Anxiety sucks. Just want to throw that out in the universe for the millionth time.
Now let’s talk about how to deal with it, because at some point, it has to get dealt with. We can’t just escape our feelings/emotions, but we can damn sure try!
Time and time again, people with anxiety are told they are overreacting. We just need to CALM DOWN! That we should just breathe and take a break. That’s great, thanks for the advice, I’ll definitely keep that in mind the next time my brain switches into fucking panic mode for no obvious reason other than the book I was trying to put on the shelf fell down and that was the cherry on top that made my brain completely psycho. I’ll try that out.
It seems impossible during those moments of high anxiety, where the world is crashing around you, you can’t breathe, you can’t see straight, you can’t think straight, you can’t stop your body from completely flipping out on you. In those moments, it seems impossible to do anything to make it stop. Nobody teaches people with anxiety how to cope through that when they are little or when the anxiety first starts. By the time counseling and therapy come into play, medication is being tried out, many people with anxiety find other ways to deal with it.
These other ways can be seen as negative but if you had something wrong with you, wouldn’t you do anything to make yourself feel “normal” or “better”?
Escape/Avoidance is something that we all do to get away from the feelings we experience with anxiety. Maybe not everyone, but I know I do. I’ll get on my phone, scroll through Facebook or play one of my games for hours to avoid everything that is going on around me. I call it “self-care”, “taking a break”, when in reality, I’m literally just avoiding everything surrounding me and trying to make myself feel better about it. This in turn leads to a lot of shit not getting done. Therefore, I am unproductive on some days, the entire house will look terrible, my kids will run wild, and I will sit there and pretend everything is fine.
If you find yourself doing this, welcome to the negative side of coping. I’ll embrace that my coping skills need to get better, but I don’t know when I’ll make that happen.
My other big strategy to deal with my anxiety is to use it as a crutch sometimes for my impulsive decision making. The panic that I feel in my heart when I stop avoiding my duties will make me go out and blow $200.00 so fast because “I have to clean the house now”. To motivate myself to clean the house, I’ll go buy new wallflowers, new shower things, new sponges, new everything, even though I don’t really need any of it, but it’ll make me feel better when I’m done cleaning the house. So, that’s good then right?
I’m not sure honestly.
Last but not least, let’s talk about my absolute FAVORITE way to cope. Pretend that everything is okay, even though you really need to rage out because your brain is so overloaded. That’s the fake it till you make it part. That’s the part where you get up everyday, push through all of the bullshit that you know is a lie in your head, and you make shit happen regardless. That is the hardest part of coping with anxiety. You have to live with it. You have to find a way to adapt and incorporate it into your life somehow, because life keeps going.
I don’t think any of these things are good. I know that I don’t have the best coping strategies, these are some of the negative things I do. I think that’s okay though sometimes. I know I should try harder but I promise there is a balance. A balance you will find out about if you read Positive Coping Skills!