About Always Being Anxious and How I Cope

May 22, 2019

First of all, all of us have some extent of anxiety. It's called being human. So I invite you to read this to just shed some light together with me. I'm also learning by writing this.

Secondly, this post is not in any way to help you diagnosed if you have anxiety (or GAD, we'll go about that later). We have doctors for that. My formal education of this topic is from my pharmacy years and gosh, these medications are damn expensive.

Silver Lining Playbook is currently my most favorite movie that shows psychological disorder.
 I am in love with Jennifer Lawrence acting in it. She is perfect!

What is anxiety?

According to Oxford Dictionary, anxiety means, state of feeling nervous or worried that something bad is going to happen. A simple worrying but it can turn worst and become an actual disease.

According to Anxiety and Depression Disorder of America, it is categorized under a psychological disease namely Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). It is a persistent, excessive, uncontrollable and unrealistic worry about an everyday thing. Basically, think of something that worries you (common anxiety) but imagines you worrying about it for like a hundred folds more intense. It is a crippling thing and we usually worry about a lot of things - debts, study, partners, physical appearances, etc, etc, but those who suffer GAD really be worrying overtly over all these things. They might spend about three to ten hours daily worrying and it is usually accompanied by symptoms like restlessness, fatigues, difficulty in concentrating and disturbed sleep. It must also happen for at least six months but a more detailed background history is needed before a person is diagnosed to be having GAD.

Why did I suddenly want to write about this?

If you guys read my "It Has Been" series, you would notice that I have experienced to some extent on symptoms of GAD. It wasn't for hours on end but just a little more than I usually have - probably about a solid one to two hours daily. 

I have trouble sleeping and when I do, I got nightmares. I keep on thinking "what if I can't do this" and "what does everyone thinks about me" and generally question myself non-stop. I don't want to go to work. I don't even want to meet anybody at work. These worrying stresses me out and I start to get the worst acne breakout ever (I wrote about that also in HERE). The most difficult thing is that I am always sure of myself and proudly so. To question myself like that is an alien thing for me to be feeling. I  was so confused with my feelings and desperately brushes it off like it is something that can simply be gone but days turns to weeks and I don't want it to be months.

That is when I started to really dedicate myself to write those posts in "It Has Been Series" and from there it helps me to understand myself better and be consciously doing things that can make me feel better. I mostly read stuff online and trying to make sense of things that can help me. 

So what did I do?

The first step in solving a problem is to first identify the problems. It is also how Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT, the kind of therapy that mental disorder therapist uses in their sessions) kinda works out. I remember realizing the extent of my anxiety when I went into this rambling with a friend of mine. It was so stupid. I knew that I feel all these negative things but when I talked it out with her, trying to voice out what I was feeling, I then realize that I have quite an issue. But this first step was only done like halfway after I tried to do something with my anxiety.

Why halfway?

Because I didn't acknowledge that I was being too anxious. I know I was feeling shitty and thought that I just need to fix my way of living at the moment. I focused on doing things that make my life more scheduled. Somewhat more organized and responsible. 

So the first step that I did but turns out it should be the second step is to focus on having a daily, stable, morning routine. I always knew a good morning routine makes me feel better and more focused during lectures. Earlier, I read how peoples do morning exercises, listening to podcast, yoga, good hearty breakfast and thought that I should really try those. 

It is hard! 

To even wake up early when I have trouble sleeping is hard enough. I then settled to how I did it during my degrees - to have a lazy getting ready in the morning (I do everything slowly) and slowly sipping my coffee (I dedicated at least 20 minutes to slowly sips the coffee, it wasn't even hot anymore).

Remember, just do it how you like it. You don't have to feel pressured and do what most peoples do. Baby steps!

It was good. I kinda calm myself well and that brings us to my third step which is to picture the worst and be done with it. That morning routine forces me to deal with the lingering anxiousness of me that " I don't want to go to work". It is somewhat the kind of approach done in CBT. I try to really picture the "what if" that got me so restless and then how to solve it and if it can't be solved, then there really is nothing that I can do about it. I just need to let it go. It wasn't easy but I got somehow repeat that way of thinking for some time and before I realize it, I got back to the way how I used to be so sure of myself. I trained myself daily to have that thought and since I did it daily, it clicks! The hard part is accepting that you can't control everything and the next step is to just face it. 

The first and third step is how CBT works around patient but with more professionalism, calculated and goal oriented. Actually, if the GAD wasn't too serious, CBT should be done first and only if it didn't work that medicines are given. Actually, psychiatric medicines are tricky and can give the opposite effect if it wasn't handled correctly. The more you know huh?

The fourth step still revolves around the idea of me having a more responsible way of living. Since I want to wake up early, I need to sleep early first. Plus, all the articles say that in order to fix your sleeping schedule, I just need to practice a good sleeping schedule. It was such a what the fuck realization. Basically, I need to train my body to sleep at the same time every day. It is also important not to sleep back after Subh prayer. 

