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Tips on Surviving Anxiety

Updated on October 26, 2016

Mental Disability is Common

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It has come to my attention that it is becoming more and more common for people to have a mental illness, and that more people are speaking out about their mental illness publicly. Almost every single day I am seeing people on my newsfeed through Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram speaking about their daily struggles to their fellow peers. Although more people are open to the fact they have a mental illness, there are still many people out there that are too afraid to come out and just say that they do as well, and this is fully understandable. It is fully understandable to me because I am the exact same way. I am even feeling risky writing such an article on a website where people do not know who I truly am, or even my real name, I too have only select people in my personal life know that I have been living with OCD and Anxiety Disorder. No, this is not an article to create a sense of self-pity and reliance, this is an article to help build knowledge on the fact that people are not alone or to help people know how to handle these situations. But yes, I will be giving some personal information about my disability to help those that do live without one at least understand where I am coming from while I write this piece, and that seems like a good place to start.

My Life Living with a Disability

I would like to begin with the stereotype that OCD seems to carry. OCD is not about keeping things perfectly clean all the time. That is only a select part of OCD that not even everyone with the disability burdens. I am probably one of the messiest people in the world. My bedroom consists of clothes laying all over the floor although there is a hamper not even one metre away from anywhere I stand. Makeup scattered across my dresser with select jewelry here and there. Just because I have OCD does not mean that I have to keep my personal area perfectly tidy and clean.

I found out that I had OCD in the fifth grade when I expressed to my parents my fear of getting sick and my constant need to wash my hands until they were red and raw. From then on I saw a counsellor until the eighth grade. I still deal with OCD every day but it is not to the extent that it used to be. I was terrified of touching certain objects because I had this idea in my head that they were covered in some poisonous liquid that would kill me if I made contact with them. Objects that terrified me were batteries. I was constantly afraid that a battery may be leaking and every time I came into contact with one I immediately would run to wash my hands. Even to this day I still hesitate and give a battery a full look over before I decide to touch it. One of my favourite memories is my older brother touching a battery to his tongue to try to prove to me that they would not harm me. If that is not a loving sibling than I do not know what is.

Another aspect of my disorder was, and still is, the constant fear of getting sick with disease and illness. I have a never ending terror of thought about getting cancer. No matter how hard I try, I am almost constantly worrying. Of course I try to keep myself as busy as I can so that I do not have time to sit around and think about all of my worries which usually tends to work great for me, but no one can always be on the go. Any small tinge of pain I get in any part of my body I automatically think it is something more than just a simple body pain. This becomes a huge distraction when it comes to my school work because sitting through a boring three hour lecture gives you too much time to think, because who REALLY wants to listen for three hours? My worrying tends to come and go. In the summer I am usually fine because I am stress free, working a job I love, and busy playing recreational sports with good friends. But during the school year when I am piled up with school work and stress, my OCD likes to creep up on me and convince me that I am probably dying. It is absolutely horrible at times. My anxiety sometimes builds up to a point of snapping and I get stuck in an anxiety attack where my body, in a way, completely shuts down and breathing becomes almost unbearable. I would not wish those attacks upon anyone. My story about anxiety disorder, specifically OCD, is a continuing story because it is something I will be dealing with for the rest of my life. But, you get the gist.

The real point of this article is to express some simple things people can do for themselves if they are stuck in similar situations. Anxiety affects everyone whether it is small anxiety or large anxiety. The more it builds up, anyone is prone to an attack. Stress and anxiety have even caused certain people strokes. I want to help anyone try and avoid these awful situations.

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What can you do to Help Yourself?

Not all of these ideas will work for everyone, but select ones may help different people. These are just ideas that I know work for me, so maybe they will help others too.

Remove yourself:

The most important way to help yourself is to realize when something or some environment is bothering you. If you are watching a television show and what the TV is showing you begins to bother you, and you feel yourself being bothered by it, you NEED to change the channel or leave the room. You have to be able to recognize when things are harming you mentally so that you can remove yourself from the current situation and avoid a messy situation of that feeling of anxiety creeping up on you while you are trying to sleep that same night. For example, sometimes when I am sitting with my friends or family they may begin a conversation on the topic of illness. Obviously these topics bother me so I will remove myself from the environment until they have a change of topic that I can feel comfortable being a part of. Get yourself out of situation you know upset you so it doesn’t affect you later on.

