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Deep Dive IV: What gives you anxiety? How do you cope?



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Do you experience anxiety?

  • Yes, I experience it, but it's not too much of a "struggle".

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    16

Grono

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Hello, wonderful insiders! I'm continuing today's Deep Dive with a question that's up-close and personal as always: what gives you anxiety?

Now, I am a person who experiences a lot of my anxiety in my daily life. I've suspected that I have a crippling anxiety disorder for years now, as several family members struggle with one, but I've never been diagnosed, so I will not pretend like what I have is as real as any actual anxiety disorders here.

One thing that gives me severe anxiety is my crippling fear of letting people down. This is something that's permeated throughout my entire life, as I am a chronic procrastinator and also extremely empathetic. This makes it so that I cannot function well whenever I let anyone down or miss any deadlines. I get anxiety when I'm late for an appointment, when I have to arrive at my GF's house later than planned, when I forget or fail to turn in assignments in a timely manner, and when I'm feeling stressed and can't seem to find the motivation to finish something I am working on.

This has also made it so that when something monumental happens in my life, like a break-up, I am practically destroyed for several months.

I don't tell many people about my feelings with my last break-up, but I had a lot of problems right out the gate. Since I found out that she didn't tell the entire truth for the entire relationship, everything that I thought I was doing well was suddenly put to question. The things that were outright confirmed as being shitty or poorly handled destroyed me for months and gave me extreme anxiety. All I felt was guilt, and what I was left with was a mound of questions that not only asked me things like how my s*x life actually was but if I was ever as caring and loving as I ever thought I was.

Now, this anxiety did give me some positives, as it often does. It made it so that with my current girlfriend I played it safe and tried to be the least shitty I could be. As a result, this relationship feels a lot less toxic and a lot more mutual. At the same time, though...

I like to think about this phrase I've heard again and again about love. The phrase is "the heart wants what it wants". I think about this late at night constantly, tossing and turning. What does it mean? Well, to me, that phrase means that, no matter how toxic or mismatched a relationship may seem to you, you will always want it back in some capacity. There's a bond with that person that can't be cut as easily as one might hope, and no matter what you do to avoid any more heartbreak from either party and no matter how much healthier you may feel with another person...

The heart will want what it wants.

And that, my dear readers, is what gives me the most anxiety.

Anyways, what gives you anxiety? Do you have any meaningful coping strategies that you may want to share? Whatever it is, comment below and let me know! c:
 

Soldier

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Now THIS is a topic I can get behind!
Okay, I was born to a family of worriers, anxiety, among other things, flows in my veins along with a hypersensitivity (I can hear through walls, strong eyesight, good perception, etc.) And my there was a time where it wasn't "that bad". My main thing to be anxious about now is college, and I'm sure I don't have to tell anyone, it's tough. I'm not there to drink myself into a stupor and pass out on someone's lawn, or party or anything, I'm there to get my degree, and get out.

To that extent, that means I focus on my homework, study for exams, and work to the best of my ability. I earned my place here after all, shouldn't I be entitled to my version of the college experience (I.E. commute every day, cut down costs as much as humanely possible). But this comes at a drastic cost with increased anxiety from the pressure of it all. It used to just be "fear of the unknown" every semester, i'm adjusting to a new schedule and different train times I need to catch. But over time, this grew in size because of my intense courseload of 5 classes a semester. At first, I was able to handle it by buckling down and doing the work, and nothing but the work, only watching a video or two on YouTube or going on KHI to blow off a little steam. Obviously this left little down time, but I didn't care, I don't want to be in college any longer than I have to.

