DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a professional. I am only going based off my experiences, trial and error, and personal research. If you are struggling with anxiety and if you are suicidal or having thoughts of suicide, please call 9-1-1 or 1-800-273-8255
I have struggled with anxiety since I was about 16 or 17. I have no idea where it came from or how it truly started. It wasn’t worry like how some people believe anxiety to be. I really had no worries. Instead, I would go to school, and in my first class of the day, my stomach would turn and… let’s just say that my colon didn’t cooperate. I thought it was just that my diet was out of balance. Because I was a teenager, I didn’t do anything about it.
As time went on, it continued no matter what I ate or when. When I moved out, things got worse because of the boyfriend I had at the time. I started having anxiety attacks. I would shake, cry, and I would exhaust myself to the point I would crash and sleep for hours. A couple years ago, it started getting so bad that my throat would close up. I would choke as I was crying. I’m sure I looked like a mess. By this time, I had accepted what it was, and I wasn’t ashamed. In the past couple of months, I have only had one attack. In past years, I would have about 2 or 3 a WEEK! (I consulted with my boyfriend for confirmation) I would also even have flashbacks. So how did I deal with it?
Here are six tips that I use or have used to get yourself through if you find yourself struggling like I did:
- Remind yourself the worst is over
For me, the start of the anxiety attacks began when I was being emotionally and sexually abused. It was not a fun time, to put it lightly. I am out of the situation now. Six years free, actually. I no longer need to fear his treatment of me. I need to go forward, and so do you.
2. Re-establish the present
I constantly need to remind myself that my current (and wonderful) boyfriend is NOT the guy from the past. I need to realize what surrounds me and notice that the abuser is not there. This was really helpful when I had flashbacks. Some call this Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). I used a more specific form called Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) which is used for Borderline Personality Disorder which I was diagnosed with in September 2010.
3. Talk to yourself from the past (you will get to better times)
Sounds silly but especially with flashbacks being involved, it won’t change what happened, but it can help you re-establish the present since you, in the present, would be talking to the past you. It forces you to realize that you aren’t there and you have made it through and things are better now.
4. Be patient with yourself
This won’t change overnight. It didn’t for me. I still struggle but not as bad. Some therapy or practices will work, some won’t at all, and some won’t work right away. Permanent change takes time.
5. Get help
There is professional help out there especially for serious cases. You can either seek help from a pastor, Christian counselor, or a non-religious counselor. I sought help many times. Five times. I got frustrated with telling my story over and over and over. It ended up making it worse for me after the third time attempting to find help. My biggest problem with this was that I couldn’t find someone I felt comfortable with. I gave up. Instead, I have found my help in God and that has been enough for me. Anxiety can be paired with many other issues like suicidal thoughts. I was there at one point as well. Please, if you are having thoughts, serious or not, please call the number at the top of this post and seek professional help. You matter. You are loved. You are worth it. Keeping on with life may seem scary and daunting, but it is worth the journey.
Praying has been my lifeline. Sometimes, you just need to talk it out. When seeking professional help, they may try to explain things that are going on in your head. That can be helpful, but it also can be irritating when you are filled with anxiety. Praying allows you to get it all out, seek out Scripture, and then listen to God.
I hope these tips help. I want to create a call to action now…
COMMENT BELOW: If you have used any of these tips, how did they work out for you? Are you going to try these in the future – which one and why do you think it will help?
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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 NIV
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NIV