for a while i’ve had to deal with a lot of anxiety/depression problems. in the process i have received and read lots of advice to help me so i thought i might make a mass post of all those things to maybe help any of you who happen to suffer from these problems but don’t know how to get help
- mess with your senses. sometimes i feel like i’m in a dream, like things aren’t real. but i’ve learned that panic attacks are basically controlled by two main things: breathing and your senses. hold an ice cube for as long as you can, take a cold shower or maybe even a hot one, spray your favorite perfume, hold your breath for ten seconds and when you exhale imagine you can see your favorite color streaming out your mouth (like when you can see your breath when it’s cold outside) something to tell you “i am here right now. this is real and these things are happening to me and i am okay”
- drink lots of water
- do breathing exercises. slow breathing not fast. trust me, fast breathing will not do you any good. you might not think it’s helping at first but after a few minutes you will feel a change. inhale for three seconds, hold it for ten seconds, exhale for three and repeat. if you can control your breathing you can control your panic attack
- go outside. getting fresh air and seeing things move around you can be a very good thing. maybe even walking around a store in walking distance. go to a park and swing. go out with people or even by yourself no matter how much you want to stay inside. it might be hard but in the end you will feel a little better!
- talk to someone. anyone. call them. talk to them in person. chat with them online. about anything. have them distract you. have them tell you about the best part of their day or what their favorite movies are and why they love them. get your mind thinking about anything else other than the bad thoughts going on in your head. have them make you tell yourself that you are okay. have them make you say it out loud.
- watch a movie or your favorite show. nothing sad or triggering. maybe a funny movie. i like pirate radio, fantastic mr fox, the goonies, or somethin on netflix. i recommend new girl, parks and rec, submarine. but also remember that staying on your computer all day and not getting out of the house can make things worse. make you feel trapped.
- go to sleep. sleeping helps a lot. i find that if i put on a calm show or movie and turn my computer brightness down all the way, close my eyes and listen to the words, i eventually calm down and fall asleep.
- stop drinking caffeine. i used to drink soda all the time. drink decaf coffee and tea, caffeine free soda rarely. remember that all it does is makes you more jittery and anxious, it isn’t helping you. try drinking chamomile tea, which has been proven to help relieve stress and anxiety.
- stop smoking. cigarettes alone aren’t good for you. i smoked a lot thinking that the cigarettes would calm me down. i actually learned that smoking contributed a lot to my anxiety problems. smoking causes you to be more stressed, you worry about your health but you feel like you need them to stay calm. cigarettes do the opposite along with caffeine. your ability to cope with stress without nicotine makes everything worse. you worry about how it affects your job, your health, etc. it adds more to your plate. smoking can also cause you to breathe too much. hyperventilating is a main cause for panic attacks. and you might even feel anxiety when you quit smoking, because you won’t have that go-to “this is the only thing that can calm me down” effect. but it gets better and once you quit you will see that you feel a million times better with out them.
- i find it very hard to eat when my anxiety or depression is bad. try eating small meals throughout the day instead of maybe two or three big meals a day. here is an article about ten foods that reduce anxiety
- exercise! go for a jog, swim, do sit-ups, dance, bike, do some sort of sport. exercise has many good benefits to helping with anxiety and depression. you can use it as a distraction to get away from negative thoughts, you increase body temperature which will help calm you down, you get them endorphin’s flowin, you feel better about yourself, you relieve stress, you might even sleep better because you’ll be all worked out after. hey it could even be a good social activity. i would not suggest yoga or meditating simply because you sit there alone in all of your thoughts. quiet doesn’t help for me.
- try out a new hobby, which might sound lame but it’s true. something to feel better about yourself if you feel like you aren’t good at anything and get you thinking about something other than how bad you feel. for me, it’s soap making and lipstick making. for you it might be cooking, drawing, knitting, gardening, pottery, sewing, hiking, flower pressing, fishing, photography, who knows! find volunteer opportunities in your area. try things out. you could even meet new people through it. it’s crucial to hang on to things such as hanging out with people, hobbies and other interests. depression can make you stay inside for days on end and that does nothing for you and your mental health. you will feel better doing things that keep your mind and body productive.
- if you are at your worst and do not feel safe call 911. do not worry about the costs, do not worry about what people think. there are ways to get hospital bills paid for if you don’t have insurance and people at the hospital will help you if you don’t know how. they will give you steps to get you the help you need. everything will be okay. if you don’t feel safe you need to get help.