Fast forward to my second semester and one class really brought out the anxiety tenfold. I couldn't pass a single lecture exam, NOBODY could, and I didn't want to retake the course because of some heartless professor. I remember wasting my spring break worrying over an exam that was postponed until after we got back. I couldn't eat, insomnia hit me at full force, I was tired and angry at everything and my already heightened senses reached a new level of strength that I couldn't control. it was just a never ending nightmare that seemed to go on forever. I even had to miss a day for the first time in 4 YEARS of perfect attendance. It made me feel depressed, losing my status as the brown haired blur and the self motivated student who fought blistering winds and icy conditions to get to class. But after I finished that semester barely passing the class with a straight C, I realized I was going to burn myself out, so I knew I had to do things differently. I take 4 classes, breathe deeply before going to bed and don't take things as seriously. I suppose I do occasionally try to unwind with a video game or two, but it's often hard to focus on it when your mind is in a fight or flight situation.
Nowadays, the aforementioned handicaps mentioned (insomnia, inability to keep food down) are surprisingly relegated to either when the pollen starts up (seasonal allergies) or when I'm really thrown off my feet by some drastic change. Fortunately, the effects don't last very long and usually resolve within 24 or so hours.
 

Shawty

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I've been diagnosed with social anxiety a couple of years back and received therapy for that and depression. It was so bad I couldn't leave the house. My therapy started in 2013, had a therapist who I really liked for about 6 months and then she retired. She suggested I try group therapy. I was hesitant at first, because, helloooo, social anxiety! But I ended up giving it a try, for another 6 months! It was good for my anxiety, absolutely, but ultimately I felt like I didn't get the treatment I needed- there's only so much time you can focus on one person in a group session, so I went back to individual therapy. I love the therapist I got after that. She was fantastic.

I quit therapy back in September 2015, when I first started my bachelors. Scary stuff. But my god did I improve. I'm about to finish and get my degree if everything goes well and I graduate in July (which is the plan).

I still struggle with anxiety. But I don't get panic attacks anymore, or at least not as often. The last one I had was back in 2017 when I started my first internship and I just really didn't vibe with that place. I immediately searched for a new internship and was so proud of myself of talking about what happened, signaling my student counselor instantaneously and just planning instead of panicking and giving up, which is what I would've done a couple of years ago.

As I've said, I still struggle with anxiety. It's just not as bad anymore and I know how to handle it in unexpected situations.
 
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I don't have anxiety(never been diagnosed) but I do get anxious from time to time. The thing I've noticed that really gets me is presenting in front of people, and this is really a recent development. I think it has to do with the fact that I've put in so much effort to make this speech or powerpoint and I just start to worry that, "What if I said the wrong thing", "What if I misinterpreted the prompt", "or what if people reject this piece of me that I have made vulnerable" . Stuff like that. What I've learned to do at this point is I 1) Start praying. 2) close my eyes and take deep breaths 3) (If it's appropriate) walk/shake it out. And then 4) move forward.is

Another thing that kinda gets to me would be opening up to people. And this is in multiple forms like sharing something I wrote, telling someone how I'm feeling, even like posting on threads like right now. I worry what people will think of me or will judge me for what I've made vulnerable to them, I'm scared they'll reject me. And I think this is something that'll affect me throughout my life, really. As of right now I don't know how to combat it, all I can do is push though it. I've decided I'm not going to let it stop me from doing what I want to do and/or am passionate about.
 

Shawty

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Presenting is something that still makes me anxious, too. I've always had positive feedback from my teachers and classmates, saying I always do very well and seem very confident, but in reality I'm dying inside. It's something I just can't seem to shake.
I've learned a couple of tricks for this though, mostly thanks to breathing therapy I've had. Often times when you are nervous your breath is way up in your throat causing you to feel out of breath. I always do some breathing exercises beforehand. Also if I tend to forget something mid-presentation, I grab a bottle of water nearby and sip, then continue. My teacher has taught us that it's always better to fall silent than to start bringing up excuses, apologising, or continuously saying "uhm".

Breathing techniques in general help me cope with my anxiety, so definitely worth looking into!


Edit: woops, this was supposed to be quoting the message above. Still getting used to the new interface.
 

Soldier

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Presenting is something that still makes me anxious, too. I've always had positive feedback from my teachers and classmates, saying I always do very well and seem very confident, but in reality I'm dying inside. It's something I just can't seem to shake.
I've learned a couple of tricks for this though, mostly thanks to breathing therapy I've had. Often times when you are nervous your breath is way up in your throat causing you to feel out of breath. I always do some breathing exercises beforehand. Also if I tend to forget something mid-presentation, I grab a bottle of water nearby and sip, then continue. My teacher has taught us that it's always better to fall silent than to start bringing up excuses, apologising, or continuously saying "uhm".

