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How to Deal With Anxiety: A Balanced Perspective

The Doe Team

by The Doe Team

| May 26, 2022

How Doe authors have dealt with anxiety, stress and depression.

Dealing with anxiety isn’t easy. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for how to control anxiety.

Everyone has a unique experience. But we can learn anxiety coping skills from others and experiment to see what works for us.

Many of our writers have shared their experiences in dealing with anxiety, stress and depression. Here are some insights and resources we can glean from the stories.

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Dealing With Anxiety: Perspectives From the Trenches

If you ask 10 people who have struggled with anxiety, you’d probably get nine and a half different ways to control anxiety and depression.

There’s no right or wrong answer. The stories and examples we share are intended to help you explore possible solutions instead of prescribing a definitive way to handle the condition.

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Prescription Medications Aren’t the Be-All-End-All Answer

While medications have their place in treating anxiety, they may not be appropriate for everyone.

This writer struggled with severe depression, and traditional treatments using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were not as effective as expected. When the author ran into issues with Medicaid and couldn't get the medication, they experienced debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

Meanwhile, this author’s Xanax prescription led them into a spiral of addiction. When the withdrawals kicked in, they assumed that their anxiety had gotten worse and even blamed themselves for the problem.

So should you explore alternative treatments?

One of our writers found ketamine effective in helping them deal with treatment-resistant depression because it works on a different area of the brain. Here’s how they describe their experience:

“When it’s good it’s good, and when it’s bad it’s bad, just like any drug experience. My first time I cried a lot. You really just feel childlike and vulnerable, or even when you wake up from a surgery where they put you out, that same kind of whiny, like oh-my-god-where’s-my-mom kind of feeling.”

Along with the right support, ketamine may help create new neural pathways for developing resilience to protect against depression. Please note, medical experts recommend that ketamine therapy be used as part of a comprehensive and ongoing treatment plan.

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The Joy and Peace of Finding Your Path and Expression

The pressure to fit into a mold and obey the rules can cause some people to develop anxiety or experience worsening conditions. This writer struggled with staying in high school and conforming to the restrictive schedule and curriculums.

The author learned not to confine themselves to “what’s supposed to be.” Build a life around your strengths and work through your weaknesses on healthy terms. Don’t measure your worth by criteria that don’t resonate with you. Find your intrinsic motivation and use your resources to do what’s right for you instead of meeting others’ expectations.

“Leaving school gave me the ability to build a life around my own strengths and learn to handle my weaknesses on healthier terms. I was no longer forcing myself into a mold, or measuring my worth by conditions that didn’t resonate with me, or even make sense.”

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A Place to Face Your Emotions With Calmness

For many, coping with anxiety means controlling their “flight risk” thoughts that could become a continuous nightmare. If racing and self-destructive thoughts make you anxious, experiment with finding a place and calming activities that can keep your mind engaged while giving you a sense of control and reassurance.

For example, this author found calmness and healed her anxiety through baking. They found a comfort zone where they could sort out their emotions and address their thoughts one at a time without feeling overwhelmed. By getting in touch with themselves in a calm environment, they could listen to their thoughts and process them without letting anxiety take over.

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An Outlet to Be Honest With Yourself

Our negative self-talk can pull us into a downward spiral, working in tandem with our anxiety to worsen the situation. While many withdraw into themselves because they’re afraid of being judged, finding a safe place to share and work through your emotions is a better coping strategy.

Unlike what our inner critics may lead us to believe, this author realized that going to counseling isn’t anything to be ashamed of. Also, support of friends and family is invaluable in the healing process. It can help you get much-needed perspective—you may be surprised that many have gone through similar experiences, and all you need to do is reach out for a helping hand.

"I can’t say that there was some grand ‘a-ha’ moment that led to the realization that I was neglecting my mental health. Rather, it was a series of experiences and finally having enough of making myself so miserable."

Some people find an outlet to express themselves and connect with like-minded individuals in less conventional ways. This author texts celebrities with whom they resonate. The writer doesn’t always get a response, but giving themselves the permission to be authentic has allowed them to heal.

The Courage to Face Your Fears

Many people get anxious when they go down the rabbit hole of “what ifs.” We get myopic, drill down to the worst-case scenarios and withdraw from the world around us—thinking that the bleakness in our lives is permanent.

Having an outlet to face your fears and deal with your emotions can help you navigate these episodes. For example, this writer turned to surfing and found the meditative space they needed when they surrendered to the power of the waves.

Meanwhile, this author started their journey by acknowledging death’s presence in their thoughts so they could overcome the shame and speak about their feelings. The process of self-examination starts with the ability to extricate ourselves from isolated experiences and recognize that we’re part of a larger human ecosystem.

Dealing With Anxiety Is a Journey

There’s no magic bullet that’ll cure anxiety in a split second. Overcoming anxiety is a work in progress. But when you put in the effort, like the examples we shared in this article, you can gain a new appreciation for life, pick up the pieces and create something new and inspiring.

Enjoy the stories we shared here? Explore other anonymous narratives to expand your perspective on mental health and other issues.

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