Tips on Surviving an Anxiety Relapse

I have been doing pretty well with my anxiety lately. I had in under control. I was more secure with things in my life. I was second guessing myself or others. If some random anxious thought came up, I was usually able to rationalize it. I wasn’t lashing out at others. I was in control of my emotions. Other things in my life were coming together as well – professionally and personally. It felt really good. My life felt solid. But then this weekend I fell. I no longer had a tight grasp.

I went to away with my partner this weekend to visit his family – who I love seeing. It’s usually the perfect relaxing weekend, and it’s what I needed. Then – honestly – to my horror – I realized I forgot my anti-depressants at home. This doesn’t happen often – but it has happened before. I do my best to be conscious of packing it, but this weekend it slipped my mind. It’s scary when I forget my medication because I no longer fully understand my emotions.

When I first realized, I felt like a fool. How could I forget my medication? How could I be so careless? This was my fault. I forgot my medication. I did this to myself. I was no longer fully excited about the weekend instead I was nervous because I didn’t want to screw up a nice weekend.

My anxiety first struck without me fulling realizing it. I become extremely anxious about something that usually wouldn’t bother me. Instead of trying to control what was happening – I ended up lashing out. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t great either. Anxiety took over. After that passed, I finally understood what happened. Controlling emotions and forgetting my medication don’t mix.

After that incident, I thought I had it under control. I was more aware. I could handle. But then another thing came up and then another. I managed it in the sense that other people around me didn’t know what was happening – or I think they didn’t. I kept it to myself or my partner. But what I was feeling wasn’t logical. It wasn’t normal.

I became extremely anxious and irritable about something – and I knew it wasn’t logical and I knew that I shouldn’t have been annoyed at it – but I was anyway. I couldn’t necessarily fully control how I was reacting. Everything felt disoriented. When I look back on the times I was consumed by anxiety, I remember it as a dream. Nothing felt okay. It was like I was in a horror movie and that intense music was playing right before a scary part happened – but a scary part never occurred. It felt like I was running through a forest with someone constantly chasing me. I just didn’t feel safe. Those types of emotions are not necessarily easy to control when they happen. As I said, I was aware of what I was feeling was illogical but that didn’t stop the emotions or my reaction.

rock climbing anxietyEven though I had moments of intense anxiety, I also had moments where I was great. I went out to dinner and was good. I went rock climbing and didn’t have any anxiety. I even tried more than I usually do. I didn’t fully understand why my brain got anxiety when it did. It was unpredictable.

I talked to my partner about it. Because what I was feeling wasn’t normal or okay. I wanted to explain how it wasn’t my fault. Without my medication, my brain chemistry isn’t right, and my emotions are out of whack. What was my fault, was forgetting my medication. As of this morning, I made countermeasures so that will never happen again.

This type of relapse is easier to explain. I have a reason that I can put behind it. I had a relapse in my anxiety recovery because I forgot my medication. But it’s not always that simple. Sometimes it’s not your fault. Sometimes your anxiety becomes more intense after a period of some peace. It’s frustrating. Especially when you remember how well you have been doing. You don’t understand it. People around you may not understand it. But that doesn’t change how you are feeling.

Below are just a few tips that help when you have an anxiety relapse.

1. Power through it.
I found that I just have to make it through the anxiety pieces. If you are relapsing, you know that you won’t always feel like this. You won’t always be consumed by anxiety. If you keep taking care of yourself and doing what you need to do, you will be better again. If you can pinpoint what triggered your relapse – see if there is a way you can counter measure it in the future. It’s just about getting through it. It sucks but you can do it.

2. Communicate with people close to you.
Tell people close to you what is happening when realizing it. They may not be used to you dealing with as much anxiety anymore. You may not understand it. But communicating with people you trust – you can both prepare yourselves better. They will hopefully be more understanding and help you through it. If you know what helps you – tell them. It’s important to communicate so everything can be more understood.

3. Forgive yourself.
It’s really easy to be hard on yourself when you have a relapse in your anxiety recovery. You may wonder what the point in trying is. You may blame yourself. You may keep lashing out. You may hate yourself for going through this again when you were once better. It’s so hard. I get it. But the best thing you can do is forgive yourself. Know that this is normal and it happens.

Going through an anxiety relapse is never easy. But you can get through it. Know that it’s okay. It happens. And it won’t last forever.

What are some of your tips for coping with an anxiety relapse?

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