How I Cope

It seems now is a good a time as any to discuss my methods of coping with anxiety and depression as today I am not feeling my best. Throughout the recent therapy sessions I have had, I have come to realise that the ‘safety behaviours’ that I used to employ do not work for me. These behaviours included avoiding situations, not talking to people due to an imagined embarrassment or such or only going to places with someone I trusted. With this in mind, below I have stated the new and improved behaviours I have adopted, and now practice nearly every day.

  1. Meditation. This is not due to studying Buddhism, many mental health blogs/institutions recommend this as a way to calm your mind. For me, my mind is working overtime, thinking of many different things at all times. It was difficult for me to start this, so I started with my eyes open, just sitting. I tried to concentrate on my breath, in then out. I started at a minute, then worked up to 20 minutes. I feel this may grow, but at the moment this is working at this level.
  2. Acknowledge the issue at hand. Not the most practical, however, by actively noticing the anxiety and/or depression, you become actively aware of it. It becomes a ‘thing’. Something you can look at – at a distance – and try to understand it, or at least let it go into the background. This is something that I am always trying to do, sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t. However, the simple act of actively knowing you have an issue means that you are tackling it, facing it and fighting it.
  3. Preparing for the situation. I have read and been giving lots of advice telling me how I should prepare. For example, interviews. I should research the company, memories answers to their questions etc. However, at some point you have to rely on your own comprehension of the situation. You can’ always rely on memory, sometimes you need to rely on your ability to adapt and think on the spot. It seems silly I know, but I don’t research as much as I should, I don’t prepare as much as I should. The same goes for conversations or going to that party you have been invited to. I feel over preparing can be counter-productive. The more you stay ‘in the moment’ the more in-tune you may be in the event.
  4. Consider what happens after. Again, based on going to an event, meeting or what not, I like to plan what will happen after. I feel sometimes my anxiety traps me. It forces me to only think of the event and not see anything else – an enforce tunnel vision if you will. For this reason, I like to think about what I will do after it. What will I watch on TV, what will I have for lunch. For me, it makes the event become a part of the day and not the whole day. It in some ways, takes the power away from the anxiety and places it back in your hands.
  5. Lastly, be in the moment. This one is one of the more difficult to practice, one that I struggle with, but when it works it really helps. Like meditation, I firstly concentrate on my breathing. It’s a consistent. It’s always there, always with me. I think about the way I am moving. For example, if I’m walking I am mindfully noticing the way my footy collides with the floor. I notice the tiny muscles needed to control my legs, and with it, my lungs drawing in air. I notice the cars on the road to the man eating a bacon sandwich in the café I just passed. Like I said, this one needs consistent practice, but when it works it really helps.

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