Emotional Health FAMILY Spiritual

14 Ways I Found Relief From Severe Anxiety

SEVERE-ANXIETY-FACE

About a week ago, I wrote a post titled Severe Anxiety Symptoms – Words From My Journal. The response I received from this post has been big and I’ve spent the week reading so many of your precious, personal stories.

Thank you for sharing with me and letting me know that the post mattered, that telling my story allows you to feel less alone in yours. You share with me and I in turn, also feel less alone. There are many of us in this together. In fact, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population. (Source: National Institute of Mental Health)

There are so many who can relate to the pain that anxiety can bring, and often anxiety can lead to depression or visa versa, for these two often go hand in hand. One can trigger the other.

I read and heard your stories of both depression and anxiety.

A dear one wrote, “I am on the bed right now, nauseated , heart pounding, trembling, etc.”  She shares her heart and mine breaks for her. I’ve been in that place.

When you want to just curl up in a ball and stay in bed all day please know that there is hope. When your hearts feels like it is pounding out of your chest and you really don’t know why, know that there is hope. When you feel alone, know that you are not.

I will share a few ways that I found relief from my severe anxiety. I pray that some of these suggestions can help bring hope and help to someone else.

SEVERE-ANXIETY- Collage

14 Ways I Found Relief From Anxiety

 

Know God’s Got You

~Know that there is a place where you can lift your eyes & where I continue lift mine. You are never alone, God will help you & He can turn ashes into beauty.

“I lift my eyes up….my help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven & earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

“To provide for them that mourn…to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3

 

Ask For Wisdom

~I prayed constantly for wisdom in searching for answers for my severe anxiety.  God led me to answers, slowly but surely.  It was in His time, not mine.

 

Tell Someone

~tell a trusted friend, a medical doctor, a therapist, a psychologist or psychiatrist.

I did all of the above. I was desperate for help and answers, and the more support in finding those answers, the better. It took all of those people I listed above to get to the answers I needed. You never know who and what God is going to use to bring relief to your suffering.

{Example: It was a medical doctor, an OB to be exact, that had an answer to my morning nausea & weight loss. As we were trying to figure out what was causing my severe morning nausea, she gave me a medication specifically for women with morning sickness, one that is taken the night before. This was a key step to stabilizing me & helping me wake up steadily instead of waking up to heaves of nausea due to my severe anxiety. It allowed me to eat early in the day, which was huge as nutrition was another key to getting better. I took this medication for about 3 months, long enough for me to stabilize and for us to figure out my physical symptoms were not due to cancer returning but to severe anxiety.}

One of the most precious gifts to me during this time having a dear, MOST trusted friend. One that had walked a similar road. We used Voxer app and talked daily. It was so healthy to talk to someone who would love and accept me no matter what, someone who could handle my tears as they flowed freely while I talked. Find that someone and be willing to open up to them. I you don’t have someone like that, pray that God would provide someone for you.

 

Pursue Help

As stated above, one of the key things I did to get healthy again was to pursue help. I brought in as many professionals as I could. I went to many, many appointments, as I knew that there was an answer but it was not just going to come to me. Because of my cancer history, we had to rule out recurrence, so the number of my appointments and tests were overwhelming, but I continued on. I pressed on and pursued help for the sake of my family & because I had faith that God would lead me to what I needed. It was miserable to go when I was feeling so unwell,and I hated spending my summer in doctors offices, but it paid off in the end. There is help out there! Pursue it, and if you can’t, ask a loved one to help you pursue it.

 

Be Open To Medication

If your symptoms are severe, you will probably need medication, even if for a short time. I am not a professional, obviously, but please see a professional if you cannot seem to get to a healthy place on your own.  I cannot tell you what a blessing medication has been to me. I do not know where I would be without it. It is a gift and one that I do not take for granted.

 

Just Do The Next Thing

There were so many days where I just felt so miserable and couldn’t think straight. I had nothing to give. I was too miserable to lay in bed but too miserable to do anything either, at least that is how it seemed. My new mantra during that time was “Just Do The Next Thing.” Most of the time, the next thing was as simple as getting up.

