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Anxiety Treatments – Anxiety Schmanxiety

My history with therapy has been, to put it mildly, spotty. I’ve seen a number of therapists since I was a child, but I haven’t had good experiences with most of them – this was due to any number of factors ranging from some being incompatible with my personality to others literally causing me to cry after the session ended. Because of that, my desire to continue with any new therapist has not been strong. But because my mental health has been so unstable for a while now, I decided I needed to make a change. As of the end of last month, I decided to restart therapy, so this post will focus on that.
Therapy can be grueling sometimes. Anybody who tells you differently is either lying or trying to soften the blow. Regardless, they've done you a disservice, in my opinion. In order to reap the benefits of therapy, a commitment to work hard in partnership with your therapist is required. I've engaged in trauma therapy to help with my anxiety. My experience with eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) trauma therapy is hard work that's paying off.
They say there's an app for everything. I certainly have dozens of apps on my mobile devices that provide access to whatever I need at my fingertips. I recently started using an app to track my moods as a means by which to map the ups and downs of my anxiety.
I've been on antianxiety medication since 2001 when I was first diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Out of some odd compulsion or perhaps, shame from having to take drugs to manage my mental illness, I weaned off my anxiety medications three times since I began. The first two times, it ended badly. The last time, it ended in disaster.
A few years ago, I wrote a post talking about how my love of stuffed animals helps me with my anxiety. To this day, I get more positive comments about that post than anything else I’ve written, and I’m glad that it has resonated with those who have read it. In this post, I want to continue talking about stuffed animals because they still play a big part in how I manage my anxiety.
I've had acute panic and anxiety since I was a child; this was undiagnosed anxiety, of course. I remember waking up out of a sound sleep in the middle of a panic attack, although I didn't know that's what it was at the time. My parents said I was having bad dreams, which I'm sure made sense to them. Even as a child, I knew that I wasn't having bad dreams, although the symptoms felt like I was locked in some kind of nightmare.
There are oodles of books on self-care nowadays. Its importance to wellbeing is plastered all over social media, is fodder for talk shows and podcasts, and is touted by doctors and therapists (in my experience) as essential to curing what ails the mind and body. That being said, practicing self-care can be hard.
I've been drinking an average of two cups of caffeinated coffee a day for decades. This is not a lot by some standards. I relished my first "cup of Joe" in the morning, appreciating the way it got me going. That second cup in the afternoon was the delicious pick-me-up I needed. I always knew that caffeine was a stimulant, but I never quite understood how caffeine affected my anxiety, if at all.
Anyone who has read my blog for any amount of time knows that music plays a powerful, indescribably important role in my life. In the past, I’ve specifically discussed my love of metal music and how listening to metal music helps my mental health. I want to use this post to discuss music in a more general sense, as I believe no matter what kind of music you love and listen to, you can and will get something positive out of it.
Anxiety has many different treatment approaches, including medication for anxiety. In theory, this is a good thing. It means that you have a lot of different options to choose from for treating anxiety. However, it can also feel overwhelming to be faced with so many choices. Deciding whether to take anxiety medication can also be intimidating. While this post, of course, can't advise you on whether to take medication for anxiety (that's a very personal decision to be made with input from your doctor), it can help you with the decision-making process.