This is my first “official” blog post; I’ve been coming up with ideas on what to write about and erasing them as one with anxiety does. I want this blog to be perfect, but why? Maybe it’s because of the mere idea that someone may relate to it and need the information or just my fear that someone in my micro circle will see it and read it. Then I realized, what if someone needs this? Therefore this is for you, my battle buddy (a phrase from my Army days)!
I believe I live in a state of anxiety at times. I stay alert to the world around me, and if I find relaxation, I feel guilty about my laziness. My mind, meant to send signals to protect me, becomes the thing I need protection from. What could be more fitting for my first blog post than to write about the strategies I use to combat my mental illnesses.
- Speak openly with me. Now I know this sounds strange but hearing my voice has grounded me in a state of panic or disassociation. Sound is one of the five grounding strategies. This also helps me organize my thoughts and create my action plan.
- Deep breathing. This has always sounded so cliché, but it truly makes sense. When we are panicking or stressed, our brains send signals to our bodies to protect us. We speed up breathing to help us react quickly and conserve energy. This is helpful in situations such as outrunning a sabertooth tiger. Not getting paperwork complete or emails sent on time. I promise that 99.99% of the time, your work will turn out better if you aren’t panicking.
- Reminding myself that it’s my life and I’m in control. As stated above, our mind and body react because of biology sometimes. Taking time to think about why we are depressed, stressed, panicked, etc., can be very beneficial in finding ways to treat these illnesses. My daily affirmation, which has become an hourly affirmation, is “I control me; this environment doesn’t.” This has done wonders for my dissociation since it gives me back a sense of control over my brain and body.
- Expressing my emotion. Society can be our biggest downfall; from a young age, we’re taught not to express emotions except the appropriate ones. This has primarily underdeveloped most of us. We don’t know how to express our sadness, anger, or stress, so it grows until it’s unbearable, and we lose control of it. I’m here to say it is okay to cry when you receive negative feedback. It’s okay to be angry that your ideas didn’t reflect how you pictured them. It is okay to feel stressed when you’re on a time crunch. So let yourself feel it and express it positively and regroup from there.
- Reach out and talk to someone I trust. I have a large support group (pros to being 1 of 8 kids), so I always speak with them. It isn’t just to discuss my challenges; most of the time, it’s to remind myself that I am loved and have people who care about me. Besides my therapist, who’s legally obligated to keep my darkest secrets, I have my partner Ericka (heart eyes, heart eyes for her). She may say she doesn’t know how to help me, but she honestly doesn’t understand the weight that lifts off me when I can cry in her arms or talk through things. She makes me feel as though I don’t have to carry my mental illnesses alone. There is ALWAYS someone there to talk to. I’m even there!
Before I wrap this surprisingly vulnerable masterpiece up, I want to say that everyone has ways of coping and that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. There is also a vast difference between healthy and non-healthy coping. None of your strategies should ever risk life, limb, or eyesight. You should also always consult with medical professionals about mental health help.
If you’ve found some strategies that help you and would like to share them, then post a comment. Knowledge is power! Thank you for sharing my life journey, and if you want more content, don’t forget to subscribe and follow me on social media.