This post was written with my best friend Neville as we were talking about how we both experience and handle our anxiety.
How to handle anxiety
When I’m feeling anxiety, it’s not just feeling anxious, but being completely overwhelmed – taken over by emotions.
The worst time of day is the morning for Neville, while for me it’s during certain situations, like being misgendered and doing basic things like going to the bathroom.
Step 1: Know what triggers anxiety
There are many triggers for anxiety, and it’s useful to know what they are, because then you can them recognise them and be prepared to know how to overcome them.
- Meeting new people can be very stressful because I don’t know how they’re going to react to me and I’ve experienced homophobia.
- Talking about medical stuff about my transition – like what happened last week when a person was talking to me about his transition
- Getting a haircut !
- For Neville, simply going to work every day in the morning can trigger anxiety because of the imposter syndrome and past experiences where his ADHD symptoms led to him losing a couple of job
Also recognise that these triggers can also affect other anxieties, for instance, if a date cancels on you, you might feel rejected and worry about being alone for the rest of your life. Anything that makes you feel vulnerable actually.
Step 2: Recognise and accept that anxiety
Take a moment to tell yourself that you’re feeling anxiety; before trying to convince your brain that you’re OK first accept that your anxiety is acting up. Take a deep breath and see where you’re feeling it in your body, for instance in your chest or stomach.
A lot of people including myself don’t do this and instead try to avoid the negative feelings with disctractions like TV or videogames in my friend’s case. It’s important to remember this as we keep forgetting.
Neville tells me that that he finds it useful to “talk to the anxiety” which gives it less power. Saying “I am anxious and I recognise that” somehow makes it feel less overwhelming for him.
Step 3: Having a support system
Having a support system does’t necessarily mean friends and family, because they’re not always around so it’s important to be your own support system too, even though it’s helpful to have someone you can trust to be vulnerable and open up with. We can do this through
- Being part of an online community
- Having a private journal where you can explore your thoughts
- If possible, doing some moderate exercise regularly
- Avoiding negative people (who add negativity in your life)
This post wasn’t easy to write for either of us, so thank you for reading and leave a comment about your experience with dealing with anxiety, thanks.
Alex And Neville