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Learning what actually helps deal with the incredibly inconvenient and occasionally crippling nature that is anxiety is in itself a cause of anxiety. Or at least has been for me in the past.

It’s like you read all these articles that tell you what the hell are you supposed to do. It’s like when people try to give you advise on how to sleep better when you say that you’re not sleeping properly and they get annoyed when you’re like ‘yeah, I’ve almost all you can think of and it doesn’t work, so thank you but I’m just going to do me with this.’

When you’re trying all this stuff and it’s just not working it creates its own problems and makes what is already a pretty shitty situation even worse because you’ve also now managed to convince yourself that you just cannot relieve some of that stress and the cycle continues.

It’s kind of a clusterfuck.

The good thing is that I kind of had no choice but to really think about what worked for me last year because it was either I did that or I had some kind of breakdown and then just cease to be a functioning human being. And I say the phrase good thing when in actual fact it was kind of a nightmare but it did trigger that fight or flight instinct in me.

I didn’t have a breakdown and I actually managed to make it through the year without feeling like a total failure. I mean my brain worked in weird ways for the majority of the year but whatever, I got through it.

And I learned that there are just some things that not negotiable when it comes to me anymore.

Surprise, surprise, exercise is crucial for me. It’s moving mediation for me man. Focusing on reps and breathing and trying to get through sets and focus on proper form and trying to get stronger overall, it requires a disconnect from the world that I crave at this point. Books are crucial to me as well. Being able to spend an hour a day in a different world and get lost in those characters and their troubles is a different way for me to disconnect.

Music. Returning to some my faves and getting lost in melodies that I know and love helps me get out of my own head so much and I cannot imagine my life without music. Writing is also fundamental to me. To be able to get the thoughts out of my head and onto some kind of page clears up a lot of space.

Talking. Not even necessarily about what is going on with me, but just having the distraction of having to maintain a conversation with someone kind of means that I have to stop being in my own head and be present in that moment. If I veer off in my head then I’m fucked because then I just look like a dickhead. And that’s never a good thing.

Having alone time. Which seems counter productive, because being so in my own head and alone with my thoughts is mostly what gets me into the mess in the first place. But being alone means that I have the space to just recharge. Yes, it leaves with my own thoughts, but it also leaves me without having to be on. If I don’t want to talk then I don’t have to. I don’t have to try and remain engaged in a conversation. I don’t have to do anything that I don’t want to. Also, I think alone time is great way to come to terms with you are as a person. Learning to be okay with your own company and knowing that you are the only one responsible for the environment that you are in does kind of some level change the way you think. It gets kind of boring just feeling like shit for hours on end when you are the person who can change that. It means that after a certain point you kind of do try and change it. Sometimes it takes forever, and sometimes it’s just as simple as making sure that you do something that you know gives you joy on some level. Like just totally vegging out and watching something on Netflix.

I’ve also learned that learning what it is that makes sure that you can stop yourself from falling over some kind of ledge is always changing. Or you’re always finding new things. For example, my 10am coffee gives me great joy as does the chat that goes along with it coming into my possession. Having an unspoken shorthand with someone is also kinda great. The lunchtime walk decompress session is therapeutic as hell. There are others as well that I am learning help me with keeping my mental health in check and I enjoy finding new ones.

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Sophie, twenty-something, avid reader, writer, really good at watching whole seasons of TV shows in one weekend and using 10 words where 5 will do, overzealous user of the ellipsis and parentheses, starts too many sentences with ‘and’ and ‘so’, living in a continual state of Wanderlust.

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