What To Do When Your Anxiety is Back

why anxiety is back

As someone with anxiety, it’s important to know what to do when your anxiety is back. When everything has been fine for a while, it can be easy to forget you’ve got anxiety. As an anxious person, it’s only natural to want to not be that way.

Investigating why your anxiety is back is a large component of mastering your mind. Living with anxiety requires constant work and exploration.

For the last few months, I’ve been in the best anxiety space of my life. But a week or two ago, it came back. The sinking feeling, the shivers, the chills, the spidey senses telling me that something is wrong. I admit that I deluded myself into thinking I was anxiety free. I didn’t fully believe that, but I was operating as if I were.

Living with anxiety isn’t easy. It often feels like just when you think you’re ‘recovered’ or anxiety free, it comes back. Instead of viewing it as a failure, see it as an opportunity for exploration and growth.

You’ve Been Here Before

It’s nice to pretend to be free of my anxiety disorder. But my anxiety disorder doesn’t like being ignored. And often, while pretending to be worry-free, I ignore my feelings and emotions rather than deal with them. Yet, I’m still surprised when suddenly I feel like I’m about to have a panic attack.

In those moments, you need to remind yourself that you’ve gotten through it before. You are the master of your own anxiety, and you know what it feels like. You also know what it needs and what you need.

I know when my anxiety starts to pick up, there’s something I’m not dealing with. Or I’m dealing with too much. I’m guilty of taking on more and more things just to see how much I can handle. And then I’m left wondering why I’m overwhelmed, stretched too thin and anxious. (I’ve noticed my anxiety often peaks when I skip my yoga sessions.)

Remember all the things you’ve learned. Remember what makes your heart happy. Look at how far you have come. We often forget to celebrate the little wins.

mastering your mind

In the Moment

When you’re in a state of panic, it can be hard to look at the situation logically. If you’re sitting at a 10 and your body is in a state of emergency, any rational thinking goes straight out the window. When I’m in this space, I also forget everything I’ve learned about regulating my body and my anxiety.

It takes me a minute to recall the sensory regulation activities that saved me in the past. Sit with your thoughts, feelings and sensations. Remember that they aren’t going to kill you. You will get through this. This is not your normal.

When I manage to regulate my anxiety down to an 8 or a 7, I try to find ways to hack my happiness chemicals. I go sit outside in the sun, make myself a hot water bottle, snuggle my cats, put on some music or reach out to a loved one. These small things can help me regulate my body to a 5. In this space, I can start using my brain again.

Look How Far You’ve Come

When I start feeling anxious after a long time of not feeling anxious, it really gets to me. I focus on my failures instead of what I have accomplished.

For example, I was panicking about having to teach my first yoga class (ever). I felt incapable because I wanted to cancel and hide away. My body was on edge; I was terrified and felt unqualified (classic imposter syndrome). I couldn’t help but focus on everything I did wrong instead of my accomplishments.

In the past year, I have done things that I never thought were possible for me. I explored London alone, went to a Drum and Bass event, started a freelance company, renewed my car license, and so many more.

better days ahead

It hasn’t been easy or perfect, but I’ve been able to take a step closer to the life I want to live, rather than the anxiety-ridden existence that I thought was meant for me. But feeling like I’m going to have a panic attack, makes me fear that I have to give up all of those things and become an antisocial hermit again.

In these moments, you have to remind yourself that: You’ve gotten through this before. You will get through it again. You might need to sit with the discomfort for a while and investigate what is happening and why.

Your anxiety spiking is like an alarm going off. Your body feels like it is in danger, and it’s trying desperately to get your attention. In my case, I often ignore my body’s subtle warnings and only pay attention when I’m on the verge of a panic attack. This is where I need to do work.

You Can’t Get Rid of Anxiety

You’ll never be able to rid yourself of anxiety. It is a part of the human experience. But you can lessen the effect it has on you and your life if you have a plan for what to do when your anxiety is back and a roadmap to find out why. A huge part of living with an anxiety disorder is learning about your fears, your triggers, and the sensations you struggle to tolerate.

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