Vent:

Talking to someone about these issues is never easy because people are afraid of judgement. Although it is hard to talk about, people tend to feel a million times better after they have talked to someone close about what is on their mind. Whether it is your therapist, your best friend, your significant other, or even your mother or father, try to talk to someone when you feel like something is upsetting you. I am not too fond of expressing when I begin to really worry that I may be sick with some disease, but after I talk to my mother/best friend/boyfriend about it, and they assure me I am fine, I can continue my day feeling much more relaxed and relieved. Venting is one of the best things to do for yourself, even social workers vent to another social worker after a session with someone to avoid stress later on.

Avoid Google:

If you are worrying about something, say that bump on your leg, avoid google. Googling symptoms is known to be one of the worst ideas because you will soon find out that you are dying, when in reality it is just a bug bite. If it is something really concerning you, contact your doctor. But please, avoid researching on your own because you will not feel better about anything from what the internet tells you.

Keep Yourself Busy:

One of the best things I do for myself is distracting myself. I like to keep my agenda busy with class, homework, studying, seeing friends, sports, singing, playing video games and even writing for Hubpages so that I am busy most of the time. At times this does get exhausting because you just want to sit down and relax for an evening, make sure you do that too! You can’t be busy 24/7 or you will just burn yourself right out. I keep myself busy just most of the time so that I do not have time to just sit around and think too much because that is when I begin to worry the most. Find a new hobby that is going to keep you entertained and keep your mind busy. In other words: keep busy but not too busy.

Go to your Happy Place:

This sounds extremely cliché and cheesy but it truly works. During those times you are not keeping yourself busy, or maybe you just do not like to be busy all of the time because you are more low key, sitting down and thinking about good, positive thoughts is so helpful. During my worst anxiety attack the way that I snapped myself out of it was by laying in a dark room breathing slowly and thinking about my upcoming vacation with my boyfriend. I thought about how fun it was going to be and all of the things we had planned to do and I was able to calm myself down and breathe normally again. Laying in a dark room and thinking about positive things, daydreaming about happy thoughts, or planning something fun in your head is a great way to keep your mind busy and yourself happy.

These are the techniques I use to help myself feel better in my worst times. They will not help every single person, but I am sure some people will benefit using the same ones.

Source

Avoiding anxiety is one of the best things a person can do for themselves and their health. I hope that people will take recognition of their need to avoid anxiety in their lives because it will be a great benefit for them. For those people out there that have similar cases like me, you aren’t alone. There are so many people out there, people you may even know, that have similar cases and different forms of anxiety disorders. No one should ever feel ashamed for their disorder and feel as though they have to hide it from the world because they are afraid of mockery. For those people out there that do not have a disorder, if you know someone with one or one day someone confesses to you that they have one please, I beg of you, do not be ashamed of who they are as a person. Just because someone has a disorder does not mean that they should be oppressed by the rest of society because they are deemed as people who are different from the social norm that the media portrays. As doctor Seuss would say, “Don’t give up I believe in you all. A person’s a person, no matter how small.”


I am happy to answer any questions left in the comments or through email.

Thank you

-Christy

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    • Christy Maria profile image
      Author

      Christy Maria 2 years ago

      Hi Dale,

      I am very happy to read a comment from a writer who writes openly! You are right when you say that I am also very open when it comes to writing personal stories, feelings, issues, and more. I am content to read that you felt as if you personally felt the struggles as well because, as a writer, my goal is to push my true feelings and passion into my writing so that readers personally feel the emotions that I express as they read. Thank you for the positive comment about my work. From what I can tell from your comment you are also a very passionate and open writer so I will definitely be looking at your page and going through some of your articles as well.

      Thank you for the comment Dale.

      it is readers like you that keep me writing,

      Christy

    • Inspired to write profile image

      Dale J Ovenstone 2 years ago from Wales UK

      Christy

      Hi, hope you are having a great day.

      Please excuse me I do write a tad openly I hope you don't mind. I usually comment on the impression I get from an article that grabs my attention and about the person who wrote it. After you brought awareness of the subject headlined, I too felt your struggles, plights and jubilation. And I feel the most you are extremely happy when you are creating, just like I am.

      Me, sitting here, and forever seeking to discover new information (when I am not working on some project or other) and bouncing around the world wide internet. Suddenly, a certain email headline compelled me to read your article.

