Comments: 55 • Responses: 22 • Date: 2016-09-25 15:10:32 UTCsource
Calligraphee21 karma2016-09-25 15:30:53 UTC
I have a friend who suffers from chronic anxiety. How can I be there for her when she's having a difficult day?
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AgrajagsLament27 karma2016-09-25 15:46:17 UTC
Most times just being there is enough, knowing how to listen. Realize that her problems might not sound like big ones to you, so try to understand where she's coming from. Celebrate the small victories. Offer a different perspective, but without making it sound like she's wrong. It can be tough and everyone deals with anxiety in different ways. A positive relaxing focus always helps. Just be yourself, she'll see that you're not just trying to make her feel better, but that you're a true friend she can depend on. Sorry I wasn't too specific, but a lot depends on her needs. The fact that you care enough to find ways to help her shows that she's already in good hands.
andrewtdc12 karma2016-09-25 15:46:30 UTC
What, if any, proactive measures have you you taken to lessen your anxiety?
AgrajagsLament14 karma2016-09-25 15:49:52 UTC
I personally find it hard to go out and do stuff, but whenever I manage to go for a walk in the park or even sit there and read it relaxes me. My walk home after being in nature feels calm. Other times I end up watching a familiar and comforting TV show. I know it doesn't sound like much or that I'm ignoring the problem, but most times there isn't a problem, it's just feelings of anxiety, so I ride them out.
tree5eat9 karma2016-09-25 16:11:43 UTC
A number of my students have been diagnosed with Anxiety (I am a head teacher at a school for disadvantaged youth). How can I explain to my staff the crippling effects to allow them to be more supportive and empathetic?
I applaud your bravery in sharing your personal experiences!
AgrajagsLament8 karma2016-09-25 16:24:59 UTC
One of the hardest things about anxiety is getting other people to understand. They see anxiety as simply being nervous or overreacting. A lot of times I ask for acceptance rather than understanding. We already know our life is hard and confusing, we know we're "different", we just want to feel ok. So if the staff approach the students KNOWING that they are going through things they can't relate to then they can learn to just listen, to be there, to not try to make them do more, but rather walk through it with them at their own pace. The last thing a person with anxiety needs is someone rushing them. Knowing that simple tasks are hard for them. Patience. Know that each student is an individual and their anxiety is specific to them. If you get frustrated trying to help just imagine what it must be like for the students who deal with this every day. Have the staff watch videos of people telling their personal experiences, get to know what it's really like. Most of all create a happy safe space and celebrate the little victories. Anxiety is complex and can vary person to person, but being open to help others is a great start. Thank you for being a caring teacher, your students and staff will learn a lot from you, just lead by example.
tree5eat2 karma2016-09-25 16:50:13 UTC
Thank you so much for this. Your ability to clearly articulate your own personal experiences has energised me to better understand and reflect on how, as a school we support young people with Anxiety.
AgrajagsLament1 karma2016-09-25 17:07:38 UTC
Thank you, I'm glad to find you in the profession you are in, so many will benefit.
Samordorak6 karma2016-09-25 16:18:31 UTC
Hey there, I commend you to for going through this day in and day out. I have a close friend who suffers heavily from anxiety so I've seen what it can do to people. So Cheers to you for pushing forward.
Aside from some of the things you do to cope with it, do you seek medical or professional help? If so, has it at all helped you? Sometimes people can't because they can't afford it (my friends case) and it blows. Thank you for your time in helping others have some insight on this.
AgrajagsLament6 karma2016-09-25 16:31:57 UTC
It took me years of procrastinating, but I finally got myself around to seeing a therapist. Funny how the thing keeping me from going was the reason I wanted to go. It has helped. Simply talking and venting in a comfortable, judgement free environment can do wonders. I am not on medication though I have thought about giving it a go. One reason I avoided therapy (and now medication) is the cost of it. There are many places that offer sliding scale fees and will accommodate. They shouldn't simply go looking for a psychiatrist (unless they feel they really need to), there are many licenced therapist who have different degrees who can easily help with anxiety at a lower cost. It's important to look around not just at the fee but at the therapist and find someone you can trust. I recommend therapy to just about anyone regardless of mental health issues. Other than that, your friend is lucky to have a friend like you who cares and will simply listen. Just being there can so much.
Samordorak2 karma2016-09-25 16:53:01 UTC
Thank you so much for the response, and well yeah, I try because I know it does fall heavily on a person. I've looked up a lot of articles and self help sites on what I can do as a friend, and just being there can mean a lot. You rock dude! Keep pushing forward, one step at a time.
AgrajagsLament1 karma2016-09-25 17:06:51 UTC
Thank you, keep being you!
AryaStark205 karma2016-09-25 16:14:54 UTC
I suffer from social anxiety, is there anything I can do to try and combat it or help me through it? Stay strong, dude.
