A friend recently reached out to me to get my advice on anti-depressant medication and how she can manage her anxiety. This friend is a strong woman, who strives on only using natural remedies and I doubt she ever takes real medicine unless it’s necessary. I was a little taken-back when she told me she was suffering from anxiety. I haven’t seen her in a long-time, but from what I remember of her, she was always such a calm, cool, easy-going person. I used to look up to her as an older sister because she was so confident and successful.
So, when she told me she was seeking help for anxiety, I was a bit shocked. I know she’s stopped working and is a stay-at-home mom for 3 beautiful children, but anxiety? I guess, it’s understandable. Having just Ni to take care of sometimes does its toll on me and makes me feel like escaping. But she’s got three little ones. Plus, the house chores, groceries, laundry, running errands….yes, I guess, anxiety is very understandable in her case. Matter-of-fact, in any mother’s case.
I strongly recommended she not take anti-depressants unless she absolutely needed them. I’ve taken anti-depressant for many years, off and on and if you can do without them, I would suggest, staying away. Anti-depressant medications are great, they calm you down, relax your crazy thoughts and even help you go to sleep. But they’re only great until they are not. There are an array of side-effects and they are very addictive (even if you don’t have an addictive personality).
I’m not shaming anti-depressants. They work for some people very well. But for me, I try to avoid them. So, I suggested to her to begin writing down her thoughts. When my depression nearly killed me, I wrote, it helped more than I can explain. You don’t write for someone to read your thoughts. You write to let out whatever it is you’re battling within yourself. Sometimes, I wrote ten pages, sometimes only a single word. But it helped. I’ve asked her to buy a journal from the Dollar Store and begin taking a couple of minutes everyday to write what she’s thinking, how she’s feeling, what she did that day; was it good or bad, did she enjoy it or want to change it?
Aside from writing, here are a couple of other things that help me ease my depression and anxiety:
They say drinking chamomile tea helps calm you down and relaxes your anxiety. I’m not a fan of chamomile tea because I just cannot tolerate the taste. But if you can look beyond the taste, it has similar compounds that bind to the brain receptors such as drugs like Valium to help calm anxiety symptoms.
Green tea has an amino acid called L-theanine; which helps regulate a fast heart-rate and blood pressure and may also help reduce anxiety. Add some honey to the mix and you may as well have one of the best soothing drinks to relax yourself before bedtime.
Lavender is known for its relaxation, healing powers. I burn lavender candles, burn incense and even spray lavender and vanilla air-freshener in my apartment before bed to help me fall asleep. Glade makes an amazing air-freshener that really freshens up the place and has a long-lasting scent; which isn’t too strong.
Eat a piece of chocolate or chocolate cake:
This remedy is probably a cause of me being over-weight. But it helps. There is something in chocolate that really satisfies the mind and relaxes the body. So, have some chocolate (not too late at night though) and calm your senses.
I’ve read on many websites that in the middle of an anxiety attack, it’s hard to focus on your breathing and breathing exercises just do not work. But I’ve tried it, before and during an attack and I can honestly say, if practiced regularly, it will help. Sometimes taking in a deep breath and releasing it slowly does relax your body, calm your heart-rate and feel like you’re releasing your tensions.
I regularly practice breathing by counting while I’m doing it. 5 seconds to inhale, hold for 5 seconds and release for 8 seconds. I do 5 sets of these and it truly calms me right down.
Take a hot shower or warm bath:
There is something about hot showers that help me release my tensions and I always come out of the bathroom after a hot shower relaxed and at ease with myself. Sometimes, I cry my heart out in the shower, sometimes I just stand there letting the hot water hit my skin and zone out. Sometimes, I listen to music and even talk to myself (yes, I sound a little crazy, but it helps! Don’t judge.)
And if all else fails me, I hide in the bathroom for ten minutes, yell at the top of my lungs if no one is home and then come out slightly calmer. I hope some of these remedies and ideas help my friend out and you out.
Do you have anxiety or depression? If so, share your tips and secrets with dealing with it and staying sane!