Breathing techniques in general help me cope with my anxiety, so definitely worth looking into!


Edit: woops, this was supposed to be quoting the message above. Still getting used to the new interface.
Did you ever try dressing up formally before a presentation? it helps boost confidence, i'm living proof. Whenever I had to present in front of a class in high school, I would always wear the same thing, a suit and dress pants, with a tie adorned with Woolly mammoths. It made me look and feel like someone important. It goes by the old mantra "if you look your best, you feel your best" and it can change your whole perspective.
 

Neo_

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I have OCD and it stems into ruining pretty much everything. It has defined a portion of my life (most people wouldn't realize), but I'm not hard on myself because I did nothing to deserve it and at a certain point it's dumb to fight stuff you can't control.

So I don't exactly have social anxiety, but my mind is mostly elsewhere, ruminating on illogical things most of the time because I have a mental disease I can't control... most people just think I'm a normal person. The only people I ever told about it was my family because it was so bad that it would've caused me to bomb college so I dropped out before it even started.

I guess there are ways to cope... it really comes down to basic things like sleeping, eating properly, exercising, etc. Some people would scoff at this, but I would even suggest praying; just do your best, cause there's nothing else you can do. Sometimes it's hard to live a perfect life, because it isn't exactly fun or easy; it all comes down to balance, which I still haven't figured out myself.

I even saw a psychologist for like six sessions because I was ruminating shit so bad (hoping I would get medication), but he did absolutely nothing to help. The guy gets paid good money to tell people "just don't think about it". I don't think those sessions helped me in any way, but I basically had to do it cause I told my parents what was going on.

I mentioned praying earlier in the thread... you'd be surprised. Just as a random aside, the few times I've gone to to church in the last ten years or so, the sermon always relates to a specific (and usually the most important) issue I'm facing... it's just too coincidental...

Life is hard. At the end of the day I wonder if there are legitimate "rules" to human existence (does karma exist for instance), or if this was all one big accident that somehow turned out surprisingly organized. "Life is a rollercoaster, just gotta ride it."

I'm really kind of crazy; even simple stuff like going to the bank or having a meeting doesn't exactly give me anxiety, but it seems like nothing is real. Like I look into people's eyes and am thinking "Why do we even try?", lol. I'm assuming this happens everyone, but I had that "nothing is real" phase after graduating high school... it's good and bad. People don't talk about stuff like that, but I'm assuming everyone has thoughts like that eventually? It would be kind of weird not to.

I'm assuming my life is actual opposite to most people's in that when I was young everything was normal and made sense, but now that I'm an adult, I just think about and break everything down and try to find the meaning of everything and it just fucks you up (yay, the new forum doesn't change curse words to diddly!). I'm also a hardcore introvert, in that I rarely have the desire to hang out with anyone anymore; I'm literally 99% introverted. I can't help it.
 

Shawty

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Did you ever try dressing up formally before a presentation? it helps boost confidence, i'm living proof. Whenever I had to present in front of a class in high school, I would always wear the same thing, a suit and dress pants, with a tie adorned with Woolly mammoths. It made me look and feel like someone important. It goes by the old mantra "if you look your best, you feel your best" and it can change your whole perspective.

I feel like this would work for some people, but definitely not for me lol. I don't necessarily own anything formal as my style is pretty much out of the norm already, and I feel the worst in formal attire (besides that, blazers look awful on me). But you are right on the if you look your best, you feel your best attitude! I do pay a lot of attention to how I look in important situations- I always make sure my clothes are ironed, my makeup is well done, and I feel comfortable in what I'm wearing. That does help boost confidence a lot!

Presenting just isn't my thing, I'm incredibly introverted and don't like being the center of attention. I'm just glad that my anxiety doesn't show anymore, it just manifests inside, and from other people's perspective, I do look really comfortable.

