These last few weeks have been a delicate tightrope walk, constantly catching myself before falling off one side into the depths depression, or the other side into the spiraling chaos of anxiety. The clarity I have from the absence of any chemicals has helped me navigate my way back up to the rope when I have fallen into depression but climbing up after falling off the anxiety side has proven to be much more difficult. So, after multiple tools seemed to be failing me in my attempt at releasing anxiety’s grip, I decided to turn to technology…naturally. The number of apps out there dealing with anxiety and depression are impressive, and honestly, a bit surprising. Even now, after seeing so much evidence of what an epidemic these conditions are in this world. There are even hypnosis apps, which I obviously steered clear of. I’ve seen The Fourth Kind and know what going under hypnosis could bring up. Ignorance is bliss, am I right aliens???
Anyway, after weeding through a handful of meditation apps, I have stuck with a couple and have made them part of my morning routine. The Calm app is one that has a ‘7 Days to Calm’ guided meditation. They are about 10 minutes each and are easy to follow. Sometimes guided meditation can have too much information while you are trying to practice the methods they are teaching. This one is great because, throughout the instruction, you are actually given time to get your brain to do what they are telling you. I have done one every morning this past week and I can honestly say they are working at helping me keep the explosions of anxiety doused to a small party popper or two. There were a couple of times at work this week that I felt pushed into a corner and the threat of a full blown melt down was real. I used a couple of the techniques I had been learning to calm myself enough to get to my desk, put on my headphones, and start one of the sessions. It’s nice to have found something to help me mask my demons long enough to get to a safe place where I can actually deal with them. This assistance from the calming, guided meditation paired with the practice my therapist taught me of sitting down and having a little chat with my anxiety are proving to be a good combo.
There have been so many days, particularly this last week, that I have desperately missed how ‘easy’ my life used to seem. It feels like every day is so much work now. Actually listening to the voices and feelings instead of drowning them is proving to be quite the full time job. I miss those few times, when I had just enough to drink to dull the hangover, right before the anxiety of keeping up the buzz before the next, worse, hangover kicked in. Those times, though short lived, where nice. They were quiet, easy. The fire of anxiety was just a smolder and the mouth of my depression had been taped shut, with very little work on my part. I have to keep reminding myself of the tiny amount of time those moments actually added up to, and how much energy I expended striving to prolong those moments. How I never could maintain them for long and the aftermath was always continuously worse than the time before. Now, I feel like I’m a bucket of water in the middle of the desert, with a small hole, slowly leaking out what I need to survive. Even though having to constantly find new water sources to refill is a 24/7 job, it’s still better work than before, I have to believe that it’s because this work is moving me forward. I’m not just putting all my energy into burying myself in the sand.
In addition to the mediations, I have been making sure I open my gratitude/affirmation journal every day. There was a good chunk of time that I let it slide through the cracks and I was starting to notice a difference. I tend to second guess myself a little bit less when I am taking the time to think, and write down, one affirming statement about myself and one thing I am grateful for each day. It’s the little things sometimes that can make the biggest difference in my outlook on life.
So, here’s to focussing on the fact that all this work is making a difference, and not on the fact that it’s a lot of work.
I hope that everyone who is reading this is able to find a moment in your day