A friend kept telling, “You can’t self-diagnose. Ever.” I respect his views and agree with him, but how far did I have to keep going before getting the point of saying “It may be anxiety”? I have felt as if something was ‘off’ for a long time now, and then in the past few weeks, it has aggravated. With all that was happening, it was unfortunate that I could not get the help I knew I needed. Trying all I could, I found some through resources specifically meant for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. So, maybe it is not GAD at all. But did I have the option to visit a professional and go through a battery of tests to disapprove that? I do not think so.
So what should you do if you think (or know) you need help but because of some reason, cannot gain access to healthcare? (I obviously recommend seeking medical help, but when you can’t here is a list.)
These were some of the tips that I followed:
- Decided that I had to get better: It is easy to let days pass by as we worry and worry about not making any real progress. If it’s depression, it can be worse. No one has the strength to get out of bed when it hits, then how do you expect us to make an effort to feel better when life seems futile, right? Well, maybe for a while. But do you assume that a therapist would be able to treat you if you do not want to be treated? The same principle can be applied here. Until you find a therapist who can work with you, you need to do it for yourself. And remember, you’re never alone. There are a lot of people who care about you. You may not see them around, but they do exist. If you still need someone to talk to, shoot me an email and we’ll have a chat. I love meeting new people! Of course, I will not be able to offer any professional help but will try my best to be a good friend.
- Accepted that I cannot control everything and that it’s okay: Anxiety can eat you up if you let it feed on your thoughts. I can get anxious about almost everything because almost everything is uncertain. It is important to realize that no matter how hard we try, we would never be able to control everything. So there really is no point being anxious. Though I am by no means good at it yet, I strive to be a better, a little more unafraid, version of myself every day. So no, I am not yet the smiling happy-dancing girl on the block with the widest smile ever. Just that now I believe it is not impossible for me to her on some joyous days. Just having the possibility to be happy is more freeing than I can tell.
- Started a worry diary and journal: This one is especially for all the anxious folks out there. I mentioned using a worry diary (it is used to note down the things that worry you. Check out an example sheet here) in a previous post. It helps tons and lets you understand what your worries are really about. Sometimes when I am done writing, I actually look down at it and laugh at myself a little for worrying about something so impractical. It only sounds worrisome in your head. Period. When you put it down to paper, its significance decreases and your mind starts looking for solutions instead of focussing on the problem. A journal can be helpful for anyone to sort out their thoughts, and it can be an incredible companion if you suffer from a mental health issue. It works wonders. Even the time spent filing the pages in the binder, writing in the calendars, making to-do lists, or just writing down the things that inspire me, makes me feel much better. I believe a journal gives my mind something simple yet goal-oriented things to do when it feels scattered and worrisome. I use a six ring binder which makes it easier to shuffle the pages and add ones that speak to me. You can find one here.
- Focussed on something productive: This blog, my self-publishing business, and daily reading. These three things have given me something to look forward to every morning. To look forward to without worry. I still worry if my business would provide the returns I expect, or if this blog will someday stop helping me with solving problems, and so much more. But there is more optimism than worry, and it makes me very happy. I was killing myself everyday working overtime for the last five months, and probably the only thing I learned worth remembering is the importance of self-care. That is what the reading time and this blog are for.
Do you have any tips to keep the mean reds away? (Yes, I love Breakfast at Tiffany’s.)