I remember just getting up and standing by my bed, and then thinking and talking myself through what came next.

 

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Make my bed.

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Get dressed.

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Take the girls to school.

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Dishes in dishwasher and throw a load of laundry in.

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Drive the girls to the pool.

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Get self to a doctor appointment.”

“Just Do The Next Thing.”

Eat even though you lack appetite.

 

By just doing the next thing, I got through my days and eventually got through the summer and eventually got the answers I needed.

 

Do What is Necessary

Do what is necessary, and if you can, do a little more, but keep it minimal and simple.

I was in survival mode, but I still had to live for those I love. I am a survivor & fighter, and this was by far the hardest season for me, even including fighting cancer. Anxiety kicked me hard, but I still had to be a Mom & Wife, even when I was sick everyday. My minimal looked like the “Just Do The Next Thing” above. Getting dressed, dishes, laundry, meals for my family (super simple meals), blog when I could, & then rest. Baby steps and one foot in front of the other. I felt I was trudging through quicksand most days, but if I stopped, I would sink. Motion is a must when it comes to anxiety and depression, even if super slow motion.

 

Keep Trying Different Options

If what you are doing is not working, try something else. I had to try several medications before finding the right one. I had to go off all of my cancer meds to see if that was what was causing my physical symptoms and weight loss. It took time and persistence. I tried at least 4 different mood meds. Eventually, it was an anti-nausea medication and an anti-anxiety medication that worked. In the past, I took an anti-depressant, and for some reason that did not work and what my body needed was purely an anti-anxiety medication. If I did not keep trying different options, I would have never found an answer.

 

Know That Talk Therapy is as Important as Medication

I was very thankful to be able to see a therapist and talk through what I was experiencing that the time. This was super helpful, even when at the beginning I could barely articulate what I was feeling and just ended up with tears streaming. Those early sessions I did a lot of listening and nodding. I eventually got to the point where I could talk and it was super helpful. My therapist watched me become a different person as I found the right medication, and then she walked me through the healing process, as she knew that now I was stable and could hear what she was saying and talk through the trauma of it all.

Can’t afford therapy? I understand. Mine was gifted to me. There are other options. A great one is one I have recently found and followed. His name is John Cordray and he calls himself the Calm Expert. He is a licensed therapist and has great wisdom. There is an option to hire him, but he also gives great free advice on his YouTube & Periscope channel.

 

Eat When You Can

Nutrition is so important. I lost 20 pounds in less than 7 weeks. It was not pretty. It scared me. I didn’t have an appetite and had nausea all day until early evening. I was not able to take supplements, and I believe this was a huge part of my downward spiral. I was not nourished and there are so many vitamins and minerals that are vital for brain health.

B vitamins, Omega’s, Vitamin D, Probiotics, Multi-Vitamin, Magnesium & Zinc are all examples of what I take now and are huge for mental health, but I could not tolerate them when I was in the midst of severe anxiety. Again, it took medication for me to become stable, regain my appetite, lose the nausea and be able to tolerate supplements.

 

Surround Yourself with Comfort

A cozy blanket, a cup of tea, soft music, candlelight. These things seem small, but even the smallest bit of comfort helps when anxiety is taking over.

 

Exercise

I know, I know. It seems impossible. At times it was. I can’t speak too much on this subject as I still continue to struggle with it, but I KNOW walking makes a huge difference in my day. Simple, even slow walking gets you out and moving, and is beneficial, especially in the sunshine.

 

Push Truth to Your Brain

This one was huge for me. I knew I had to replace fear, worries & lies with truth. I knew I had to keep my faith as strong as possible. I did this by reading, by listening to podcasts, and by watching YouTube videos.

 

The Bible was key for me, as my personal belief is that it has the power to transform. I use the YouVersion Bible app on my phone and followed plans specifically for anxiety and hope.

Jesus Callinganother app on my phone that I read everyday. A small snippet of truth that would get me through the day.

