Anxiety. If you have ever have increased anxiety at the best of times, it can worsen as we continue to live in a world of social isolation. Anxiety, for me, has always been a subject that I can write about from so many different angles. I have on this blog and also in my memoir.
My official diagnosis when it comes to anxiety is social anxiety and panic disorder. Right now, I am dealing with anxiety in several ways. I take a benzo, clonazepam, and I do other things that help me cope with my anxiety like breathing techniques, meditation, and writing. My ultimate de-stressor. I have not had a large number of panic attacks per week when things are good, but lately, I have dealt with them more.
It is less to do with the coronavirus and more about the stress of delays in my books and having to stop a significant book signing as a local bookstore. Add that to the weight of not knowing if agents are looking for authors. I need one because I am close to the end of editing my fantasy fiction novel. The uncertainty in life has made my anxiety more pronounced.
The Reality of Fear
If I could sum up all the fears associated with my own anxiety, those that are rational and irrational, it would be likened to drowning. Now I have never drowned, but when I was six, and at my hotel at Disneyland trip, I nearly drowned. I was saved by my sister.
Anxiety can cripple you, increase your heart rate, make it hard to breathe and make your thoughts irrational. I have thought during one of the worst panic attacks of my life that I was going to die–a very absurd idea. From what I know, you can’t die from a panic attack or anxiety. But the fear associated with it is genuine. Fear is an interesting thing because when you are in a panic attack, the fears in our lives are exponentially increased.
The fear is real at the moment, but eventually, when you can refocus, the fears become something you can change. It comes down to recognizing triggers in my experience. An example, late at night after I take my Seroquel, it can feel as if my body is shutting down, that is its job. But the fear sets in at times because anxiety and panic attacks do not let you know when it is coming. It is always at the most inopportune time, it is not? At times I hyperventilate, making the fear of not breathing seem extremely real when the reality is I am causing the increase with my irrational thinking.
What Can You Do? Well I have a few Ideas
Handing anxiety is not a one size fits all method. It comes down to what works for you. I have some ideas that will work. A thought journal after an increase in anxiety or panic attack, or even during if that is possible, can help you pinpoint your fears and triggers and come up with strategies to combat.
Tracking your mood several times a day in a notebook with the time, the level of anxiety with a simple scare of 1-10, and maybe a thought or two can also be effective in knowing when your anxiety is at its peak. Mine peaks around three in the afternoon and at times late at night right before bed. We are in a technological age and so CBT books or working with your therapist on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a great option. I find music is the great equalizer alongside writing.
We are now living in unprecedented times when whole countries and states are in lockdown. The fears we now live in are a reality that we have to face when it comes to anxious feelings. With so many of us now sequestered at home, there are bound to be anxious fears about what is going on in the world.
I wish I had all the answers, but I am only the sum of my experiences with panic attacks and anxiety. One thing you can do above all else when looking for how-to solutions to handle anxiety. You can educate yourself. We have information at our fingertips and researching the technical stuff is important, but read the blogs of others. There might be something I have not talked about that could help you. Above all, anxiety is natural, and though it may feel like forever to many, it can be something that can be controlled. I have whole other posts about benzodiazepines that I will be writing in the future. These medications, if taken long term, can cause severe effects with anxiety and panic attacks. That is a post for another day with said, stay safe out there, The Bipolar Writer is thinking of you.
Always Keep Fighting
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