AgrajagsLament3 karma2016-09-25 16:36:12 UTC
I do recommend therapy (to anxiety sufferers and to anyone really). Someone to talk to who can help guide the conversation. A friend is always great and you should have someone you trust to just be there for you, but sometimes a therapist fills the gap a little more simply by being someone outside your friend/family group, someone who does not judge and will hear anything you have to say. I also recommend walks or a park. Getting outside and in nature can do wonders. Find some comforting music and go for a walk somewhere quiet. Even find a hobby. I taught myself guitar and it was relaxing and I felt good with every new chord and song I learned. Sometimes we just need a positive and relaxing environment. Find what you enjoy most and spread it to other corners of your life. You've got this, you're not alone.
AryaStark202 karma2016-09-25 17:36:09 UTC
Thanks for the tips :) I do use music as a tool to get me through. Like whenever I feel anxious I recite the lyrics of a favourite song in my head (Hey Jude especially for some reason.)
AgrajagsLament2 karma2016-09-25 17:47:11 UTC
Nice! I do that too, been trying to keep the songs positive, but most comforting ones are a little depressing, I guess they match the mood. Good luck and keep singing!
AryaStark202 karma2016-09-25 18:15:37 UTC
Awesome! What's your go to song? That is strangely true. It just calms me down. My other tool to combating my anxiety is thinking about my favourite celebs talking, it's a very weird tool but I just remember an interview of a favourite actor and just concentrate on their voice till I've calmed down. Thanks and you too!
AgrajagsLament2 karma2016-09-25 18:22:30 UTC
My go-to has always been "How to disappear completely" by Radiohead. It hits the right mood, tone, sound, everything. And towards the end his vocal sounds show struggle and then he gets there, he hits that clear note and the music calms and all is right. I always picture someone flying, soaring in a troubled sky full of clouds, going up and down, and then at that peak moment he soars up into the clear blue above. I never know if the feeling is that he died and is at peace or if he just made it. Either way all is ok. It's hard to explain, bu that's my song and what I get out of it.
Ayayoska5 karma2016-09-25 16:08:31 UTC
I am so sorry you are going through this, mindless has helped me greatly. have you tried it?
AgrajagsLament2 karma2016-09-25 16:37:47 UTC
I have. I am very easily distracted, so there are times when I have wanted to clear my mind and just be, but most times I find that I need to be doing something (no matter how simple) to keep me distracted.
AgrajagsLament3 karma2016-09-25 17:14:56 UTC
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LobsterGarden3 karma2016-09-25 16:41:30 UTC
I have a close friend who suffers from anxiety. I love her but when she is having a hard time, she will lean on me more than I can handle (calling or texting me every hour for weeks on end). What can I do to support her without feeling overwhelmed by her constant need to talk to me?
AgrajagsLament3 karma2016-09-25 17:05:06 UTC
That can be hard. Anxiety sufferers find it difficult to open up and truly share, so when they find that person to do it with it can be overwhelming on them. Suddenly you find yourself constantly hearing this person's problems that to you might seem silly. Setting times to talk could help keep it confined. Make sure that if you try to call/text less that you still show support and interest. She might take it as you cutting her off and not wanting to listen. Does she have someone else to share this with? Once I started therapy I realized that I didn't feel that I had to vent with friends as much (and I'm sure they're happy about that!). It can be hard telling someone with anxiety to give you some room, mostly because you don't know how they'll take it. Everyone is different. Have a feel for the situation, use a tone and words that you know you can use with her. Redirect her negativity into something positive or do things together that require more than just a phone conversation, she'll get to realize that fun can be had outisde of anxiety. It's a tough question and I'm sorry I don't have a more specific answer. At least you care enough to find out ways to help her, you're pretty great. Good luck!
GeneralDelgado3 karma2016-09-25 16:36:11 UTC
Used to suffer, now deal with some pretty heavy social and overall anxiety. Some of my worst instances include freezing, eyes wide open, feeling like i can't look in any direction, jumbling of words, emotional distress, looping thoughts, and so on.
Although I'm a lot better now, i had become quite the hermit from it. There was one time where i couldn't leave me house for 30 min because my neighbors were outside, and all i wanted to do was get something from my car. It's turbulence in the head. My home was my worst place, so i really had no where to go but out, but going out meant being around people which destroyed me. I just needed to be alone with my music and a lot of the time that was difficult to achieve. It really is a bitch at times. Had to relearn how to breath, look at people in the eyes, learn how to be with my high awareness of where my hands are (or any part of my body really). The list goes on and on.
One of the best things another person can do when they see someone having an anxiety attack, no matter the intensity, is simply be there for them/with them. This shit runs deep, and although i can generalize a number of concepts for simplicity, everyday/ever moment is it's own. One thing can give me anxiety one day, and the next it's nothing.
My question for you OP is What does your anxiety mean to you?
AgrajagsLament2 karma2016-09-25 16:51:31 UTC
Tough question. My anxiety keeps me locked inside most of the time. I have learned to accept it, even to rise above it and detach myself from it, this allows me to talk about it and be open/honest about it. It's an obstacle and it interferes with me leading a normal life, but I have stopped it getting to me as much as it used to. Anxiety, as you said, can change every day and in every situation. Everyone is different. The big part is knowing that you have it and taking small steps until you can turn around and see the big picture and all that you accomplished along the way. Once you celebrate a small victory try to make it happen again, bit by bit you will conquer situations. My struggle is leaving the house, but once I manage to get out I can tell myself "see that wasn't so bad", even though I still find it hard to do things outside, the fact that I gout out there means a lot, so I try to keep that momentum going even if it's just for an hour or few minutes.