- acknowledge that you have a problem, a problem that is not in your control and not your fault, acknowledge that you can get help and things can feel better. you are not alone with your anxiety or depression. many people have these problems and have learned how to cope and feel better. maybe by seeing a doctor, maybe by reading tips online, maybe by going to therapy or taking medication. but there is a way to feel better and you can get help. remember that people love you, even if it might not show. anxiety and depression are not your fault. you do not deserve to have these problems. and know that it can and will get better even at your darkest times. you can’t ignore your problems and hope they go away. you need to accept them and evaluate what your best option is for helping yourself.
- and remember that you are strong and you can get through anything
|—||Judith Hanson Lasater (via cocolifestyle)|
When someone reminds you of how important you are to them, how they still care for and love you, it’s like so much weight has been lifted off of your shoulders. A big relief, that they’re still there. Reassuring, catching up on things. It’s a good feeling.
Happiness doesn’t come from not having pain anymore. It comes from knowing how to deal with it. From not being afraid of it.
|—||Vargus, Archie’s Final Project (via secretcigarette)|
I deal with suicidal, unipolar depression and I take medication daily to treat it. Over the past seven years, I’ve had two episodes that were severe and during which I thought almost exclusively of suicide. I did not eat much and lost weight during these episodes. I couldn’t sleep at all, didn’t even think about sex, and had constant diarrhea. The first thing I did each morning was vomit. My mind played one thought over and over, which was “Kill yourself.” It was also accompanied by a constant, thrumming pain that I felt through my whole body. I describe the physical symptoms because it helps to understand that real depression isn’t just a “mood.” These two episodes were the most difficult experiences of my life, by a wide margin, and I did not know if I would make it through them. To illustrate how horrible it was, being in jail in a wheelchair with four broken limbs after the car accident that prompted me to get sober eight years ago was much, much easier and less painful. That isn’t an exxageration and I hope it helps people understand clinical depression better; I’m saying that I would rather be in jail in a wheelchair with a body that doesn’t work than experience a severe episode of depression.
To clarify the timeline, I got sober eight years ago and my first episode of depression was seven years ago. I had been in talk-therapy with a psychologist for months and was getting used to life without booze. It’s my understanding that it’s not terribly rare for someone in early sobriety to get depressed. I started to exhibit the symptoms I described above and had no idea what was happening. My psychologist urged me to see a psychiatrist, as did my family, among whom alcoholism and depression are old pals, so to speak. Everyone wanted me to go on medication, except me. I felt that it would be “weak” to do so and that I could soldier through and get a handle on it. But everything got worse and it was terrifying. Most of my thoughts were telling me to kill myself and I began fantasizing constantly about suicide. The images of my head being blown apart by a shotgun blast or me swimming out into the ocean until I got tired and drowned played over and over in my head. My whole body hurt, all the time.
Fortunately, a tiny part of me recognized my thought process as “crazy.” I knew that if anyone other than me was describing these symptoms I would lovingly handcuff them and take them to the hospital and help the shit out of them, whether they liked it or not. So I tried very hard to step out of myself and look at the situation with a modicum of objectivity and “imagine” that I was someone who deserved help.
Quite literally I thought, “I don’t think anyone else would shoot me with a shotgun, so maybe, temporarily, I’ll postpone that and try this Lexapro that everyone who knows me is recommending.”
It worked. It wasn’t magical, but it addressed some chemical issues in my brain that allowed me, gradually, to feel better and actually experience my life. I ate again, slept again, got boners when I encountered attractive women, and made normal number twos when I went to the bathroom. I didn’t and don’t feel euphoric all the time or anything. I still get angry, sad, and afraid sometimes. But I also get happy, excited, and horny too. I experience the full range of human emotions, rather than just one horrible one.
Just under eighteen months ago, after a couple of years of both my marriage and my decision to pursue comedy full-time, I experimented with a lower dose of medication and had another episode. It was as bad or worse than the first one, but thankfully I had some idea of how to deal with it. This episode drove home the knowledge that, like alchoholism, depression demands respect and attention. Whether it’s a “good” thing or a “bad” thing, I cannot pretend to know, but it exists and it can kill you dead.
My psychiatrist adjusted my dose and I got feeling better over time. If you know me personally, all this information may surprise you, as I think I generally have a pretty sunny demeanor. For most of my life, I’ve been a happy, optimistic guy. But for whatever reason, I’ve had depression of a serious, life-threatening nature rear its head a couple of times.
The sole reason I’ve written this is so that someone who is depressed or knows someone who is depressed might see it. While great strides have been made in mental health over the years, certain stigmas still exist. I strongly resisted medication at first. But after having been through depression and having had the wonderful good fortune to help a couple of people who’ve been through it, I will say that as hard as it is, IT CAN BE SURVIVED. And after the stabilization process, which can be and often is fucking terrifying, a HAPPY PRODUCTIVE LIFE is possible and statistically likely. Get help. Don’t think. Get help.