Friday, January 13, 2012

Keep Calm Because You Are Not Alone

Dear Blog/ Blog Readers,
I want to begin by saying, I apologize for the neglect. You have not been my first priority the past few weeks (I've been very busy.) BUT, I'm back and I'm ready to write!

I want to share a little something about my life with anyone who is interested. If you've read my first few blogs, you already know that I have always struggled with anxiety, but the last year or so it has gotten worse. Because of this, I've been desperately seeking out new ways to cope with the stress of  my daily life and my anxiety. If you struggle with this as well (I'm sure almost everybody does at one time or another) I just want to say...

Admitting You Need Help: If you frequently suffer from anxiety or depression, please know that there is help available. For example, if you start to realize that you're feeling "a little off" or "not quite yourself", go ahead and talk to your doctor. There's a difference between going through a rough patch, and needing help. I always thought I could handle whatever was going on in my life, but I finally went in and had a long talk with my doctor and she said that she wished I would have told her sooner. I wish that too because I'm a lot more stable now. 

Know your options:

1. Medication:If you have talked to your doctor and they suggest that you might need a little extra pick-me-up, they might suggest some anti-depressants. I am on medication and it took a while to figure out the correct dosage for my body and my symptoms, but now I feel great with the balance of my medications! WARNING: If you are like me and you search online for side-effects of medications and read the information sheet on the prescriptions that you get from the pharmacy and then worry about whether or not you will have the negative side-effects that are mentioned... Don't Read. My doctor could tell right away that I am one of those people and he flat out told me to find someone who spends a good amount of time with me and have them read it. I chose my mom. My mom is a nurse and I still live at home so anytime I get a new medication, I give her the information sheet and she reads it over so that she can watch for any negative signs or symptoms of the medication. If she sees any, she will tell me otherwise, I don't need to know. This system works for me because I don't read it, so I don't know what to worry about!

2. All-Natural: If you're uncomfortable with prescription medication, I would recommend asking your doctor about some additional supplements, such as Vitamins C and D. You could probably find many of these in a supplement form or by adding some more vitamin rich foods to your diet. Check out a local all-natural store and ask a clerk to help you find some of these vitamins.

Vitamin D is known to increase serotonin levels in the human brain. Serotonin is a chemical that is key to maintaining a balanced mood and can decrease your chances of feeling depressed. This vitamin is also necessary for the body`s production of dopamine, a potent mood-lifting neurotransmitter. No one yet knows exactly how much vitamin D is needed for preventing or treating depression because of several factors: where a person lives, skin type, season, and level of exposure to the sun. But it has been observed in studies that depression decreases in those who are affected by seasonal affective disorder whenever winter is on the wane and sunshine is more abundant.

Vitamin B Complex (B2, B6, B9, B12)Although the dietary sources of B vitamins are abundant in nature, a diet rich in sugar and refined carbohydrates, excess caffeine intake, heavy drinking and smoking might reduce absorption of these essential vitamins. Studies suggest the deficiency of certain B vitamins might cause depressionAccording to a Harvard Medical School study, regardless of age patients with major depression are deficient in vitamins B2, B6 and B12. Daily intake of vitamin B complex supplements could reduce the risk of major depression after stroke.
Vitamin C
Vitamin C or ascorbic acid might help to reduce depression. A healthy brain contains large amounts of ascorbic acid. Experimental studies suggest that ascorbic acid might possess antidepressant property.
3. Be Creative: 
Whenever I'm feeling anxious I often think to myself, "I just need to make something." So that's what I do. I'd like to share a few of the things that have worked for me. Making home-made cards takes lots of focus and forces me to think only about the task at hand. I have also heard that painting your nails can also be very calming because it takes focus and concentration (if you want your nails to look nice at least, if you don't, Go CRAZY and do whatever you want! ) While we're on the subject of painting, I like to do that too. Most of the time I like to use acrylic paints and canvases, but that can get kind of expensive. I'm not going to lie to you, I've bought children's washable finger paint and gone a little crazy on a cookie sheet. The best part about that is you can wash the evidence while everyone is sleeping and no one has to know. ;)   
Or, if that's still too much moola to spend on yourself, here's a little trick that almost every daycare teacher knows. Any Mom's out there will love this. Allow yourself a generous amount of shaving cream and put it on your legs. Now get to work... KIDDING! Take the shaving cream in your hands and spread it all over the kitchen table, bathroom counter, or any surface you have in front of you. Now, make yourself a squishy white masterpiece! The best part about this one is that your table or counter will look even better after you wipe the shaving cream off! By using this one simple technique you will have de-stressed yourself and done a daily household chore at the same time! Also, if you have kids, invite them to do this with you. Kids have stress too and they go wild for this fun and messy activity!
Other suggestions include, but are not limited to...
- photography
- music
- acting
- poetry/prose
- movie making
- drawing
- *blogging!*

4. Therapy: If you don't want to try anything else, I highly, Highly, HIGHLY recommend seeing a therapist. I LOVE IT! I've never been one to speak my mind about things that are bothering me so seeing my therapist once every two weeks really helps.You can modify your appointment schedule to however often you need it. Some people do once a week, I do once every two weeks, and others simply go for a check-in every month. My therapist is so nice and she always knows how to make me realize that whatever I'm struggling with in my life is not as big of a deal as I make it. (I tend to freak out about "The Little Things In Life.")  She also keeps record of my anxiety/depression by giving me a test every month or so. This way I can see it when I'm improving! *Which by the way I am. :)

I hope that this has helped at least one person. Whether you know someone who might benefit from these tips or you can, I'm always here to encourage you and to support you. Thanks for stopping by! 

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