That being said, I'm already dreading my final presentation + defense for my graduation project at the end of June lol
 

Soldier

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I feel like this would work for some people, but definitely not for me lol. I don't necessarily own anything formal as my style is pretty much out of the norm already, and I feel the worst in formal attire (besides that, blazers look awful on me). But you are right on the if you look your best, you feel your best attitude! I do pay a lot of attention to how I look in important situations- I always make sure my clothes are ironed, my makeup is well done, and I feel comfortable in what I'm wearing. That does help boost confidence a lot!

Presenting just isn't my thing, I'm incredibly introverted and don't like being the center of attention. I'm just glad that my anxiety doesn't show anymore, it just manifests inside, and from other people's perspective, I do look really comfortable.

That being said, I'm already dreading my final presentation + defense for my graduation project at the end of June lol
It's funny that you mention that you don't like being the center of attention, I'm the same way. But wearing that suit does something to me. Much like how a alternate identity changes a superhero it makes me go from a slightly-antisocial person who glares a lot to what many people refer to as "prince charming". It just takes control and I treat the presentation like a talk show almost, putting in terrible jokes that would make eyes roll ("Now I can't say WHICH president said this, that's confidential, but let's call this my "Trump card") and go through a range of emotions to keep the crowd pleased. Its good to know some people do the same thing as me, in their own way that makes them feel better. Guess the suit idea is a "one size fits all".
 

Grono

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I have anxiety in front of my peers, but not my students. As a teacher, I have little to no anxieties in front of students, but one thing that shuts me down entirely is when a colleague asks me to try something mid-lesson that I haven't prepared. Want to find a good way to ruin me for a big project? Ask me to do that in the middle of it and it will cripple me.

On top of that, I'm just way too hard on myself. One of my teachers told me that I was "self-flagellating" and that I needed to learn to stand up for myself and be more optimistic about my personal growth. That line has honestly stuck with me.

I get so nervous sometimes presenting anything that I develop a stutter or a speech impediment, seriously. It's a big problem I have when I'm clearly uncomfortable.

As for praying... nah. I'm an atheist, and while some sermons I have sat through are fine I just can't... believe in the goal of them. On top of that, the whole "everyone deserves to be saved" mantra people spout just seems wrong to me. People like Jack Chick made comics about Christians, some of them even r*pists, going to heaven because of believing in Jesus, and I can't ever get behind that.

I do meditate, however. One of my classmates made a point where meditation was this closed off thing with a specific image that needs to be opened up, and he said that meditation can be used anywhere. Personally, the way I meditate is by listening to an unrelated album or podcast before I go up in front of my peers or students. That always helps me wind down and appreciate some peace and quiet.

Anxiety is a demon we all face, and I'm so glad that all of you have participated in this topic to bring light to it on the forums. Thank you for participating so much, a new deep dive will be up tomorrow morning 🥰
 

Shawty

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I have anxiety in front of my peers, but not my students. As a teacher, I have little to no anxieties in front of students, but one thing that shuts me down entirely is when a colleague asks me to try something mid-lesson that I haven't prepared. Want to find a good way to ruin me for a big project? Ask me to do that in the middle of it and it will cripple me.

On top of that, I'm just way too hard on myself. One of my teachers told me that I was "self-flagellating" and that I needed to learn to stand up for myself and be more optimistic about my personal growth. That line has honestly stuck with me.

I get so nervous sometimes presenting anything that I develop a stutter or a speech impediment, seriously. It's a big problem I have when I'm clearly uncomfortable.

As for praying... nah. I'm an atheist, and while some sermons I have sat through are fine I just can't... believe in the goal of them. On top of that, the whole "everyone deserves to be saved" mantra people spout just seems wrong to me. People like Jack Chick made comics about Christians, some of them even r*pists, going to heaven because of believing in Jesus, and I can't ever get behind that.

I do meditate, however. One of my classmates made a point where meditation was this closed off thing with a specific image that needs to be opened up, and he said that meditation can be used anywhere. Personally, the way I meditate is by listening to an unrelated album or podcast before I go up in front of my peers or students. That always helps me wind down and appreciate some peace and quiet.

