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Author Topic: Anxiety  (Read 23400 times)
dr_evil
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« on: September 06, 2011, 9:09:01 AM »

I should stop constantly visiting the venting thread with this, but those of you who've read there know that I've been having some anxiety issues lately.  Thanks to all who've provided support and tips.  I feel like I'm a very needy friend right now.

I thought perhaps a number of us could be helped by providing some tips to deal with anxiety.  I know there's a thread related to anxiety on the tenure track, but I don't want to limit us to just work-related anxiety.  What do you do to get you through those rough times?

My tip, which sadly has not been working lately, but usually helps, is watching old comedies on DVD.  "Young Frankenstein" is a particular favorite, but anything silly seems to help.  Escapism through a good book (or just action-filled plot) is also helpful for me, when I have time.
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walkingtree
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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2011, 9:17:51 AM »

I recommend ocean swimming. Since it's not the season, go for pool swimming and swim until you feel exhausted.
Do this regularly. I felt better afterwards.
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prytania3
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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2011, 9:25:43 AM »

The cure for anxiety is benzos and prayer.
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tuxedo_cat
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« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2011, 11:55:26 AM »

I always have several old podcasts of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" loaded up on my iPod (you can download episodes from several years ago, which are still very entertaining) and listen to that in my car and doing errands if I'm having a lousy day.  It's really hard not to laugh at those.  I wish there were a special marker to indicate which ones have Paula Poundstone in the line-up.  I <3 Paula.

And +1 on walkingtree's swimming suggestion.  Aside from the exercise, I think there is something immediately soothing about simply being suspended in water.

If any of you have suggestions about beta-blockers, that would be very helpful.  I have to give a paper at our major conference in Jan, and as I have gotten older, my presentation anxiety problems have intensified pretty badly.  I'm ready to try drugs.

Great idea for a thread!
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marfa
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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2011, 3:30:27 PM »

I was thinking about starting a new thread when someone on the SSRI thread mentioned the book "Feeling Good, the new mood therapy".  There are exercises in there that I thought we could share stories about.

For example, one exercise is to write what you need to do.  For each activity write your predicted difficulty for the task and your predicted satisfaction level once the task is done.  After the task is done write the actual difficulty and the actual satisfaction level.  The goal being that things aren't usually as bad as you think they'll be.
 
This seems to be kind of what the Paralysis Analysis thread is, but without the reflection afterwards.

Any takers?
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krisanthe
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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2011, 3:40:36 PM »

If any of you have suggestions about beta-blockers, that would be very helpful.  I have to give a paper at our major conference in Jan, and as I have gotten older, my presentation anxiety problems have intensified pretty badly.  I'm ready to try drugs.

I don't have any experience with beta-blockers, but I wanted to say that I think it's odd that anxiety over certain situations can worsen with age/time.  One would think that the more you do something successfully, the less anxious you'd feel about doing it.  Over the past couple of years I've developed anxiety over traveling (whether work-related or vacation) and I never had anxiety over traveling in the past.  Why does that happen?

When I am feeling anxious about something, I try not to think about it.  This was very difficult at first, but now I'm getting better at it.  If I can get my mind off of whatever is making me anxious and, say, bake cookies or paint my nails, I feel better. 
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daisyaday
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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2011, 3:46:27 PM »

My husband has pretty severe anxiety issues that come and go. He finds that having a routine in place for the time of day it is most likely to hit helps. For him that is late evening. His routine is to have a sandwich, watch some light tv (comedy, classic, etc) and do some spiritual-based reading. The routine helps ease him into bedtime and he finds he is less anxious and sleeps better because of it.
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crumpet
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« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2011, 8:07:15 PM »

I used to do the avoidance tactics (good ones have been listed already), but I think the thing that has helped me most is to make a list of what I'm anxious about.

Then I stare at it.

After looking my list over I usually become less anxious. If something is still scary, I write down one thing I can do to try to make it better or to eliminate it from my life as much as possible.
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tuxedo_cat
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« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2011, 8:13:04 PM »

For example, one exercise is to write what you need to do.  For each activity write your predicted difficulty for the task and your predicted satisfaction level once the task is done.  After the task is done write the actual difficulty and the actual satisfaction level.  The goal being that things aren't usually as bad as you think they'll be.

That sounds incredibly useful.  And simple.  Sign me up. 

Although I'm curious about how one measures difficulty and satisfaction levels.   And then compares them.  But I get the general idea.
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punchnpie
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« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2011, 8:26:42 PM »

I don't have any experience with beta-blockers, but I wanted to say that I think it's odd that anxiety over certain situations can worsen with age/time.  One would think that the more you do something successfully, the less anxious you'd feel about doing it.  Over the past couple of years I've developed anxiety over traveling (whether work-related or vacation) and I never had anxiety over traveling in the past.  Why does that happen?

