Hi everyone! I hope you’re having a good day. Welcome to chapter 2 of The Anxiety Chronicles. In the last post which you can find here https://kmwblogs.com/2020/08/01/the-anxiety-chronicles/ we talked about identifying the problem and the notable symptoms to be on the look out for. Today we’re focusing on possibly the hardest but most rewarding thing to do which is getting help for your anxiety.
Where do I Start?
The first step is admitting that theres a problem you need help with. If you read my last post, youll have read through a list of symptoms and you should be able to identify when they’ve gone too far. Once you can admit this to yourself you’re one step closer to bettering your mental health. I understand how daunting reaching out for help can be, Ive done it and revoked it enough times to fully know how hard it can be, especially with anxiety. I can promise you though, it was the best thing I ever did. Making the decision to ask for help is a hard choice but ultimately will benefit you and everyone you care about in the long run. Now if youre on this blog its likely you’ve already done research into anxiety and mental illness, but if not, doing that can better help you understand whats going on in your head before you take the next step.
Visit Your GP
When you think you have a medical problem, most peoples first instincts is to go to their GP. The same is true for mental illnesses. They are there to help you, and regardless of what your anxiety tells you, they are there to help you. This is a very personal issue of course, so its important you go to a doctor you feel comfortable talking to. Ive been to 4 GPs about my mental issues over the years, and its only since meeting my doctor in Galway that Ive truly felt comfortable enough to be honest. Its very important to talk to someone you can trust, as if youre anything like me, even getting there will feel like an uphill battle. Its important to trust in the person youre talking to, as they will be with you along this journey and you are putting your care in their hands. Depending on how severe your condition, GPs will prescribe one of two things – medication or therapy.
Therapy is normally the go-to for anxiety issues. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) in particular is used for anxious patients as it focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful mindsets and actions. It focuses on the present and aims to help people develop better coping strategies. Most people undergoing CBT are encouraged to try meditation, which allows the mind to relax. Katie has a post about meditation here if you would like to know more about that. https://kmwblogs.com/2020/07/29/my-favorite-meditations/
I believe anyone in their lives, mental illness or not should talk to a therapist, but this is particularly true for people with anxiety. Believe me, I know how much we can get lost in our own heads. We need somewhere to air out our problems, and therapy is perfect for this. Therapists are all very different in their methods, and one size does not fit all. I went to two different therapists before the one I currently go to. They did nothing wrong we simply just didn’t click, and the relationship between patient and therapist is so personal its necessary to feel that connection. Whether you’ve tried therapy and it didn’t work out or you’ve never tried, I encourage you to do whats best for you. If you don’t like your doctor, find one you do like. Its your health at the end of the day.
This is quite a controversial topic and honestly I do see why. I grew up in a family of addiction so I swore I would never touch drugs of any kind. The idea of taking mind changing medication terrified me, and I used the horror stories about them to avoid the topic for as long as possible. That is until I was given the ultimatum by my partner that I need to sort my shit out or lose him. I went to my GP the next day and discussed the prospect of medication, and we agreed it was an option we should explore if I ever wanted a normal life. I kid you not, best decision I ever made. Sure, I still have anxiety and some days are worse than others but I can talk to people now. I can have a job. I can have friends and not be paranoid they hate me the whole time. I can travel alone. I am a new person. If youre thinking of medication please be sure to have that discussion with your GP and be sure to explore all your options. What worked for me may not work for others.
If you couldn’t tell by the majority of my posts on this blog, I have fallen deep down into the self help book rabbit hole. I have read at least 9 books in the last 2 months. It’s a problem. I am really enjoying it though, for me having something to focus on is a big deal as I find my mind racing all too often. Books give me the opportunity to be transported to another world from the comfort of my bed. I was never into self help books before, but now I find myself so excited to start a new one and see what lesson I will learn. I highly recommend reading to anyone with anxiety, it’s a nice break from the hurricane in your head, even just for a while.
Getting help for your problem is one of the bravest and best decisions you can make. It is hard, it will be scary but it will be so worth it. For the first time you can go outside alone. For the first time you enjoy a conversation without fear. For the feeling of confidence. Once you take this first step, youll never look back. You’ve just got to take the jump.
Lots of love,