There’s no two ways about it. Anxiety sucks.
(I feel I should apologise for the lack of images, t’internet won’t let me load any.)
I was never an anxious person. I had several traumatic events in my childhood, I’ve worked in stressful jobs, my husband is in the Armed Forces and has been deployed several times to war zones, I volunteered in the police for a few years – I wasn’t anxious during any of these times. Since getting ill however, my anxiety is through the roof. I’ve had panic attacks where I felt like I was dying, I have near-constant underlying anxiety and it’s not me, it’s not who I am.
But it’s here. And I have to learn to deal with it.
Symptoms of anxiety are scary:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feelings of doom
- Pins and needles in arms and legs
And plenty, plenty more. You can sometimes feel like there’s something really badly wrong with you, even though it’s “just” anxiety.
Sometimes though, you don’t have any physical symptoms but you have bad thoughts that go round and round in your head. “What if…?” All those what if’s that if you indulge in them, will scoop you up and carry you off.
So what can you do about anxiety?
I’ve googled a lot. A lot. Alot.
Talking about it can help, but not all of us can afford counselling. The waiting list for anything on the NHS is reallyreallyreally long, and even then, they might decide after your initial visit that you’re good to go.
So, as with most thing ME/CFS related, it’s up to you.
– Exercise is one thing. Obviously if you’re metabolically challenged (like me), this feels like a kick in the teeth. If I could exercise, I wouldn’t be ill and I wouldn’t have anxiety issues. There’s always yoga, tai chi or qi gong, exercise that can be done even if you can’t get out of bed. I currently use Movement for Modern Life app, as well as follow a lot of Mimi Kuo-Deemer’s videos on YouTube. She’s very gentle and soothing, perfect level for me at the moment! Here’s a link if you need it.
– Meditation is another although sometimes I find I’m waaaaaay too anxious to sit quietly. I feel jittery like I’m about to cry so sitting still isn’t going to work. Meditation is great when you’re not overly anxious but you want to maintain a level baseline.
– EFT or tapping is really good. Brad Yates is easy to follow.
– Get outside! Even when I’m having a really bad day, once I’ve spent the morning and most of the afternoon in bed, I can usually at least stand outside and enjoy a warm drink while listening to birds, feeling the wind on my face. Sometimes I can’t manage to stay out for the whole drink, but even 3 minutes is better than nothing I reckon.
– Eat lots of vegetables and fruits, and keep to a good sleep routine.
So that’s what I’ve found useful, I know this post is a bit all over the place – I actually started writing this in mid-January but I’m in a loooooong dip at the moment and I don’t have the spoons to do the basics, let alone blog posts.
In a weird way I’m actually sort of grateful that I’m struggling with this. Two of my children have really bad anxiety and I NEVER would have understood them without going through it myself.