How did YOU overcome anxiety?


#1

lately i’ve been feeling super isolated and distant from the people around me, so i’ve made it a goal to seek out people with similar interests! the thing is, it’s really hard to be the one to approach someone else when the thought alone makes you break out into a sweat/tiny heart attack. especially when it involves games, and you’re a minority who’s avoided getting familiar with those spaces for… obvious reasons :fearful:

so, if you have anxiety like this and have found the right group/community for you, what are some tips you could give others who are struggling with it? what was it like for you?


#2

I am also horribly plagued with anxiety. The only thing that has ever worked for me is to just shut off and stop thinking about the activity and just force myself to do it. Usually, once I’ve actually started, it’s okay. Wish it was consistent though.


#3

a lot of things have contributed to cooling off the ol brain problems for me, and while they’re never really gone they’re more manageable than theyve been in a long time. the big one was starting HRT–i couldnt tell you the science behind it, but getting my hormones in line made anxiety much more manageable. i also stopped drinking so much, which probably helped too.

honestly, the rest of it has been getting to know folks online who i can relate to and who understand the things im going through, and while getting to that point was difficult, now that im here i have a group of people i can sit down and talk to, and who’ll understand if i say i need to step away from conversation for a bit to cool off

so while hormone replacement therapy is maybe not the most #relatable advice in the world, i would suggest getting to know people who have lived experience with anxiety or other similar brain problems


#4

Occasionally I seem to wander over a hump only to find more humps. I’m going to assume there are infinite humps and you have to just will yourself generally forward until you die. At least I don’t still think people in Starbucks are too cool for me.


#5

I find that forcing your brain to skip tracks is a good way to dislodge yourself from an anxiety spiral. Change physical location and do something totally unrelated to what you’re doing. You’ll focus on all that rather than getting lost in a bad headspace.


#6

anxiety manifests in so many ways and is so different for so many people, it’s crazy… for me, getting it under control started with taking better care of myself. cutting drinking out of my life, exercise, daily meditation. i still have bad days, but most of the time i feel alright. i take credit for that, i’m proud of that, and i think it all feeds back into a positive feedback thingy.


#7

I watch a lot of Star Trek or even just something space related cause that always calms me down. Something about the infinite expanse that’s actually, physically out there is really soothing to me. And, ya know, utopian-ish societies.

My big problem lately is anxiety while trying to fall asleep. I’ve dealt with depression since I was a teen, but this no sleeping thing has only been in the past couple of years, I dunno. And I can’t even remember the last “good” day I had.

Meditation helps a little, I do yoga occasionally, and, yeah, a change of scenery can be an effective salve if it’s an every day thing. Also, I think survival games are great ways to spend some downtime. I’ve recently gotten back into Starbound and just throwing on a podcast or album while playing that or something like No Man’s Sky is a really good centering technique.


#8

I went to a doctor and got a prescription for Cipralex.

but seriously, I did do that and it wasn’t the whole solution but I think it definitely helped. I realize not everyone is in a place where they can just go to a doctor and get meds. I couldn’t even manage it if it weren’t for Canadian Health Insurance. but listen. if you are in a place where it is financially feasible I cannot recommend it enough, you are going to try to talk yourself out of it because doctors and medicine is scary and I am still a little freaked out by the prospect of taking a pill for the rest of my life, but listen, that is the anxiety talking, don’t trust it. doctors know what they are doing and they are doing and there is a very real chance that medicine and/or therapy will make you feel better and you will be able to live the better life that seems so easy for everyone else but you. Go. Do it. if you have been secretly waiting for somebody who cares about you to talk you into doing it then let me be that person and make an appointment. it’s late now, but call them tomorrow. Do it.


#9

i’ve tried to meditate on and off for a while, but it can be super tough for it to make me feel better. most of the time i just get frustrated that i’m “bad at meditating” or whatever.

seeing a therapist is great if you can manage/afford it.

one thing i find helpful is writing in a journal and trying to extract what exactly is stressing me out. writing in general can be nice, same goes for playing guitar.

i’ve also recently come across a more specific and helpful mental health disorder description for myself, so I’ve been looking up stuff about that and that’s been really good.


#10

Generally I don’t manage my anxiety too well. I do a lot of faking it till I make it. Surprisingly it can work, though I dunno how well it will for others. I’m pretty much always second guessing myself and worrying that I’m not good enough. Clomipramine has also helped, since my anxiety is paired with OCD.


#11

Taking up running and swimming helped a lot for me. I’m uncomfortable in my body so activities that forced me to learn to think about and exert control over it really helped boost my confidence generally.

A lot of social situations are a struggle still but I try to think of the things I now do that I couldn’t or wouldn’t before and that really helps me get through.


#12

In high school i kept my anxiety in check by reading pretty much constantly. Anything that could remove me from the real world even only for a couple of pages helped calm me down a lot also got me in trouble sometimes,
teachers don’t like you reading non-class related things in class. Who knew?

These days my anxiety issues seem to have faded to a really mild state, with some occasional flare ups here and there. I just got lucky with that I guess, it’s weird how anxiety impacts people so differently.