Switch On Your Brain-a book (affiliate link) that I read that was so good that it is on my list to read again.

Journaling the PsalmsI wrote a post about this when I was at the tail-end of my severe anxiety. It details what it is and how I did it, & how it helped change me.

Affirmations–a dear friend sent me daily affirmations on cards that she has. I will be creating similar cards soon to share on the blog.

Podcasts--even while laying there, miserable, one can listen to a podcast. I highly recommend Daily Hope With Rick Warren & listen to it often while on a walk or doing housework. I also love listening to my own pastor, Pastor Bryan Clark of Lincoln Berean Church

 

Know That There Will Be An End

Never lose hope. Know that there are answers. Know that with God all things are possible. Ask Him for help, for He is the Ultimate help in trouble and calls Himself our Comforter.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

…………..

I hope this list helps. I will continue to share bits of my journal here at New Nostalgia & continue talking about anxiety. I think it is so important to talk about as so many are suffering.

What about you? Have you ever had anxiety? Depression?

If you are comfortable sharing, I would love to know your story & what has helped you.

………

Severe Anxiety Symptoms – An Excerpt From My Journal

Top 5 Ways To Relieve Stress

……….

Disclaimer:

NEVER DISREGARD MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL CARE BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.

 

  • Jacy Johnson December 25, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    Hi, I’m 16 year old girl and I’ve dealt with anxiety for as long as I can remember, maybe my whole life . I just wanted to say that this post really helped me understand options for my anxiety and I’m going to see my doctor in a couple of days, and will definitely discuss some options. Thank you!

    • AmyNewNostalgia December 30, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      Sweet Jacy, I’m so glad the article helped you. Anxiety can be miserable and I’m sorry it is something you understand and have experienced. I have a 17 year old girl and a 15 year old girl, so definitely have a place in my heart for girls your age! I see you wrote this comment on Christmas Day, so I’m thinking you have seen your doctor by now. I pray you got some answers! Keep trying different things until you find relief. I’m here if you have questions or need just want to email someone who understands. My email address: amysb963@gmail.com

  • Sonya Harrison June 15, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Hi. I was wondering what medications ended up working for you. I was originally prescribed Buspar, but it made me feel super strange. The only thing that calms me down is Xanax, but I only take those in extreme cases as I know it is not the healthiest thing.

    • AmyNewNostalgia June 20, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      Yes, Buspar is great for me. I take a very low dose.Sorry to hear you struggle with anxiety…not easy!

  • Alesea May 7, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Yesterday I took a walk to see some beautiful places with a lot of life blooming – remember it is that time of the year when the grass is greener then ever (at least where I stay). I took the walk after a good rain, it was so refreshing and uplifting. Of course you don’t have this opportunity every day but why not enjoy it?
    Another thing I find helpful is playing with your pets. Whatever you have. We had ducks several years in a row and I enjoyed so much taking care of them.

  • Lisa May 6, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    I have been following you for a few years due to your healthy lifestyle changes. I admit I have not followed closely and somehow this post came across my computer today. I honestly don’t even know how I got here. It wasn’t an email, I don’t recall it being Facebook but apparently God knew exactly what I needed today. I feel better just knowing I’m not alone and someone else out there knows exactly how I feel. I just want to crawl in bed, pull the cover over my head and drown out the world but I have a husband and two kids. I sometimes think that if I didn’t have the kids to take care of, I would waste away. I keep going for them and my poor husband has taken on more than if fair share of work around the house. It is so not fair to him and he is an amazing man. I am currently on medication but I guess it is time to revisit what I’m taking. Thank you so much for sharing and letting other know it’s OK. It will get better and to just keep doing the next thing.

    • AmyNewNostalgia May 7, 2016 at 11:06 am

      You are not alone, Lisa, and I’m so glad you have kids and a husband to help you keep your head above water. Yes, revisit your doctor and let him know the meds are not working as they should. Keep doing the next thing. You are right, God knows exactly what you need and will lead you as you seek Him. You are so very, very loved. Thank you for commenting and letting me know some of your story. <3

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