to use next.  A very good distraction tool.  There are thousands of coloring books you can find online and order, even ones specifically for adults meaning that they’re much more intricate and time consuming than a child’s coloring book, but then again simple is fun to.  Whatever makes you happy!

Music

This is a tricky one, because naturally you will tend to be drawn to more depressing/angry songs when your depressed or anxious.  That’s okay too but it’s not good to dwell on bad feelings.  Try making a playlist with a mix of different types of songs so it doesn’t get to depressing.

Those are my top 3 coping skills, here is a simplified list of things that help me relax or take my mind off things.  Feel free to reply with what helps you or tweet me @ChaoticMindBlog

  • Relaxing shower or bath
  • Going for a swim
  • Taking a walk
  • Reading a good book
  • Watching a funny or positive movie/videos
  • Meditating
  • Arts and crafts
  • Playing with your pet(s)
  • Taking an afternoon nap (refreshing)
  • Practicing muscle relaxation techniques
  • Listening to relaxing sounds/music
  • Organizing/cleaning (helps some people feel better)
  • Having a cup of tea or cocoa

You Can Succeed

Well, the title is pretty cheesy but it’s reality,  You can succeed in life no matter what mental illness ails you.   There is help out there, reach out to a school counselor, a therapist, a psychiatrist if necessary.  You can get to a point where you are stable, it may take time and several med adjustments but you can accomplish your goals.  Whether it be going to college, learning to draw, learning to play an instrument or getting a job, you can succeed just like any other person, it will just take more time and patience.  I started college right out of High School but wasn’t currently diagnosed with this illness yet and didn’t even make it past the first week due to distracting symptoms.   Now, a few years later, I am stable enough to try again.  I am taking 2 classes and am doing very well in both of them.  What are some of your goals?

10 Quick Tips: Coping With Anxiety

Whether you have a full blown anxiety disorder or not, everyone has anxiety to some extent. Stress affects everyone and in different ways.  Here are some coping skills to help deal with anxiety.

  1. Journaling: This is the one I use most often. It feels good to get my thoughts out on paper.  It’s also a nice way to record and track progress.
  2. Coloring: It’s time consuming and very therapeutic
  3. Doing Puzzles: Crosswords, word finds, things like that plus it makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something.
  4. Stress Ball/Tangle toy: These are both things you can fidget with that can take your mind off what’s bothering you for a little bit.
  5. Tea: Drinking a warm cup of tea or cocoa can be very relaxing.
  6. Showering/Bathing: Again, both very relaxing.
  7. Listening to Music: Even sing if you want to, put on some happy music
  8. Deep Breathing Exercises: Breathe in and out slowly, try to get your heart rate to calm down if you’re having a panic attack.
  9. Progressive Muscle Relaxation: This entails tightening your muscles for a certain amount of time, releasing, and so on.
  10. Websites: Going on support forums like http://forums.psychcentral.com/  Or really any site like Pinterest, something that takes your mind off things and gets you to focus on something more positive.