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.

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.  🙂

Doing Wonderful!

Things have been going very well lately. 🙂  It’s the second week of the spring semester and I already have tons of assignments, readings, quizzes and other stuff coming from every which way!  I’m actually enjoying it though.  I love learning and it helps keep me busy.

My anxiety level has improved a lot.  I was able to face something earlier this week that was giving me anxiety for months.  Something ridiculous honestly but it’s an accomplishment for me.  Haven’t been having panic attacks, finally!

Started drawing more often and journaling.  I seem to be able to do more lately.  I was a little depressed for awhile and kind of paralyzed by anxiety so I wasn’t doing things I needed to do or even things I enjoy.  I’m motivated and happy now.

Have been eating healthier.  Much less sugar/junk food and more fruit and vegetables.  I swear I was going through sugar withdrawals for a couple days, I had such a horrible headache that would not go away and felt like crap.  My body was probably shocked by the healthy food, like what the hell is this stuff?!? lol

Bought a set of 300 anatomy study cards.  No, I am not taking an anatomy class right now…   It was partially an impulse buy and partially due to the fact that I want to learn more about the human body out of general interest and for reference when drawing.  They’re really cool!

Still reading The Chronicles of Narnia, haven’t had as much time since classes started up again but wow, it’s amazing

 

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What Helps Me When Anxious

Lately I’ve had a lot of severe anxiety but I’ve been able to cope with it pretty well.  Here’s some of the things that have helped me:

  1. Journaling:  Last night I couldn’t sleep and my mind was racing so I got up and started writing in my journal, just about everything going on in my mind.  Normally when I journal it’s just to write about what’s been going on in my life and I’ve never really used as a coping skill during an actual problem with anxiety or anything else.  It was a good experience and I’m wondering why I never used it that way before.  I just kept writing until I calmed down eventually.  I like documenting things going on in my life but this was really helpful for releasing anxiety onto paper.
  2. Videogames: I love playing games and the other night I was panicking so I decided to play Lord of the Rings LEGO on my 3DS.  It was so relaxing! I play wide array of games but I think my top games to play when trying to relax would be Animal Crossing and any of the LEGO games.   Some games are too stimulating for that purpose and more complex, which I enjoy but they aren’t as helpful when trying to reduce panic because it requires too much concentration.
  3. Drawing or Coloring: I love drawing and coloring, and I don’t do it often enough.  I think it was maybe last week I was really having a hard time sleeping so I got my sketch book out and started doodling some zentangle stuff while listening to music.  It’s a nice way to be creative and keep my hands busy.
  4. Praying: I’m Catholic, so I find praying the Rosary to be calming.  It’s repetitive and a good way to meditate, plus the beads feel nice to hold and help keep track of the prayers.  I feel like I’m holding onto my faith physically when I pray with rosary beads.

I’ve noticed a lot of the anxiousness happens at night and the four things that have been most helpful all involve using my hands (holding pencils, the rosary, video game).  I’m not really sure why I get so anxious towards the evening.  It’s a lot worse when I haven’t slept the previous night.  I get hyper aware of everything, especially my heartbeat and I start thinking I’m dying.  I’m proud of myself for taking action and distracting myself when these things happen because I had a tendency in the past to just get consumed by it and freak out even more.  Meditating while closing my eyes used to help me but for some reason it causes me to have the physical sensation that I’m flying or on a roller coaster blindfolded when I do which makes things worse.  I’ve been wondering about other hobbies I could get into that could be helpful as well.  I know a lot of people enjoy crocheting, maybe I’ll try that someday.