Anxiety is a demon we all face, and I'm so glad that all of you have participated in this topic to bring light to it on the forums. Thank you for participating so much, a new deep dive will be up tomorrow morning 🥰


Yes to all of this. I don't believe in prayer either, I believe in intent. Since I do dabble in witchcraft I conjure some spells every now and then to help me, but the ultimate goal of spellwork is having the intent of succeeding. If you don't believe YOU will succeed, then you won't. It's not about some other power- it's about your own belief in yourself.

It's interesting how you're a teacher coping with anxiety, but don't experience it in front of students. I've seen with some of my own teachers that they're incredible in front of the class but when you have an individual conversation with them when you run into them in the cafeteria, for example, they're very awkward and seem to want to get out of the situation so that dynamic is very fascinating to me.

As I've mentioned before presenting is something I'm terrified of, but when I'm leading a conversation sitting down with everyone or starting a discussion I feel very...powerful in a way. Not necessarily as in "I have power over these people" but as in, I can actually talk about things and not be nervous about the reaction, whereas if I were standing up in front of them that whole dynamic shifts in a way where I feel very vulnerable.

Anxiety is an interesting bastard. Great deep dive, looking forward to the next one!
 

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I usually have anxiety right before I go to bed at night. Which is what I’m experiencing right now as I type this. I haven’t really found a great way to cope because, I second guess myself on decisions I’ve made during the day.

For example, today I put garbage in the garbage bin without a top on it to keep it from animals. (We don’t have a lid for this one, and the other garbage bins with lids were full from this weeks garbage.) So now I’m afraid a raccoon will appear and get in the garbage, then attack my dog tomorrow because, not everyone in my family puts a leash on her when she’s outside. (We live in a rural town. And unfortunately, we had a incident with a raccoon before around say three or four years ago due to our garbage attracting it.) And because I remember this incident, my anxiety picks this for the evening to torture myself with.

Now it’s unlikely this scenario will happen, plus garbage day is on Wednesday, so it shouldn’t be a problem. And animals are only just starting to wake up from hibernating. (Yes, I’m assuming raccoons hibernate.)

But I have irrational anxiety. It happens occasionally, and I try really hard not to let it win most of the time. And that’s how I cope. I look at what’s kicking up my anxiety and ask myself, is this worth getting worried about? What’s the likely hood I forgot to lock or close the door in the morning? (The answer is the door is closed and locked.) I know my brain is trying to deceive me, and that’s what I think about when it starts to happen. It’s a battle; I can either let it win or come out on top.
 

Noir

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I suffer from anxiety as a result of what I believe is poor treatment as a child by my parents and my peers. I was pretty introverted growing up, but I like to think I'm actually very sociable in my adult years. However, I still feel anxious around some people. My family is one of them for being a consistent barrage of criticism over the years. If I can't do something correct immediately, I start to panic, which I realise stems from being yelled at when I was younger for "being too slow".
I'm also constantly criticised by my friend group to the point I've actually actively avoided them for about a year or so now. I'd feel to worried I would say something they would latch on to like a bunch of hyenas. Without that, I feel a lot better, especially with my new friend group.

My anxiety also flares up quite badly walking home at night. I was mugged several years ago at knife-point, and it still bothers me to this day, especially considering the justice system here let the guy go, and I know he's still out there lurking about, able to do it once more with no repercussions.

Perhaps one of my bigger sources of anxieties is phone calls. I'm really not a fan of them, although I can do them. I've done them through my jobs in the past. I currently work in a call centre that is mostly e-mail based, although I need to make calls from time to time to appease complaining customers. I hate that. A lot.
 

Elysium

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I guess most of my anxiety relates to financial matters / maintaining a job and the fear of losing loved ones (including pets) or not being able to protect them. Thankfully those anxieties come and go, mostly I can forget about them unless something happens out of the blue to put them at the forefront of my mind. The most common source of anxiety for me is being around people in general. The real problem is that I think too much and my emotions are turbulent. When I'm around others that I'm not really close to, all I can think about is what they're thinking about my clothes, my hair, the sound of my voice, my accent, the words I use, etc. which makes dealing with strangers overwhelming. It's easier around people I don't like because their bad opinion means less to me. I'd rather be alone most of the time, tbh.

As for coping, I'm not sure. I don't believe I cope well. Mostly, I talk to God. Aside from that, I guess I practice escapism in books, TV, movies, or video games to distract from reality. That's not very healthy, but what can you do?
 

