I don’t suffer from an anxiety disorder, but like all of us, there are situations that leave me feeling anxious. I can identify that feeling and its causes rationally. I can confront the thoughts, fears, or worries behind that anxiety at their deepest and most honest level. And that really is not always easy.
But I still can’t make the feeling stop. It’ll pass eventually. Usually thanks to some distraction or another, which might be a light-hearted comedy or simply work. Music or a walk can help as well.
Sometimes, when it feels most urgent, I sit and breathe. I’m just trying to let go of the feeling, the thoughts that caused it, the fears underneath it all.
And I tell myself these things:
I am okay. (Repeatedly)
I am here now.
I’m not in the past. And not in the future.
I am only here now.
Everything will be alright.
I’m here in this moment, which is all I have and nothing else matters.
I keep breathing. And repeating these things as a sort of mantra as much as necessary. It doesn’t really help with how I feel, but it stops my thoughts from running away, which is helpful.
What is important is that I look inside not outside. I can’t change how someone treats me, talks to me, or ignores me when I would hope for something different. I have very little influence on the outside world, especially beyond my immediate surroundings.
I can only look inside and figure out what is going on there. Thankfully, I do know myself very well and opt for complete honesty. Admittedly, there are times I’d rather lie to myself as it would just be easier. But easy doesn’t help.
Sometimes it would be nice to receive assurance and/or clarity from an outside source. Sometimes friends can provide that. But I try not to be reliant on that because friends can’t always be there.
Nobody said caring for ourselves would be easy. And I cannot imagine just how difficult it might be for someone suffering from an anxiety disorder.