When I was younger and plane travel was still an adventure (food, drinks, and no TSA), I never worried about travel. But after my son came along, and with the 24/7 news cycle in which you hear about every disaster all over the world (and pics of said disasters are spread across the internet), I worry more. I know the consequences if you don't die, such as 3rd degree burns and amputations.

Also, when I was younger, I was just going from here to there, now when I travel, I'm likely going to a conference. There's work to do on the way, while I'm away, and waiting for me when I get back. Nothing's easy anymore, all of which adds to my anxiety, I suppose.

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dr_alcott
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« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2011, 8:36:37 PM »

Thanks for starting this thread, Dr_Evil.

I posted somewhere recently that I've been having lots of anxiety-induced insomnia lately. I wake up to pee, and then I'm lying awake for an hour or two with a huge pit in my stomach, just thinking about all the little things that I worry about.

I know the first thing I should be doing is exercising more and eating better (I eat plenty of good stuff, but then I top it off with ice cream and wine). Maybe I'll start tomorrow.

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chaosbydesign
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« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2011, 8:48:34 PM »

I'm sorry you've been having a hard time lately, Dr. Evil. Anxiety really sucks. I don't really have any useful advice as I pretty much suck at dealing with anxiety myself. I take meds already for BP and although they're effective for that, they don't do a damn thing for anxiety.

I get anxious at night a lot and it keeps me awake -- I'll think about things and worry about things for hours (like money, work, the future, and, ironically, never getting enough sleep). That I can deal with (well, I've learned to deal with it). What causes me more problems is... I don't even know how to describe it. Let's say the trying-to-sleep-but-can't-stop-thinking anxiety is chronic anxiety that is pretty much always there all the time, whereas this other minor (heh) thing is acute anxiety which happens suddenly and doesn't last all that long but causes me to do really stupid things like emergency-stop the car and take my hands off the wheel because the GPS told me to go straight ahead at a two-fork road. Basically what goes through my head is "OMG I can't do this, I must STOP or this will kill me". And then I stop, and within a few minutes, I'm fine.

Anyway, sorry for the hijack and not contributing to the coping mechanisms. If I find one, I'll be sure to let you know!

On Preview: Dr. Alcott, that's exactly what I mean about my night-anxiety. Again, I'm not really sure what to advise because, well, if I had a solution I'd use it on myself, but I understand exactly what you mean. One thing I will say, though, is that if you're anything like me the length of time you are kept awake will gradually increase until you're awake for like six hours because of it, so you might want to consider talking to your GP about meds to help with it. (I'm not taking sleeping meds right now for various reasons -- the main one being that I have to drive so damn early in the morning to get a parking space!)
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dr_evil
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« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2011, 9:40:51 PM »

I'm sorry you've been having a hard time lately, Dr. Evil.

Thanks.  It has started getting a little better later today, although I'm still anxious.  Of course, it usually does go away, but it's so easy to forget that when one is feeling so nervous.

I'm glad others have felt this thread was a good idea and thanks to everyone for posting their coping methods.
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miraceli
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« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2011, 12:17:51 AM »

Funny that I just saw this thread -- I have just finished a cup of Valerian tea which I read is supposed to help with insomnia and anxiety... I'll report back if it has any effect on me.
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dr_evil
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« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2011, 7:01:31 AM »

I don't have any experience with beta-blockers, but I wanted to say that I think it's odd that anxiety over certain situations can worsen with age/time.  One would think that the more you do something successfully, the less anxious you'd feel about doing it.  Over the past couple of years I've developed anxiety over traveling (whether work-related or vacation) and I never had anxiety over traveling in the past.  Why does that happen?

I wish I knew.  I have the same problem - I also feel uncomfortable traveling.  I'm always worried about what's happening to my house when I'm not there.  Did I remember to lock the door?  That sort of thing.

I slept a bit better last night - like Miraceli, I also tried some tea that tends to relax me - but I woke a number of times during the night and now that I'm awake, I'm pretty tense, almost as bad as before.  I don't know if the tea helped or if I was just so tired because of the poor sleep from so many previous nights.

I'm going to try some exercise today.  I won't have a chance to go for a swim, but I'm going to try taking a short walk in the middle of the day, when I have a bit of a break.

For example, one exercise is to write what you need to do.  For each activity write your predicted difficulty for the task and your predicted satisfaction level once the task is done.  After the task is done write the actual difficulty and the actual satisfaction level.  The goal being that things aren't usually as bad as you think they'll be.

That sounds incredibly useful.  And simple.  Sign me up. 

Although I'm curious about how one measures difficulty and satisfaction levels.   And then compares them.  But I get the general idea.

I also think it sounds like an interesting idea.  Sometimes it's not something I have to do that's making me anxious, but things I can't control.  I'm willing to give it a try.
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