When I started this blog about two years ago I had had my big crash. It came from going off my anxiety medication too quickly. Long story short, I went back on my meds, calmed down and have slowly been recovering.
About two months ago I decided to drop the dosage of my meds, not go completely off them. I felt more like the real Little Bird. Even my boss said to me- something has changed in you! No, I did not tell her that I lowered my drugs, ha! But my spark has come back. I have a passion to do well at my job. But also every little “problem” in my life totally triggers my anxiety. When my mind races I inevitably crash. I wonder how many other people with CFS also struggle with this. I even get “good” anxiety! Mind racing over boys, plans, etc.
Dr. Galland suggested I go up on my supplement NAC, N- acetylcysteine. I am taking 3600mg. It’s supposed to help for OCD/Anxiety. I actually think it is helping! Because I’m calming down a bit.
But I still have a lot of work to do, as I am not feeling well right now. When I’m not feeling well I of course get anxious about not feeling well! About all the things I could be doing instead of being exhausted on my couch. It’s very hard when you’re feeling well for a bit and then get the sudden crush of CFS. I’m trying very hard to remember what I learned in Gupta’s program- STOP STOP STOP when you get caught obsessing over not feeling well. Accept it, and just get back in the get better groove.
So what can I do?
- Be mindful- Be where you are. Be slow. Be in the now.
- Meditate- Slow down the brain.
- Be thankful- Appreciate all the good things and people in your life.
- Get lots of sleep- Stress is better handled when you are rested.
I found these tips to be very helpful in reducing anxiety symptoms.
To Cope with Anxiety, Remember A-W-A-R-E
The key to switching out of an anxiety state is to accept it fully. Remaining in the present and accepting your anxiety cause it to disappear.
A: Accept the anxiety. Welcome it. Don’t fight it. Replace your rejection, anger, and hatred of it with acceptance. By resisting, you’re prolonging the unpleasantness of it. Instead, flow with it. Don’t make it responsible for how you think, feel, and act.
W: Watch your anxiety. Look at it without judgment – not good, not bad. Rate it on a 0-to-10 scale and watch it go up and down. Be detached. Remember, you’re not your anxiety. The more you can separate yourself from the experience, the more you can just watch it.
A: Act with the anxiety. Act as if you aren’t anxious. Function with it. Slow down if you have to, but keep going. Breathe slowly and normally. If you run from the situation your anxiety will go down, but your fear will go up. If you stay, both your anxiety and your fear will go down.
R: Repeat the steps. Continue to accept your anxiety, watch it, and act with it until it goes down to a comfortable level. And it will. Just keep repeating these three steps: accept, watch, and act with it.
E: Expect the best. What you fear the most rarely happens. Recognize that a certain amount of anxiety is normal. By expecting future anxiety you’re putting yourself in a good position to accept it when it comes again.
Adapted from: Anxiety Disorders and Phobias: A Cognitive Perspective, by Aaron Beck and Gary Emery