How I Handle Anxiety / Stress / Fear

Everyone has their own way of dealing with these topics. It varies from person to person. And honestly, some of us really suck at handling such things. I say this because I sometimes do the opposite of what I should do. Maybe this just makes us human. So how do I really cope with these things? Honestly, it varies. 

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Anxiety

When I was younger, I never really realized it was anxiety I felt in social situations. Making phone calls, too, especially. I realized as I got older that this was a legit thing. I would start dialing the numbers and then get so sick to my stomach thinking of what I should say on the phone – how do I handle this? When I hit adulthood and had to make my own business calls, it was even worse. Because now, I absolutely had to deal with the phone. 

I can’t even begin to start with how often I would dial the numbers, and then hang up. And this wasn’t just towards important phone calls, this would be calling anyone. I’d panic. Inside of me there was this mini freak out over having to make a simple phone call. 

The sad thing is, I still hate making phone calls, but I can handle it if it’s something I have to do. A few weeks ago they found someone’s ID over at the bar, and they told me to call them because they had already left their info over the phone in case it showed up. I just kept saying how I really didn’t want to make the phone call, like what do I say? It’s so dumb how I freak out over it. I had someone else make the phone call when they offered. 

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I also have anxiety about going to places I’ve never been before, or to even show up at a bar by myself. It’s one thing if I’m with someone, completely different by myself. I never know what to do. I’ve gotten better by forcing myself to do it, but it doesn’t mean I don’t freak out internally.

And honestly, when it comes to anxiety, that’s how I handle it. I confront the situation, I force myself to deal with the problem. Because it’s the only thing that helps it. Sometimes you get stuck in a situation where you have to make a decision right then and there, and you don’t have a choice but to deal with it. This doesn’t mean I’m a pro at it by any means, there are a lot of times I avoid dealing with it completely until it’s no longer relevant. It’s really not a way I would recommend. 


Stress

I wish I could say I had a magic solution that would make all of your stress disappear, but there is no such thing. There are so many times I’ll get so stressed I start getting so frustrated and overwhelmed. I know I’m not alone in this.

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So what do I do when I’m so stressed I’m near breaking point?

I take a deep breath, close my eyes, and try to let that building pressure dissipate. The best thing for me to do at that point is to find a distraction, go for some fresh air, and just do something. Honestly, that point is probably the best time to work out, if I actually exercised. Instead, I’ll usually throw on some music, or watch something. Go for a walk – something! 

At this point I may even start drinking a few beers because drinking numbs my senses if I drink enough. The worries start to melt away. And I don’t want it to sound like I depend on it to help me cope, but it does help.  

The best way, though, is to get away from the source. If I’m at home and stressing about things with home related issues, being at home is the last place I want to be. Same with work. 

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Fear

There have been a few times in my life where I’ve truly felt afraid. They’ve been personal issues, things that escalated between my mother and her husband. Learning that my mother was high off cocaine and trying to kill herself. Seeing my drunken mother blow up in my face and threatening me, telling me how nothing matters and so much I can barely remember, but I remember the feeling. Those nights I truly felt numb to the world. 

After we adopted our current dog, there was an issue where we had him upstairs and he actually turned around and snapped at me, and he bit me. It was slight, but he got me right under my eye and near my mouth. The scariest fact was he was so close to my eye, I could’ve gone blind. 

He really is a beautiful dog. And a big baby.

The thing with me, is I have a delayed reaction to things. So when this happened, I sort of stood up and managed to get him to go downstairs to the basement. Here’s the thing, one of the reasons we still have him: if he wanted to hurt me, he could have. He wouldn’t have stopped after snapping at me. He’s an Alaskan Malamute mix, and he looks like a wolf. He’s a big ass dog. Trust me, he could’ve mauled me. 

We actually did take him back to the shelter, but they talked about euthanizing him over it, so we brought him back home. He didn’t deserve to die over an accident. It was really hot that day, he didn’t get a walk in, and we had company over – we had only had him for a month, he was adjusting to us on top of strangers.

Aside from all of that though, it gave me this fear of him for awhile. I couldn’t get myself near his face – I still can’t bring my face anywhere near his. It took me weeks to feel okay with petting him, letting him on his leash, just being around him. Because he fucking scared me. But I knew he didn’t mean it. However, convincing your body and mind to be on the same track is a completely different story. 

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For that sort of thing, the thing that helped me cope with that is time, and forcing myself to slowly build that trust back up with this animal. We’ve had him for five years now, and that was the only time he actually hurt me. He’s snapped at me a couple of times since then, which automatically brings out this inner fear, but I can honestly say it’s been well over a year or so since the last time he did anything like that. And I’m still careful with certain things I do near him. Unfortunately, I will never be able to fully trust this dog, even though I love him. 

