1. Stay indoors. Avoid the situation that makes you anxious. Works a treat.
2. Eat a fuck-tonne of ice-cream and binge-watch boxsets all day. Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked is my recommended choice. And “The Wire”.
3. Eeeerrrmmm……..think positive?? I haven’t got a fucking clue! Because guess what; I have NEVER USED “COPING” TECHNIQUES.
“Well how did you deal with your supposedly crippling anxiety then, Tim?”
Here’s the straight up truth; I didn’t. I never tried to deal with it or cope with it or suppress it (drugs aside, both legal and illegal!). My only interest was in CRUSHING it. DESTROYING it. ERADICATING it. Not for an hour or to get me through a social situation or a panic attack. FOREVER.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for coping mechanisms. There are many great blogs out there which give wonderful tips and advice for helping you in your most anxious moments. “Anxious Lass” is one such blog. Check her out, she’s magic! It’s just that I never used them. I probably SHOULD have! Would’ve helped me out no end. But I didn’t.
“But why Tim? You’re not making any sense!”
Listen up mi amigos! As you’ll know if you’ve already read my FREE PDF “How I Crushed Anxiety TWICE!!” (and if you haven’t, stop right there, click the orange link, sign-up to this blog, download it and share my story) the first time I had anxiety was before the interwebs was even a big thing. I wasn’t connected to dial-up, never mind broadband. So I had no idea I was suffering from anxiety. I just knew something was wrong with my life and something might well be wrong with ME!
But I was too anxious to go to the doctor, especially as I didn’t really know what was wrong. I certainly didn’t think I had a mental illness. As far as I was concerned, it was just stultifying shyness. How do you “cope” with something when you don’t even know what your issue is? Or when you don’t even think it is a real, serious issue?
But this I now realise, was partly an advantage. It meant I had no negative beliefs about overcoming it. Plus, I didn’t stick a label on myself. I didn’t see myself as mentally ill, with an anxiety disorder. So I hadn’t picked up any negative beliefs such as:
“It’s with me for life”
“It’s in my genes”.
“It’s who I am”
My only thought was
“This isn’t going away. It’s getting worse. It’s up to ME and me alone to try to get rid of it. Sort myself out.”
So I did.
Pretty simple, huh?
And guess what? This is a pattern that you will see with almost every single person who has recovered from anxiety. They nearly all had the realisation that they had to do more. They made a conscious choice to either get help, or haul themselves out of the mire. Most people don’t do this until they hit rock-bottom. I was no different. The second time, I had to reach a suicidal state before I made that decision. The reason I’m saying this to you in such strong terms, is that I don’t want you to have to hit rock-bottom before you take action. Trust me, you DO NOT want to go there.
HUMANS ARE LAZY!!
Why do people wait till they hit their lowest ebb before doing what’s required to get rid of anxiety? It’s the same with anything; humans are fucking LAZY! It’s true! It’s why so many of us sit in “comfort zones” or “ruts”. Sure, we hate our job. Sure, our relationship sucks. Sure, we want to get fit and healthy. Sure, we want to travel the world. But how may of us actually make the effort to do those things? Very few. Because it’s hard work! We struggle to find the motivation. Our lives are too comfortable. Yes, we might be unhappy but at least I’ve got the latest Iphone, Netflix, a nice car and a big screen TV. Nothing gives you motivation and drive like hitting rock-bottom. When there’s nowhere else to go but up, it’s a much easier decision. And let me spell it out for you:
Recovering from anxiety starts with a PERSONAL CHOICE that you are going to make a greater effort to defeat it.
You see, here’s part of the problem with mental health issues today. I’m putting my neck on the chopping block by saying this, but here goes:
Some people with anxiety (not all, but certainly many) are waiting for someone or something else to magically make them better or for it to just disappear
There, I said it. And while I’m at it, here’s another one:
Some people with anxiety have basically BECOME the label that has been put upon them. It’s become who they are. It’s how they define themselves. It’s as much a part of them as their name or their personality.
Now this is just my personal opinion, so don’t take it too much to heart if you are disagreeing with me right now and want to give me a slap in the face with a lettuce leaf. But this opinion comes with plenty of evidence to back it up. Firstly, I’ve lived with social anxiety for over 20 years. I’ve lived without it for around 5 years. The SECOND time I had anxiety, I became one of those people who waited for someone or something to happen that would magically make me better. I also became one of those people who started to define themselves as “anxious”. Timothy “Socially Anxious” Phoenix. And you know what? I was proud of it. I felt good. I was being honest and open. Deal with it people! But you know what else?
It didn’t make me better.
Although it will feel good that you’ve accepted your condition and that in itself is an important thing to do, I’ve noticed that in too many people, it then leads to them giving up on eradicating the problem. And I have spoken with dozens of people who have anxiety. The themes are very consistent. They start to believe:
“Ah well, I’ve got this for life but it’s fine. I’ll just deal with it the best I can and live as good a life as possible”
Which sounds great on paper but it basically means you’ve given up on becoming totally healthy. Once you start to believe that you can’t get rid of anxiety, YOU ARE FUCKED. I can’t say it any more plainly than that.
Sure, you can still have a good life. I’m not in any way saying otherwise. But you can’t pretend that you’ll be 100% happy. You know you’ll still lack the confidence that will set you free to do whatever you want. As someone who has recovered from anxiety, I can tell you that life is IMMEASURABLY better without anxiety. I’ll tell you another thing; I’m never going back there. Because I put the work in over a sustained period of time and am STILL putting the work in even now, to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I’m talking personal development.
Opening my mind.
Being aware of it.
And taking ACTION to reinforce what I learn. I’ll talk more about this soon.
So I really only have 1 tip for coping with anxiety:
DON’T COPE WITH IT! Put all your energy into GETTING RID OF IT! Because it can be done.
In the meantime, please leave a comment, I want to hear from you! Do you agree with me? Disagree? Please share with a retweet if you like my post or give some like-button love for a fellow wordpresser 🙂 And sign up for blog updates! You’ll get my free ebook “How I Crushed Anxiety TWICE! The easy way and the hard way” when you subscribe.