#13

Projects usually help me refocus my head if stress is causing me to go into a bit of an episode. I don’t just mean constructive projects, though. Playing simple tycoon games or replaying the start of an RPG with a lot of room for choice and player expression helps me iron out by giving me a sense of control over something.

I haven’t been able to peg down why I get like this sometimes, but I think my episodes come from fear of screwing up important real life stuff I don’t really understand, like being terrified that signing some paperwork wrong will somehow ruin my whole future. Doing something that gives me a sense of control and the sense that I am impacting something or someone helps with that bit of anxiety. It also helps with social anxiety, as my brain constantly makes me second guess my entire worth as a person by randomly flashing to bad moments in my past. Expressing myself in a game helps remind me that I’m more than just those mistakes (I almost always play as a good guy who helps everyone just because I want to in every single game on my first playthrough).

Hope that helps a little.


#14

Therapy.

But I have an anxiety disorder that is comorbid with PTSD and was a shut-in with paranoia for a long time. Medication and talk therapy can help really significant anxiety problems because a lot of it is neurological and pattern-recognition that’s gone way off the tracks. Identifying the sources of my anxiety and reducing my fear towards them versus letting them be embedded and spiralling out of control has really helped me live a more real life. I still have anxiety problems but they are at a lower level now.

I never will overcome anxiety entirely because trauma literally changes how your brain works, but I can be a more “real” person now.


#15

I tried meditation, developed a love of exercise, tried to join in with social things, etc. None of it really helped me though. I couldn’t ever push through the barrier of anxiety that would have allowed me to make friends. I made small progress, enough to go from being terrified of leaving my room to being able to go to university, but never made any friends due to just being incapable of talking to anyone.

For me the thing that did it was a combination of things. I had a support worker for a while, we just had regular chats with each other, and through those very normal conversations, it helped me build up my confidence enough to know that I could handle a conversation. And then studying overseas in a developing country helped me a lot. Not everybody has this option of course, I couldn’t have done it without a scholarship. But it basically just put me in a situation where all the other students on my study abroad program didn’t care about my history, or me being shy. Everyone is 100x friendlier on study abroad in my experience, and it allowed me to make some progress with my anxiety. Plus, it turned out for me that communicating in a second language is much less anxiety inducing for me because people expect me to make mistakes in things I say and ways I behave. I still get anxious, but these days I actually feel confident that I have the ability to deal with it. But yeah this isn’t something that would work for anyone, I just had a specific combination of severe anxiety and experience moving around a lot that made it work for me.

My story isn’t very useful so my tips would basically go - Exercise (can be just walking), therapy, meditation, volunteering (people that volunteer are usually good people so somewhat less scary, for me anyway), and potentially even a support worker if something like that is available. For me, the transition from terrified of leaving my room to living overseas has been a long one filled with many mistakes and setbacks, but with good support networks in place it’s possible to overcome setbacks and keep on improving.


#16

i still have severe generalized anxiety that i don’t know how to fix, but the social side of that has lessened somewhat over the years. i think one of the big things that helped me out was volunteering. not only are the people there likely to be decent and interested in something you are interested in since you’re both volunteering at the same place, but it’s also a setting where social interactions have a “context”. it’s often easier for me to talk to people during organized activities like that because there’s already something to talk about (the work), and there’s no pressure to talk if you don’t want to anymore for any reason because there will likely be something else to focus on. trying to find a group activity of some kind that you will enjoy and that will offer context for any social interactions is pretty helpful to slowly grow confidence with talking to people.

at least it has been for me - anxiety is different for everyone, as is probably obvious by the great variety of responses to this post.


#17

I wish I knew how. I can alleviate it slightly (through writing and other creative outlets) but it never goes away and there are really really bad spikes… Trying to do anything during those spikes does nothing.


#18

Long ago i learned the habit of walking for long distances, and that helped alleviate daily pressures. It’s something i still do with frequency, though with more physical concerns in mind.

Otherwise, i’d say that the sheer need to be able to do my job was a big help too. The job market was very poor when i was younger and my untrained butt was pushed to the service industry, which is very demanding of your ability to remain calm and able through very stressful moments. Not to mention learning to talk in very specific ways to very different people, and not losing sense of yourself through it. Nowadays, having both work and college to worry about, i don’t even have the time to get anxious, which personally is a huge thing. More than just painful, i’ve learned to think of anxiety as an extremely inefficient state of being, and efficiency is something i already have the tools for.


#20

wow, i didn’t really expect many replies at all. :open_mouth: thanks so much for all the different perspectives! even if you don’t have a specific answer, it’s nice to hear someone else has similar problems and is willing to talk!


#22

to clarify my earlier post a bit: i was on a lot of meds for a very, very long time. i didn’t mean to come off as too “boot-strapsy” or anything. hearing people say “exercise!” is annoying as hell, i know. i still take a very low dose of anxiety meds daily. they can obviously be a great tool for managing anxiety. it’s just that in my personal case, i didn’t start really feeling like i was winning the battle until i felt like i was actively fighting it myself, making positive choices, trying and finding new routines. i think that can be very helpful and empowering.