Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Anxiety Anyone?

So I don't mind sharing that over the past few weeks things have been tough on the personal front.  A combination of work, family, and health related things have all gone down at the same time making dealing with cumulative stress an issue for me. So I ask you - do you suffer from anxiety? The kind that gnaws at your gut somewhat relentlessly? The kind that sometimes wakes you up during the night and there you find yourself mind racing, worrying, having a tough time getting back to sleep? We can then spiral into this place where the incessant feeling in our body is non-stop. We have some how passed a tipping point where in we can no longer calm down. That's my experience of it anyway. And you don't have to "look" like you're losing it, and it doesn't mean you are so put out that you can't work or do what you have to do ... you just don't feel "good", calm, rested, your best.

What kind of solutions do you have for this? I have friends and colleagues who say have a glass of wine. My response is no thanks. First of all it's depressive - to me anyway. Second of all I'm not a big fan of using alcohol as a coping strategy. Some suggest Ativan. Again, for me, I have to say no thanks. I guess I have strong beliefs about my personal resilience and a wish and desire to overcome difficult passages on my own. Add to that I'm in the middle of reading Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker and it is making me rethink the whole medicating mental and emotional health issues. The changes the brain undergoes in the name of getting help just makes no sense to me.

And so I'm left with figuring out how to calm down, how to take a bite out of this relentless anxiety. Well you're not going to like my answer.... I just took an hour and a half vigorous walk -  that's right I exercised - and the anxiety and experience of stress I was having is no longer there. Now I know it is not going to last - which just means I will need to do this again tomorrow, and then the day after and the day after that - but it works. I feel better. I feel "in control" of this. I feel I can manage my stress .. and I need to because the things going on in my life at the moment that are challenging are not changing any time soon. So I NEED to exercise.

This is available to all of us. I'll keep you posted on my progress because I think an alternative to medication is an absolute necessity. I am also going to be taking an eight week Stress Reduction "course" and plan to share what I learn there.

If you have any suggestions to add to the stress and anxiety reduction tool kit, please, post!

Happy calm day to you all.

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