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Treating Anxiety

Greg Weber
In last week's post, I talked about some of the reasons why anxiety disorder makes you so tired. The sheer weight of the tiredness that often goes with anxiety disorder can be very discouraging, and solutions for that weariness can sometimes seem impossible. But, there are ways to manage it, that, while not a cure-all, can make living with the exhaustion of anxiety doable. This week, we'll talk about ways that you can manage your anxiety disorder exhaustion.
Greg Weber
Anxiety disorder is a complex beast that affects more than just your emotions. It's seen primarily as an mood disorder, and while that is certainly true, anxiety has a strong mental and physiological component as well. This week, we'll explore one of the questions everyone with anxiety has asked themselves at some point: why does anxiety disorder make you so tired?
Greg Weber
Years ago, a good friend of mine who also struggles with anxiety told me a story about how she sees her disorder. She said she visualizes her anxiety as the Incredible Hulk -- a 1000-pound green monster that, when it comes out, threatens to flatten her entire landscape. She said it can't be bargained with, and it can't be reasoned with. "But," she said, "it can be contained. I can keep it in check, and eventually put it back in its cage, but I have to be ready. That's why I always keep my emergency anxiety toolkit handy."
Greg Weber
A lot of my days with anxiety disorder start something like this: I wake up, then ask myself why I stayed up so late (again) the night before. I'm sleep-deprived, my eyes are bleary, and my thoughts are a grey, swirling blob of worry. I have a powerful feeling I'm forgetting something, or a lot of things (Reduce Morning Anxiety With These 5 Useful Tips). Then I groan loudly at the prospect of having to drag myself through another seemingly pointless day of my pathetic existence. This is often followed by a black wave of despair, and a strong desire to crawl back into bed -- maybe forever. It is not easy to plan a day with anxiety disorder.
Greg Weber
We live in a time where mental health issues like anxiety disorders are being taken more seriously as the illnesses that they are. Real progress has been made in recent years in reducing the mental health stigma surrounding anxiety. We're talking about it more and learning to treat anxiety better. There's also an overall softening of social attitudes about it. Anxiety disorder is the most common form of mental illness, and people are finally starting to recognize the devastating impact it can have on parents, children, families, and friends. Except, one population with a huge increase in anxiety diagnoses is being neglected: anxiety in elderly people.
Greg Weber
We're right in the midst of the holiday season, and lots of people are coping with holiday anxiety. During times like these, sometimes all we can do is hunker down and manage chronic anxiety symptoms by putting one foot in front of the other. During these times, I exist in terms of hours and minutes instead of days. Often, I exist moment by moment, sometimes, breath by breath.
Greg Weber
Planning for the future when you have anxiety can feel utterly impossible. The paralysis, chronic avoidance, and feelings of spinning craziness going on between your ears is something you have to experience for yourself to really understand. And while it's true the future is uncertain, part of being an adult means becoming reasonably proficient at anticipating and planning for the semi-predictable arcs of life: career, finances, health, family, and aging.
Greg Weber
The holiday season of 2013 was the worst of my life. I was grieving the end of a relationship. I was mourning my independence because I had to move back in with my parents. I was suicidal. I was broke. All in all, I felt like a disaster. But I got through it. I wasn't sure I was going to, but I did. It was, however, one of the loneliest times of my life.
Greg Weber
Do you ever have days when you swear people are acting hostile, rude, or just downright weird? I'm a cashier at a grocery store, so I see all kinds of social behavior "in the wild," so to speak. And yes, I'm aware that my anxiety can warp my perception of other people, but that can't completely explain how some people act on occasion.
Greg Weber
It seems like there is a lot of discussion these days about self-medicating for anxiety. For those who aren't familiar with the term, self-medicating generally means using alcohol or other recreational drugs like marijuana to manage the symptoms of anxiety. It's also possible to self-medicate with behaviors like eating, shopping, gambling, and sex. The overall position within most mental health communities -- including HealthyPlace -- is that self-medicating is generally a bad idea. While I don't disagree, I think the topic is more complex than it appears, especially when you factor in addiction.