Friday, May 18, 2012


I feel anxious today. The trigger was a small (MIL-related, of course) thing that kind of grew and became stomach-churning, motivation-destroying and all-consuming.

I don't really have good mechanisms for dealing with acute episodes of anxiety in my life. I've come across ways to feel more grateful, less grumpy, more energetic...but can't seem to find a good method for alleviating anxiety. One trigger can set off a month of sleepless nights and endless worry spirals.

I know there is medication for this kind of thing, but I really don't feel I have a clinical anxiety disorder right now. Much of the time I'm not anxious at all. And even when I am, its not debilitating---doesn't keep me from going through my day & doing what I need to do---it just makes it so much harder. I know people that have crippling clinical anxiety so I do have a comparison.

Everyone has stressors and worries in their life, some more than others. And everyone processes the stress in different ways---some healthier than others. I really believe that I can work towards doing better at this, I just haven't hit upon the solution yet.

So when a lovely walk home on a Friday evening in gorgeous weather didn't lift the feeling, I decided to be proactive. I got home & knocked out some chores for immediate satisfaction. I over-the-top doted on the dog with hugs & petting, took her for a walk, and ran around the park with her until we were out of breath & laughing. I smiled at my fellow dog-walkers and struck up a conversation with my neighbor. Then I sat down to write out my feelings. Accomplishments, exercise, acting loving, and social connection. I'm feeling a bit better already, but the real test will be when I try to sleep!

Any other good methods for coping acutely with anxiety?


  1. Xanax?

    In all seriousness, I got my husband to start taking antidepressants (and he got a script for Xanax too) a little while back because of his anxiety. He reports that he feels much better now, and things seem to bother him a lot less than they did before. I should probably take them too... but like you I feel like I should be able to deal with this myself.

    So... when this happens what works for me? Um. Hm. Exercise, getting stuff done, socializing with other fun people who talk about things that are interesting to me, talking to patients helps (interestingly enough -- it forces me to think about something other than myself), forcing myself not to think about everything I have to do, forcing myself to purge the anxious thought and let go. Interestingly, I used to do rock climbing (indoors) and found it to be about 1000x better at relieving my anxiety than running or swimming. I think it's because of the focus required so that you don't fall. Yoga might have the same effect, or maybe even ballet. Something that requires you to focus intently on something other than your anxious thoughts.

    I'd love to get back into climbing.... there really was nothing else like it.

    1. I can only comment as a reply, for some reason. It sounds like you're doing a perfect job already of negotiating these waters. I mean, your process shows a lot of self knowledge and self love, which is so wise. But I do use a strategy a therapist gave me a long time ago. You put a concrete label of the specific anxiety, you estimate the probability of it happening, and you devise a plan for what you would do if it did. All about downregulating those sympathetic nervous system responses with a little cognition. Anyway, sorry to hear about this rough patch.