What to do when experiencing anxiety

As someone who has an anxiety disorder, I was left with many questions and not much in terms of what to do. I wanted to relay to you what I wish I was told. When someone experiences panic disorders, high anxiety or OCD, one’s life gets appropriated by the fight or flight response.

  • Understand that an anxiety disorder is the body’s protection mechanism gone awry.
  • Understand that anxiety is not going to kill you (even though it feels like it will)
  • Try to maintain a regular schedule (wake and sleep cycle).
  • Limit caffeine. If you don’t want to break the habit, do not take it in the later two-thirds of your day.
  • Get sleep.
  • Walk a lot, (especially 3 hours before bedtime for 30 minutes). Walking helped me get rid of that excess energy and helped to focus myself on my surroundings instead of turning inwards. Walking in the evening allows you to dissipate the days’ events and reduces overall stress.
  • Sometimes diet aggravates things, try to avoid eating carby garbage throughout the day.
  • Smell something pleasant like lemons to change your modality (from an inward to outward sense experience)
  • Find a group that you are comfortable with and learn from them what you can. (ie OCA has been great to me)
  • Write down your questions so that your sessions with your mental health provider are as productive as they can be.
  • Journal. Writing stuff down helps you to illustrate what triggers you and that yes you do have good days too.
  • Know that you will get through this!!! (especially when having a panic attack) (in fact, make that your mantra)
  • Realize that you have survived all your other panic attacks, despite the way you felt the situation was going to turn out…..and no the next one is not going to kill you either.
  • Also, don’t assume you will have another one. You might or you might not, either way you are probably wrong so avoid predicting the future.
  • Build your own emotional support through family, friends and spouse, but don’t tax them with your obsessions. OCD is strange in this way as obsessions do not make sense to most people. Find a fellow OCDer to unload these thoughts. A group dedicated to OCD for example, will understand that OCD thoughts are bizarre and mostly dark in nature. Sharing these thoughts and realizing that others have similar thoughts are better equipped to peel that onion with you.

4 responses to “What to do when experiencing anxiety”

  1. religionerased says :

    I’m sorry to hear you have been through it, I have too and it can be terrifying.
    Is it a recent thing or something you have always had to put up with?

    • The Scrupulous Atheist says :

      I didn’t always have to put up with it, but I guess as life has become more complicated, I have a higher level of stress and anxiety. The OCD flares up from time to time, but went pretty symptom free for about 20 years. I am in a much better place. I just thought my case so unusual that I decided to blog about it. There aren’t many atheists who are scrupulous.

      • religionerased says :

        I suffer from Tourette’s and OCD, and I’m constantly over thinking. I assume this overthinking has led me to question almost everything and has lead to my atheism. Which is a positive out of it!
        It’s great that you blog about it, the more people aware of the various conditions the better. It also great that you are in a much better place 🙂

        • The Scrupulous Atheist says :

          Thank you very much for your kind words. It is with some irony that because of my OCD, I too ended up questioning everything. OCD lead to my atheism as well. There are two people including myself that I know that suffer from scrupulosity (in a similar way) and are atheist. I don’t know her real name, but she is the you-tuber “ghostofdayinperson” She. too. suffers from OCD (ie occasional fear of hell etc…). I would say she is more controversial than I am as I am more about mental illness advocacy than confronting theism, but she’s got some interesting things to say.

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