MixMasterMadge2 karma2016-09-25 16:44:48 UTC
May I ask if you take medication? If so, what do you take?
AgrajagsLament1 karma2016-09-25 16:53:09 UTC
I currently do not take any medication, but I have been slowly building up to realize that maybe I should. My anxiety has kept me from giving it a go, but that just proves that I might benefit from it.
Heptite2 karma2016-09-25 16:30:31 UTC
I suffer from anxiety, and can't afford to seek help for it. I talked to my GP and he wanted to put me on antidepressants, which are not an option for me (for reasons I'd rather not go into here). This has left me to find resources for dealing with it on my own. Unfortunately there's a lot of garbage out there. One good resource is Anxiety Guru (I mostly just listen to the podcasts).
Are there other good (free) resources out there?
AgrajagsLament2 karma2016-09-25 16:44:41 UTC
Great question! I have also surfed the internet looking for real (free) help and just as you found there is a lot of garbage out there. Podcasts definitely help - I'll have to check out Anxiety Guru, thanks! I like science podcasts so I listen to Star Talk. I also enjoy some comedy, it brightens up the day, or hour. Other free things for me have been music I can zone out and relax to. Moby put out an ambient sounds album, it's just soothing sounds, I find it helps with relaxing, meditating (also recommended), and has helped with migraines. If you're creative I recommend using that as a free resource. Try writing things down, draw, make music. It will flow out of you and keep you in a comfort zone. Even though you can't currently seek help it doesn't mean you can't find someone to talk to, if you have a close friend or family member use them. Venting and releasing those feelings can do a lot. Or talk to a pet or a camera. You're never alone in this, good luck!
TruculentCabbageFart2 karma2016-09-25 16:45:24 UTC
Woo! Do it!
At one point in my life I made a concerted effort to try different avenues to find some relief from my own anxiety. I found some self-help audio book (long since lost, I'm afraid) to be very helpful. However, the concept of "Automatic Negative Thinking" I found to be very helpful. Identifying the concept and trying to actively short circuit that sort of self-talk was extremely helpful in dealing with it.
AgrajagsLament1 karma2016-09-25 16:56:38 UTC
Agreed! Without realizing I often find myself thinking negatively about something and the simple act of recognizing that and flipping it around can help a lot. A positive relaxing environment is always necessary even though it can be hard to find sometimes.
cleopatra_of_pontus2 karma2016-09-25 16:45:58 UTC
Have you tried knitting or other handwork?
AgrajagsLament2 karma2016-09-25 16:54:37 UTC
I have considered some new form of handwork - the focus relaxes and passes the time. I mostly draw and sometimes write. I also taught myself guitar. It's the little things that help.
cleopatra_of_pontus2 karma2016-09-25 16:59:51 UTC
Music is a beautiful practice, as well. Both it and handwork can produce things to share with or give to others, too. Thank you for this AMA.
AgrajagsLament2 karma2016-09-25 17:08:55 UTC
Very true, the gift of sharing can go a long way. Thank you for sharing these words and moments with me.
dawrina2 karma2016-09-25 16:55:32 UTC
Hi there! Fellow anxiety sufferer here.
How do you deal with that "tightly wound" feeling that anxiety gives you? Hopefully you know what I'm talking about. That feeling where you constantly feel like a spring under pressure, like you physically can't relax.
I've tried several medications to help ease my anxiety but found that none of them were right for me (Lexapro made me psychotic, Cymbalta gave me brain zaps, and Viibryd made me emotionally unstable) The only one that helps is xanex, but it's highly addictive so I try to only use it when I really need it.
Also, do you get that gnawing in the pit of your stomach associated with anxiety? The one where your nervous about something, but since you have anxiety it happens like 24/7 for no reason?
AgrajagsLament1 karma2016-09-25 17:19:37 UTC
Reddit has decided to remove my post, so I am moving it over here, feel free to copy/paste the comment on the new post:
archjones1 karma2016-09-25 16:57:54 UTC
AgrajagsLament1 karma2016-09-25 17:19:45 UTC
vbar441 karma2016-09-25 16:58:06 UTC
I didn't realize I had an anxiety problem until my early to mid 20s because my whole family is worse than me so relative to them I thought I was like James Bond, only later to realize I was more like Jesse Eisenberg in any movie he's been in. Was this your experience? How did you learn that you were more anxious than say the average joe?
AgrajagsLament1 karma2016-09-25 17:19:51 UTC
Probablyagain1 karma2016-09-25 17:04:42 UTC
How can I help my SO understand anxiety without making him feel uncomfortable? I often feel guilty, like I push my anxiety and problems onto him.
AgrajagsLament1 karma2016-09-25 17:19:57 UTC
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