Hello beautiful people,
today’s post is going to be a little different a little more personal: I decided to share with you how I handle my anxiety disorder, what little tips I can share, what supplements I use and what books I recommend. Anxiety can be a very debilitating condition so I hope that through my experience someone can find some useful tips and ideas.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, what you will read is my PERSONAL experience living with an anxiety disorder diagnosed by a GP and a psychiatrist. I am in no way trying to diagnose, but simply willing to share with you a few tips that helped in my long battle with anxiety.
I had my first panic attack at 21 while still in Milan, at the time I thought something was wrong with my heart but it turned out I was experiencing severe anxiety. Not much was done back done apart from dispensing some drops to take at nighttime to help me relax and sleep.
I am now almost 37 and over the past 16 years, I have been through it all: depression, nervous breakdown, severe anxiety, trips to A&R …the whole lot. At the beginning of this journey, I was simply trying not to think too much about my anxiety which would normally manifest itself with heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, racing thoughts and the overwhelming feeling I was going to die. I partied my way through it, clubbing and dancing the night away somehow created an escape, hours of fun that would allow me to really let go. The partying introduced me to recreational stuff that in the long run actually made my anxiety worse, much worse. Over the past 10 years I have been prescribed several antidepressants and several anti-anxiety medications to try and stop my meltdowns and my crippling anxiety, most of them would work for a while then they would stop. The side effects and the withdrawal from one to the other for me have always been agony as I am very sensitive to psychotropic drugs. I then decided to try CBT ( by this time I have developed a phobia of toilets, or better still I was scared of not having one around me if I needed to go)which unfortunately I didn’t find very helpful. Eventually a couple of years ago my GP and I decided I should try venlafaxine(a newish type of antidepressant) and that kind of worked for me.N o drug is magic though, and I am a firm believer that while for some medication is essential, a 360-degree approach to the problem must be taken. And this is what I want to discuss with you all today.Sorry for the long introduction but I wanted to give you a better picture of where I am at before dispensing advice
.So one of the first things I did was to completely change my diet, which meant ditching most of the processed food, learning how to cook from scratch and most importantly for me ditching the white stuff aka sugar. A friend of mine ( Hello Phoebe!) recommended a series of books from author Sarah Wilson about quitting sugar and they ended up to this day being my go to and my bible. Cooking also gives me a sense of accomplishment which is really soothing if I am having a bad da y. You can find them here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Books-Sarah-Wilson/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A266239%2Cp_lbr_books_authors_browse-bin%3ASarah%20Wilson.
My new approach to food means eating lots of veggies( raw,boiled,steamed etc) paired with a good source of protein( salmon,t una,sardines,chicken,lean b eef,e ggs,tofu etc).I tend to use buckwheat as my grain of choice,as its easy to cook and wuite nutriti ous.When it comes to sugar I dont buy cakes or fizzy drinks , but i like to always have 85 per cent dark chocolate in the house for when i crave something sweet and I always have raspberries in the fridge as well which i like to add to my morning porridge or to a bowl of yog urt.Having said that I am no saint and life is meant to be celebrated so If I want to have a tiramisu from time to time I will certainly have it without any guilty feeling.A word about coffee: one little espresso in the morning is the most i can tolerate as if i drink more than that my adreanl glads will go crazy and I might end up having really bad anxiety for the day. Stimulants are not my friend and I dont think they are anxious people’s friends eit her.For the same reason I like to avoid sugar laden stuff. As a result of all of this I ended up getting leaner but also not relying on crap food for energy throughout the day and actually enjoying prepping my meals.
The second step for me was listening to my body: if i need rest I will rest , if I feel like sleeping all day to recharge that is what I will do ,again without feeling guilty about it.My anxiety comes with chronic fatigue as well and as much as I would sometimes like to have more stamine ,unfortunatly that is not possible and I am learning to be ok with it.Physical activity has always been a hit or miss with me as i long to wok out yet i dont always have the energy so twice a week works for me : some weights and some corselene excerci ses.Running unfortunaly ,not quite sure why , makes me very anxious so that is a no no for me. Yoga on the other end i found it quite hard as standing still was an impossible task for me but I might give it anther shot.
When it comes to supplements , it is all so incredibly confusing and it takes lots of errors before you can get it right.Also bear in mind that what works for me might not work for you.Anyhow this is the list of what I am currently taking right now :
1- testosterone support ( I have been diagnosed with low testosterone so I am trying the natural approach before bombarding my body with hormones)https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0786NM659/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
2-selenium and zinc for energy levels
3-turmeric for its anti inflammation benefits
4- Magnesium L-Threonate this is a god sent for nightime use as it really relaxes me and helps me sleep
5- omega 3 supplements , there are so many out there but the best for me is always bare biology
6- melatonin : this is a gray area , as it is a hormone. I use in cycles, 2 weeks then a couple of months of and so on. it helps me sleep better but bear in mind it can give very lucid dreams
Now when it comes to books there is a whole universe of self help ones out there so i am not going to bore you with a long list but I am going to share one of the books that made me thing of anxiety in a completly different way ,almost as a superpower and it is from the same author of the I quit sugar stuff i mentioned earlier.This is a great book for anxious minds and for friends of anxious minds alike. Have a read you will love it and learn from it,https://www.amazon.co.uk/First-We-Make-Beast-Beautiful-ebook/dp/B0749C47GM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1529486549&sr=1-1&keywords=first+we+make+the+beast+beautiful
ME TIME: time for myself is essential, i recharge when i am alone.Cleaning my room,tidying up,doing a face m ask,watching a crime mystery drama on netflix and so on. I long for these times and i always try to tresure t hem.My passion for skincare and make up is also an outlet for my anxiety and it allows me to feel truly happy and content.All of this does not mean I dont enjoy being with friends because I do!But it means time speant alone for me is also very important.
PET THERAPY 5 years ago a little, during a very low time in my life a little (not so little acually) fluff ball ended up in my garden and I started feeding him and eventaully this cat moved .He is been with me ever since , and I hinestky could not be more thankful : the calming effect a pet can have on you is beyond words. I f i am feeling very restless and anxious he would just lie on my chest and its purring would be so conforting for me. Please if you think of getting a pet go visit your nearest shelter , do not buy!!
These are some of the tools I use alongside conventional medications,which once again I do not demonise but are for some like myself a necessary evil to cope with day to day life.There is probably a lot more I would love to share with you but maybe I will save it for another post where I will go more into details about what living with anxiety actually feels like.If you have any other tips or tools you want to share please do so in the comment section below, I would love to hear your stories.May you all have a great anxiety free day !