And as for the other things that have truly scared me? I’ve gotta admit I’ve never been good at handling those things. I sort of go numb, I freeze. It takes me time to adjust to what actually happened. And my mind, it just goes to the most realistic thing it can. And eventually, I know time will make it go away, disappear. It’s not much help when it comes to coping, I know.


How do you handle these things? Are you like me at all? Or do you have a completely different way of coping?

November Writing Challenge #5

14 thoughts on “How I Handle Anxiety / Stress / Fear”

  1. Some days I cope through sheer will!

    I eat when I have a lot of anxiety, always high carb, high fat stuff that my brain thinks is what it needs. That has been a hard one to overcome, I’ve switched from trying to diet to trying to address the anxiety that makes me want to eat. Long family history of substance abuse so I stay away from cigs, drugs and alcohol. I drink occasionally, but only when I don’t care whether or not if I do, not when I want to.

    Exercise has been a tough one for me because I have a trauma association with exercise, so it doesn’t calm me down, it either delays a panic attack or intensifies it. Regardless, I usually go walk first to see if that will help before I use meds. Meds are last resort, again with the family history of substance abuse and my own (closely watched) tendencies toward addiction.

    Reaching out to friends has become a good one for me. Feeling connected makes me feel better, Reading keep my mind occupied on something other than anxiety thoughts. I’ve started writing down symptoms when they happen because I tend to forget when the moment is over.

    A lot of times I fake it. Don’t want to be out, don’t want to see people (frequently tell those close to me that “I hate people”, which no one believes because of how friendly I am), don’t want to deal with people not behaving according to what I think is appropriate, don’t want to hear comments from others about my mental health (almost always horribly rude or not helpful and judgmental), but I do it anyway, because the alternative is that I don’t live the life I want, and I am not going to let the lies in my head stop me from living.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some days, I do, too!

      I’ll sometimes binge eat when I’m stressed – always fattening comfort foods lol, so I can relate to that. And I don’t blame you for wanting to stay away from that stuff. I should probably avoid alcohol because of family history, but I’m mindful of it.

      And I’m sorry you experienced something traumatic with exercise :/ Walks can be good though by themselves, even just a short walk can help. I avoid using medication unless I have to, but I’m not really prescribed any either. Just in general.

      Friends definitely help! Especially when you have a couple who really know what’s going on with you and who really do listen. I used to read all the time and it used to be my way of escaping reality. I haven’t been able to read as much – too tired from work and too busy. Makes me sad. And writing down symptoms definitely sounds like it would help you remember.

      I hate people, too, but I’m also really friendly. Most of the time. Sometimes I can’t help but bite my tongue in front of them. Some days you do have to fake it, force yourself to do things. I’m glad you don’t let those little lies in your head stop you from living!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As much as I would like for you to not have to struggle with all of this, I really appreciate being able to share with you! Most of the people I’m around don’t get it or don’t want to get it, and nice to talk to people who do!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG. I used to not like talking or answering phone calls before, too. But being on a job before that requires that, I think I got used to it now and I’m now the spokesperson of my friends who don’t like talking on the phone when we want our food delivered. Haha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice! Haha I’ve definitely gotten a lot more comfortable with it, but some things still make me nervous, and that’s usually placing phone calls. Answering I’ve learned to be okay with 😂 I hate calling for delivery, but my mom’s made me do it a few times. I prefer ordering online lol

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  3. I agree with you on anxiety, I feel sometimes you just have to confront it cause there often isn’t any other option in the moment. In my head it sometimes looks like a wave like feeling, like the wave comes at you and then you get through and then it feels calm, well sometimes haha

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I seem to be frightened of everything at the moment …. It just sort of crept up on me. Anything from making a phone call, to responding to an email, to standing on a chair to change a lightbulb …. and I wonder why my skiing holiday was tricky?! I think weirdly that I’ve only just realised how bad it’s actually got. Thanks for the post, it’s helped me understand that I’m not alone. You have a follower in me! ☀️😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww that’s hard to bear with! Did anything happen to cause it? Or just an accumulation of things? I’ll get anxiety returning phone calls or confronting people. Important texts drive me crazy. I can imagine having that kind of fear would make skiing difficult to enjoy! You definitely aren’t alone, I hope you’re able to conquer your fear soon (: And thanks so much for the follow and the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s really weird … I was so looking forward to the break … been saving up and generally excited. And yet, as soon as I saw the mountain, my toes started tingling and my palms sweating and total fear gripped me. And that was before I put the blasted skis on! But then when I did one of those questionnaires, they asked if I was happy freewheeling on a bicycle down a hill … ummm NO! So, I’m going to have a good read all about it and find out what’s going on in my head. Sorry, I’m rambling, it’s just lovely to be able to talk about it!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ohh you’re fine! But aww that’s a bummer! It’s crazy how exciting something sounds and then when you approach it, it’s suddenly terrifying! The hard part is taking that first step. But what’s life without some kind of risk? I hope you’re able to figure out what’s going on, best of luck (:

        Liked by 1 person

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