I’ve suffered from anxiety as far back as I can remember. It has waxed and waned throughout the years, but has always been there, hovering and ready to emerge again like a cloud of gnats.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) 18.1% of U.S. adults have a 12-month prevalence of an anxiety disorder and 28.8% have a lifetime prevalence. To put the 18.1% into perspective, that’s approximately 40 million adults. An anxiety disorder can mean one of several different types; there’s generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, as well as phobias. Sometimes, but not always, there is a dual diagnosis that can accompany the anxiety.
To get back on track though, I know when I’m having increased anxiety and most of the time my thoughts are irrational. And I know they’re irrational. I think that’s the most frustrating part for me, even when I tell myself that my thoughts have no basis in facts.
I’ll give an example. The other day I went on an overnight trip with a friend of mine. He had to interview someone for the company he works for and told me to sleep in and take my time getting ready and that he would be back in 2ish hours. No problem for me. I slept in, took a shower, did the best I could to my hair without a blow dryer, had some really crappy coffee.
And 2 hours turned into 3 hours and the panic started settling in. I told myself that he had left me there because I had snored all night and he hadn’t gotten any sleep. I started thinking of ways I could get myself home and how I only had $26 dollars in my account. Would I have to do Uber? Did they even go long distances? Would I have to do a ride share? Should I resort to Craigslist? Would I be murdered by some psycho if I did a ride share?
That’s when I remembered what I’ve learned in my mindfulness and therapy, to take a deep breath and do a quick body scan. I have a few apps on my phone that I use to help me when I feel myself winding up but there are several apps on the market.
My personal favorite app and the one I used when I was having this particular attack, is called Calm. There are a few parts that aren’t available on the free version, but the 5-minute body scan was just what I needed. There were different settings available such as background sound, length of time of the body scan, and how loud the voice is over the background noise. Below is a table of apps I found in a Huffington Post article, the article goes into much more detail to help you choose the best one for you personally.
While I was doing my 5-minute guided body scan, my friend texted me saying he was on his way back. I recognized my fear of abandonment and took steps to calm myself back down, something that I wouldn’t have been able to do 4 months ago which is a huge improvement.
I’m working on several projects right now and trying to write more posts, so bear with me. Stay positive and creative!