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I have generalized anxiety disorder thanks to my job training and the people there. Lots of bullying and talking me down...it was so much that I just feared going into any other job at all. Thankfully I had some years after that in school and university but after I finished that and needed to get a new job it was worse than ever.

Sadly it also took over into lots of other parts of my life. From being afraid of traveling, being afraid to be alone and being afraid to die of sickness and other stuff. Also of course I mostly thought about the worse outcome of a situation no matter how low the chance was. Sadly I also had some deaths in my family the last few years too which also hit me hard.

Panic attacks and lots of other stuff were normal. Thankfully I went into therapy while I was still studying and it helped me greatly. There are still bad days but then I tell myself how low the chances are and that these are just thoughts. The worst is still the part about getting a job but I also learned to listen more to myself. To accept that my health is more important than any job in the world and it gave me the strenght to say no to jobs and to see what I wanted and did not want. Of course that means that I am still searching for a job but I am much more relaxed at interviews and I was even able to do two internships for different jobs because I know might change my job and go through another job training because I realized that this might not just be job direction I wanted to go to.

So what helped me: Therapy, acceptance that not everyone will always like you and that its fine to see things different and its fine to be oneself. And not matter how some people might see me (since I am still unemployed) I dont really care because the most important thing to me is my health. Also my family supports me too which also helps. Video games and being creative also helps.
 

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When my focus and daily things that I was doing were limited only in porn, pc games and isolation from society. It was at that point I knew I'm ****** up. Anime and tv series like netflix will not help. Smoking weed outside the house, with some people they call you a friend, will not help. Isolating from distractions and start occupying with yourself will bring you good news. To focus myself and to be calm helps me best kratom available online. It was a super-duper bonus that helped me a long the way. The prices now are very affordable and the quality is premium.
 
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WaltK

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I was born to a family of worriers
I can relate to this. My mum has often told me that my dad’s relatives are “a family of worriers”, a sentiment that said family members agree with, particularly my aunt and uncle.

As for me, I was a sensitive kid. I used to hate being away from my mum as a toddler (getting me away from her when I started preschool was pretty strenuous).

I’ve had a number of troubling episodes in my life, from spending an entire school year with a teacher who lost his temper really easily and shouted (never at me, but I still couldn’t stand being around it), to germ phobia caused by my OCD, which got especially bad after I turned thirteen.

The germ thing still lingers a bit today. The ironic part is that it wasn’t even the germs making me ill that scared me, it was just the idea of having them on me. Today, it mostly manifests in the form of not wanted to touch things that had previously been touched by unsavoury people.

For a while, I also had a whole thing about people who were anti-LGBT. I hated encountering people on forums who didn’t believe homosexuality was “right” or whatever, to the point where I got really resentful and bitter over them, especially if they were otherwise really nice people who were liked by others. It still kind of bothers me today, but it’s definitely taken more of a back seat to much bigger fears...

As to what that fear is, it’s honestly so bad that I don’t even want to explicitly say what it is, because just doing that would set me off. I will say that it has driven me to incredibly dark places, even to the point of having overpoweringly strong thoughts of wanting to die, so much so that I was admitted to A&E after ringing a hotline nearly two years ago, an episode that I’ve still not entirely recovered from.

As for things that help me combat these fears; medication is an obvious one, but I also confide in my family, mostly my mum, who undoubtedly knows me better than anybody else. Finding coping mechanisms like hobbies is relatively harder since a lot of stuff I’d usually like to do has some kind of association with something that sets me off. I often oversleep because of it. Often I’ll get triggered during the day and I’ll want to do is go to bed. It’s not the healthiest thing to do, but I do find it helps somewhat. It’s like when you make your computer crash and you have restart it.
 

JoseBron

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For me, it's those darn OCD intrusive thoughts that like to sneak in when I least expect them. But I've found that mindfulness exercises, deep breathing, and talking it out with friends really help me stay afloat. Sharing and learning from each other's coping strategies can be incredibly valuable. So, what gives you anxiety, and how do you cope? Let's help each other navigate these waters!
 
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