I have been dealing with anxiety for the past couple of years but it got very intense six months ago when my mother-in-law passed away. I am 28, newly married and am a stay at home Mom to a 2.5 year old. Before all of this life was happy, full of light and love and now it's a continuous struggle to find that happy place. Ive tried everything from perscription drugs to natural supplements, been tested and tested and tested for just about everything. Nothing has done much for me. I have had all the physical symptoms that everyone else has had. Severe foggy head, nausea, muscle twitches and aches, lightheadedness or dizzy, loss of appetite, fatigue, insomnia etc etc. The list can go on and on...However, I truly believe there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel and here are some of the things that have helped me along the way:
1. Remember you have anxiety, not a life threatening disease or illness. You don't have a brain tumor, you're not going crazy and going to the doctor repeatedly will only leave you with unecessary medical bills. You're healthy and not going to die or end up in a psych ward. Stop googling! REMEMBER THIS ALWAYS!
2. RELAX! It is hard especially when you have life to deal with but you can find ways. Meditate in the morning and at night too. YouTube has some great guided meditation. Get a massage. Whether it's a weekly professional massage or from your spouse or friend. ACUPUNCTURE! I can't say enough about acupuncture. Especially once you find the right person for the job. STRETCH and BREATH. Do 20 minutes of stretching and deep breathing a day. TAKE A BATH. SMELL SOME ESSENTIAL OILS. GO OUTSIDE AND JUST RELAX.
3. STOP THINKING SO MUCH AND DO! This may be the hardest part(it is for me anyways). How to turn off your brain? Well unfortunately, you can't or you'd be the Dalai Lama but you can change your thought pattern. You can replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. Instead of constantly assessing how you're feeling and telling yourself you feel "sick" or "tired" replace it with positive affirmations. "I'm doing the best I can" or "I can see stressful moments as challenges". STAY POSITIVE and DISTRACT YOURSELF A BIT.
4. EXERCISE. "A BODY IN MOTION STAYS IN MOTION. A BODY IN REST STAYS IN REST." Even the days you don't feel like it. Push yourself. Even if it's just 10 push ups. Your brain will thank you later.
5. EAT HEALTHY. Eating is very important and what you eat is even more important. Stay away from things containing caffeine like soda, coffee, chocolate and teas. Also sugars and processed foods. Try smoothies in the morning if it's hard to eat. If you can however, protein is better for all day energy. The more protein in a day the more fuel you'll give to your brain. Also foods containing vitamin B's and magnesium are great for combating anxiety.
6. TAKE A COLD SHOWER. It sounds crazy but if you can do it you can conquer just about anything. It's also proven to help anxiety/ depression. If you've never tried it give it a go at the end of your normal warm shower. Turn it cold and stay in for at least 2-3 minutes. It's hard as heck but the results are amazing.
7. REST TOO! If you can nap during the day do it. More importantly get at least 8 hours of sleep. If you're having a hard time sleeping or on an unusual sleep pattern try turning off the TV and reading before bed or meditate. If your brain won't shut up try doing the plank for 30 seconds, stretching, take a few deep breaths and get back into bed. If you really want to experiment. Turn off your phone and unplug everything that is electric and near you while you sleep. This sounds crazy but it can make a difference.
8. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. The saddest part of this journey for me so far is realizing that you can't rely on anyone else to get you better or to fix you. You have to rely on you. At your weakest moments you have to boost yourself back up by giving yourself a hug, telling yourself it will be ok and not letting your fear or urge to give up (because it's easier) consume you. You have to become your biggest fan. Find love and support in family, friends, even your God but don't rely on them to be able to magically cure you of all your inner turmoil. Only you can do that.
9. STOP BEING SELFISH. I know that sounds harsh but those who suffer from anxiety tend to concentrate on themselves A LOT. Try doing something kind for someone else, even if it's a stranger. You'll feel good and make someone else's day as well.
10. SMILE. You're going to be ok. You really are. You're healthy, strong and mentally capable of creating the outcome that you desire. If you want to get through this you will. Stop seeking answers on the outside and really look within. You'll find yourself again and come out even stronger and even more capable of taking on the world.
*if you can afford it, you can also find a therapist who has overcome anxiety and setup appointments to go talk to them. Talking helps too. Sometimes repetitive reminders that you can overcome what you're going through can help as well. If you can't find a good therapist try an anxiety meet up group.