I tried all sort of things to help me sleep. For sometimes, I put on earbuds. My place is so damn quiet but the earbuds kinda give that no sensory feelings and that somehow calms me down and helps me to sleep. I tried chamomile tea and hates it. Maybe I should buy a different brand. That "relaxing music to helps you sleeps" actually annoys me. The trick is to clear your head and stop thinking about things and eventually I'll drift off. I am now trained to always sleep by 12 and to never sleep after Subh. I usually wake up around 6.15 or 6.30 am.

such a bunyyy

The fifth step is, I seek treatment for my acne. This is important to me because the acne starts to weigh me down. Healing from acne takes months but the fact that I did something gave a sense of accomplishment and calms me because now I know I will get rid of those.

My most favorite step, the sixth step, that is essential to help me to sleep is to clear my head. I think this is quite a stupid thing like "what do you mean to just clear your head" but I really did. It is a skill that I did train myself to be. It is not the same as just deleting all my anxiousness but I can to some extent make my brain stop thinking about things.

I developed this skill (?) when I tried meditation. I forgot the name of the apps but you can simply download any meditation apps that have a free trial of meditation guides that you can try. I did one that has a span of one week and I choose one to help me to sleep. The soothing voice guides will prompt you to not think about anything and focus on breathing and etc. The meditation itself is not really helpful to me because it makes me kinda all worked up. But I realize I can clear my head and that soothes me enough to lull me to sleep. It also helps if something come out and just triggers me. I can stop thinking about it for a while and that is usually enough to calm me.

The last and most important step is writing. I am so tuned with myself due to my writing experiences. My blog and poems to be exact. No matter if it is a good or a bad thing, writing about it helps me to understand myself better and I always love how I can words out what I feel. It was like knowing myself all over again. It also serves as a healthy way to vent. Writing it out always helps me to think better and generally feel better. It is my own kind of therapy. Many articles suggest writing as a way to manage emotions better. You don't have to write well, just write anything and everything. You can simply write a daily journal and you might feel clueless at first but just write anything that happens today and how you feel about it. Eventually, you will find yourself writing even more. I understand that writing isn't for everyone.

I actually wrote something like this before, just click HERE. Lemme tell you one thing, I didn't read that post until after I finish writing this one. The tips are more so the same. Good to know that I have a consistent ass.

and we are done!

I am feeling much better now. It has been since my PRP almost coming to an end. It was good timing too because I need to hustle more at the moment so it was good not having my anxiety weighing me down. Most importantly, all of those has build an an Afifah that is more confident with herself. I get my old self back and learn one important thing - I'll do what I want and no one can affects me.

So tell me, did you ever experince such anxiety and what did you do? What are your opinions on how I cope?

We Don't Care April Has Ended (konon) and New Niche?

May 15, 2019

I got a revelation yesterday, I want to build a niche for my blog. Yes, I've been blogging for years and only now I decided to make a niche. But before we dive into that, I need to tell something. We went for iftar today and I knew the "terawih" here starts late so I thought I can still make it. But I got lost and when I finally found my way, it was way too late so I went back home. Yupp. I really did that. So now I'm updating my blog. 

Ok, first thing first. My monthly updates. I didn't set any goals for May because it's Ramadhan and I was just way too comfortable in my new house. Yes, I move out, again. The new place that I told before is just hot and too small. I kept on whining about it and a friend of mine at work suggest to move in together because her place is too dusty (she was being dramatic). Anyway, the idea of living with actual friends is so appealing. We got another friend of ours to move in together as well and now here we are under the same roof. Cheaper rent, more spaces, and someone to talk too after day work. It has been great. 

Ok, I'm sidetracked.

April's target outcomes.

  1. Finish reading both Kafka on The Shore and Norwegian Wood - DONE AND I TOTALLY LOVES IT
  2. Read one poetry book - i'm halfway lol
  3. Finish reading Al Baqarah translations - i only read like two pages. omg, got any idea to make it, like fun?
  4. Try to at least go to the gym twice a week - i gave up gym. if you read my depressing post before that hatyai thing,you'll know that i just don't want to that. i think i'll do more walking after ramadhan. 
  5. Try to do at least 5 brush drawing practice (i think i have lost my brushes and watercolor) - i only did once. but at least i found a blog that has this series of tutorial. i think my brushes are of poor quality that it didn't turn out well. that reminds me, i need new brushes.
  6. A detailed itinerary to Thailand that includes Hatyai and Krabi - DONE!
  7. Write all 30 poems according to prompts from NaPoWriMo and update it into a thread on Twitter - i wrote until day 15. or was it day 18? i put it all on my pinned twitter. it's going to take some time but i do want to finish all 30 prompts. 
  8. No sugary drinks except for my daily morning coffee EOD - i really did forget about this.

Wow, I didn´t do as bad as I thought I did. 

Ok now let's go onto my revelation in actually building a niche for my blog. The niche is (cue for drumroll) - ok i don´t know how to word it out. Basically, I want to do a blog that focuses on self-improvement and self-discoveries. I want it filled with things that can enrich life, life hacks and simply helping others to become a better version of themselves. It was also to help me to become a better me. Ok, tell me, what kind of niche is that.