As I was sitting in that empty room back in December, it was clear that things needed to change. It was clear that my mental illness had tried to take me, and there I was piecing together a plan, of how to cope through.
I have generalized anxiety disorder.
If you don`t know what that is, I will give a quick rundown. Generalized anxiety disorder is a feeling of on-going stress and worry, to the point where it can be all you feel. It starts to interfere with your regular day-today activities. It can present on it`s own, or along with other mood/mental health struggles. It can make life quite difficult to manage through.
Symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder:
First, I`d like to point out that symptoms and mental illnessses and conditions look different on everyone. Anxiety on one person likely presents itself differently on another person. The following are simply known common symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, but are in no way ALL the symptoms whatsoever.
Making plans to overcome WORSE-CASE scenarios
Difficulty handling uncertainty
Difficulty concentrating, or having a blank mind when trying to focus
Understanding situations to be very threatening even when they are not
Again, these are just SOME of the symptoms. These are in no way ALL of them.
I basically have every single one of these symptoms, every single day.
Life gets so discouraging when you are fighting these invisible things. On top of the anxiety disorder, I also have BiPolar 2 Disorder. A disorder that is not nearly known as much as BiPolar 1.
What you need to know about BiPolar 2 Disorder:
While BiPolar 2 is similar to BiPolar, there are differences very much worth noting. There are still the emotional highs and lows that one cycles through, though they may not be as intense.
Struggling with BiPolar 2 Disorder encompasses long bouts of depressions. Long, deep, and dark lows that seem to linger for what feels like forever.
Major Depressive Episode Symptoms:
A major depressive episode is characterized by symptoms that are so severe, that they interrupt your day-today life and activities.
Significant weight-loss, with no diet or work out plan in place.
Loss of interest in any hobbies/activities that were once enjoyed.
Loss of energy.
No motivation, or very little.
Sleeping pattern change. Insomnia or sleeping all the time.
The list, of course, continues. Again, symptoms are different and look different on everyone.
These two conditions kick my butt 90% of the time and leave me feeling a whole lot of nothing.
So when I was sitting there in that empty room talking about what I was going to do the next time I was having suicidal thoughts, it became very overwhelming. My mind went blank, and it felt like I couldn`t think. Though, I was trying so hard.
Slowly, but surely, the doctor and I pieced together a mental health crisis plan that I could remember, and found helpful. I became overwhelmed many times after leaving the hospital. I was in sheer shock of what I went through, for several days. This one breathing technique continued to ground me every single time.
5 things you can see. Look around your environment and note 5 things you can see. It doesn`t matter what they are at all. You can just say it in your head, making this a useful tool when you are out and bombarded with anxiety, or if you are at home, you can verbally say them.
4 things you can hear. This really forced me to quiet my mind so I could hear what was going on. My surroundings were no longer just NOISE, but rather specific sounds.
3 things you can taste. Maybe it`s your coffee, or your toothpaste, but whatever it is, be mindful and take note of it.
2 things you can smell. It may take some focusing to really clue in on what you are smelling, but take those moments to be present and breath long deep breaths in and out.
1 thing you can feel. Are you sitting on a soft blanket? Or maybe you are standing in line at the grocery store holding the grocery cart.
Sometimes I get the numbers mixed up, but the point of it is to re-focus your brain.
Your mind can`t 100% focus on multiple things at once. So, if you can divert it, then you can bring back to your calm. Then you have a better chance of regaining control over it.
This breathing technique has brought me back from so many bad moments in the last two months now. It has brought me back to what my version of normal is.
My normal changes each day, and I`m learning that that is perfectly okay.
But in the moments where I feel I can`t handle how I am feeling, or I`ve lost control, I come back to this technique.
It has helped me more times than I can count in the last two months, and I am so grateful they taught me it at the hospital.
Do you have a go-to anxiety coping tool/technique?