If ya been tumblin recently, you’ll have seen my last post about anxiety attacks and the weird shit it does to your head. It’s a better hour in my day now and so I thought I’d write down a list for my fellow paranoid spider monkeys to use when nothing is working (and I really mean nothing. You’ve realized that what you’re dealing with isn’t just a cranky stress fit and your normal coping techniques aren’t working):
1. If you’re trying to make a tight deadline and you left it until the last minute, that won’t really help you. You know this. Don’t dwell on it to much. Go tell whatever voice is sayin Fuck you you’re worthless you know better—to shut the fuck up. Shock yourself out of an anxiety attack. I cuss myself out all the time. “Fuck you I’m tryna take a shower. I’m getting clean as fuck up in this shower house. Get outta my kitchen.”
2. Keep yourself engaged in your work, but also reach out to people you know to help you normalize the situation. I like having nice long chats with the parents, texting people I haven’t texted in a while, or other things that help me focus on shit besides myself. Watch your favorite YouTube video, etc. I recommend “Drinking Outta Cups”. Like, damn.
3. Get creative. Let yourself be sucked into projects you’ve neglected or start a new one with the knowledge that you can’t let yourself do this sort of thing for the rest the day but fuck it you’re doin something! I designed/made the preliminary sketches for my thesis poster.
4. Holy hot fucking sex. Or if that’s not your deal, try to initiate intimacy (at whatever level you’re comfortable with). This could include anything from an SO givin ya a sweet cuddle or massage, masturbating (hey gurl I don’t give a flyin FUCK you GO DO YO THANG!!!!!), a study session with a close friend, a coffee break/meet-up, smiling at strangers on the street, handling objects that you associate with comfort (books. SMELL THEM. food. COOK IT. teddy bear. HUG IT. family photo album. FLIP DEM PAGES. best friends. BITCH EM OUT. They can handle it. If they can’t take it every once in a while then they aintcha friends.) The point here is that you are not alone. I’ve always thought that you are most yourself when you are attenuated to the needs of others, is all.
5. Stand on your head. Try to push yourself to crazyass limits. This doesn’t always work, but for me it means I’m not upright, pacing my room and wondering if my housemates can hear me.
6. Avoid over-stimulating activities. Crowds, mostly. Ok, you’re at work. Go take a bathroom break. You just had one? The fuck that matters. You are going to get through your day and if that means staying in on a Friday or Saturday night or taking an extra ten minutes on the toilet just listening to music, then that’s what it takes. For me, it means avoiding most to all forms of social interaction. I go to the practice rooms. (i.e. let yourself get sucked into repetitious forms of work—practice, doing your taxes, cleaning your room) If I happen to meet other percussionists there it doesn’t matter as much because they’re family and they’re there for the exact same purpose I am. I shut myself in my room. I sneak around my own house, if need be. I go out the back door. It’s nothing personal, it’s just business, yah? Yah.
7. I’m leaving this last one to ya’lls. What are some of your best strategies for dealing with anxiety?