There are a number of articles and interviews regarding my history between 2016–2018 so I will not write a long version of that. I get a lot of DMs on Instagram every month where my followers want to know how I got through hell and tips from me on how to best handle anxiety.
These tips are my own and it is not certain that they will work for you. I have also not checked if any research etc. supports my suggestions. But the most important thing was that it worked for me. Unfortunately, I think that if you have lived with anxiety / depression for a long time, you must probably be prepared for it to come back very easily again. The proposals are in no particular order.
In 2016, I was diagnosed with acute depression which later turned into anxiety.
The most important things for me are Cooper and Kira. To come home to someone who never judges me and always gives true love. Also the feeling of feeling needed. A consistent word in all my tips is "shift focus" and this also applies here. That Cooper and Kira constantly came to me and wanted to be petted or played with was a way to shift focus.
Perhaps the most boring proposal for some, but also very important. It can be difficult to get the courage to start exercising, especially if you are depressed. I have always trained and continued to do so while I had extreme anxiety. An important part is to get away from home where anxiety can often be accelerated. The hour I practiced made me disperse my thoughts and shift my focus again. The bonus after training was that I felt more tired in the evening / night and that my sleep got better. Find a workout that works for you, there is no right or wrong.
Here you can make the hours pass quickly if you find something that interests you. I also got the feeling that I was actually good at something. I did not really have a hobby before 2016 but I got a new hobby in the middle of my worst time in life. I totally stuck to photography and that was the way I then started my Instagram.
4. Talk about it
This was the hardest part for me. I had not talked emotions for over 30 years and now I needed to do it to survive. I started talking with the ”easy” familiar people such as family and closest friends. When I noticed that people cared about me and listened to me, then I gained the confidence to dare to talk openly about it. In 2018, I took the step out into the media and told my story. That's when I realized that I was not alone with anxiety. It's very important that you understand that you are not alone. I absolutely don't mean that you need to take the "extreme" step and tell the whole world how you feel. But for me, it was an important part to be able to tell my story and hopefully help others out there.
Absolutely doesn´t work for everyone. But for me it was an important part. The first thing my doctor wanted to do was write me off sick right away. But I said no, it was not my job that gave me depression. I could still do my job and my closest co-workers knew everything about me. It was a way to get away from home and once again shift focus and feel needed.
This proposal was the easiest for me to implement. Fresh air, sound and light can do miracles for one's mood. Find a place where you can recharge your batteries, for me it was the sea and the forest. For someone else, maybe it's the big city? Find your own lovely little spot. I didn't need someone to go out and walk with, sometimes it was nicer to just go alone and take in the surroundings around me. I started with short walks and then I increased the time more and more.
7. Health care
Always seek medical attention if you feel it is unsustainable! You need to give healthcare a chance before you say it doesn't work. If you read my articles and interviews, I immediately sought medical attention. Unfortunately, it did not help me but I had to find my own ways to survive.
8. Say no!
I noticed that when I opened up about my depression and anxiety, people wanted to do things all the time, so that I would not have to sit alone at home. It works for a while to say "yes" to everything and pretend that everything is fine. But reality caught up with me when I finally did not have the energy to do things. I got anxiety instead because I had to say no and I had to explain that I did not have the energy to do things all the time. Today I say no directly to things I do not feel for and do not force myself to do things I don't want.