      After reading this interesting story of how you overcome ailments using power of the mind techniques, I was quite enlightened, a quality read and thank you for sharing.

      You do write openly and freely which makes for a pleasant read. So many up and coming writers struggle with this concept alone, to write openly. Suddenly something blocks them, the wrong thoughts cloud their mind and the storm takes control. But not you Christy, you practice the art of living life daily with positive mental techniques which work and you help others conquer their battles.

      Best regards, Dale

    • Christy Maria profile image
      Author

      Christy Maria 2 years ago

      Thank you very much. I completely understand what you mean about depression. People hear words like depression and assume a sad person. People hear Ocd and assume a tidy and neat person. People hear skitzofrenia and assume an insane person. Peoples assumptions and stereotypes are so wrong. I wish you the best as well. :)

    • Kappygirl profile image

      Kappygirl 2 years ago

      I tagged this "Awesome" because you were brave enough to be vulnerable to the world. I battle depression and people just don't understand it's not about being sad. Even though I don't have OCD, I like the suggestions you gave. I wish you the best in your daily walk :)

    • Christy Maria profile image
      Author

      Christy Maria 2 years ago

      You are exactly right. They say the first step is acceptance and I think that is true. Once you know yourself that you have something like anxiety, Ocd, etc, it becomes easier to help yourself. Thanks for the feedback!

    • florypaula profile image

      Paula 2 years ago

      I never saw a doctor about my problems because I didn't knew I had any for a long time. I thought everybody is like me, feeling uncomfortable with certain things, doing things in a certain order or in a certain number of times, and so on. I've realized on my own that it is ok to leave the room, change the channel, avoid the people which made me not find my place and get anxious.

      Leaving with a problem gets easier once you understand you have a problem, what that is and how to avoid trigger it. Great hub.

      Have a nice day.

    • Christy Maria profile image
      Author

      Christy Maria 3 years ago

      Thank you very much Jennifer! I hope I can help others overcome and deal with mental struggles.

    • Jennifer-Louise-W profile image

      Jennifer-Louise 3 years ago from Nottingham

      A very interesting, well-written, useful article. Thank you for sharing your experience! I'm sure it will help many others. :)

    • Christy Maria profile image
      Author

      Christy Maria 3 years ago

      Hello Amanda,

      Thank you very much for your insightful message, I will definitely look into it. I know some people who have done cognitive behavioral therapy and it has really helped them. My ways of coping definitely will not help everyone, but most of the time they have been beneficial to me. I have actually been debating further therapy so I will be looking into this. Thanks!

    • amanda5577 profile image

      Amanda 3 years ago from Michigan

      Hi Christy. Very interesting article, I hope things get easier for your with your coping strategies.

      Something to consider for people who live with OCD is cognitive behavioral therapy which involves exposure therapy. It can be very uncomfortable to undergo exposure therapy and takes a long time, but has proven to be very effective in drastically reducing reactions to stimuli which create anxiety. It is a scientifically proven method. Sometimes avoiding whatever is causing someone anxiety may only reinforce the OCD behavior. Here is an example of empirical research on the effectiveness of different types of exposure therapies. There are many resources online for those who are interested.

      http://www.ocdtherapist.com/PDFs/1996metaanalysis....

      I wish you only the best!

    • Christy Maria profile image
      Author

      Christy Maria 3 years ago

      Hello Denise,

      Thank you for commenting. I find reading other stories about OCD very interesting. It is very interesting how OCD can take many different forms such as fear of death, fear of not being good enough, things having to be perfectly tidy and straight or even having to do things in doubles so that you are doing them in an even numbered way. I completely understand where you are coming from with feeling tired from certain rituals. I am happy that you were able to tell me your story, I love hearing other sides of my condition.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      OCD is an interesting phenomenon. My daughter has it, but hers has to do with things being even. She has to have the blanket hanging even all around her when she lies down at night. The light switches have to be all either up or down if they are close to each other. Her food has to look a certain way on her plate before she will eat it. For me, my OCD has to do with the fear of not being good enough. I go through specific rituals with everything that I do to make sure that I don't forget something. It can be tiring, but if I don't get everything correct, I will start over.

    • Christy Maria profile image
      Author

      Christy Maria 3 years ago

      Thank you. I hope my article helps some people out there facing similar issues.

    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I'm glad you can talk publicly about obsessive compulsive disorder.

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