Yesterday I spiraled into one of those horrendous anxiety spirals that was so utterly dark and dire, all I wanted to do was pop a Xani and drink a bottle of wine to quell the epically loud voices BOOMING through my ever-spinning head.
“You’re not going anywhere with your life! Your life is a dead-end road!” The twisted bitch who lives inside my head screamed at the top of her lungs.
“Speaking of dead-ends, what about that deadline? Are you going to miss your deadline, again? Do you even remember the date of that deadline you f*cking loser?” The panic-ridden twerp who also lives inside my head sneered.
“YOU SUCK AT LIFE AND DON’T DESERVE ANYTHING!” The evil queen who occasionally visits my head began to shout, pounding her fists brutally against my weak, fragile chest.
I suddenly couldn’t breathe. I felt like I was underwater.
“Babe? Do you have Xanax?” I asked my wife, my eyes big and Bambi-like. I hammed up my lower-lip tremble for added dramatic flair. I was certain she had at least a few Valiums tucked away for a rainy day.
She furrowed her brows and shook her head in disappointment. “I thought you quit that shit?” She asked smugly (at least I perceived it to be smug because I’m sensitive/defensive about my pill-popping tendencies).
“I DID. BUT. I AM FREAKING OUT!” I felt myself go to that dark, deranged panic-stricken place, where you ascend outside of your body and begin to haphazardly flap around the proverbial air like a bird with a clipped wing (what they refer to as “fight or flight” in the mental illness business).
“Look. I’m sorry you feel this way, but I don’t have any Xanax.” My partner said, irritated. “I have to go.” She kissed me on the head and strutted out the door like the grown ass woman she is.
I, on the other hand, was utterly screwed. I had no benzos in my possession (I asked my doctor months ago to stop prescribing them to me, as my four-year love affair with Xanax had rendered me an idiot who couldn’t remember the password to my work email 99.9 percent of the time).
Weed, which would be easy to score, only makes me more anxious, and as for drinking the pain away? It was 10 AM, sister. It was too damn early to bust open the cold bottle of white wine sitting pretty in my fridge! I had meetings to go to (not recovery meetings. Work meetings)! I shuddered at the thought of having to publically speak in front of a slew of judgmental millennials in a conference room.
How was I to get through the day?
Lez be honest. If I *really* wanted to take some drugs and slug back some booze to self-medicate the pain away, I could’ve. Easily. But I chose to be an adult. And adults play the tape of what would *actually* happen if I were to have even a sliver of a benzodiazepine. It would work. Too well.
And the next thing I know I would be lusting after the whole Xani which I would consume like a rabid dog foaming at the mouth, which would lead me to drink an entire bottle of 711 wine (because I would be sooo relaxed why not day-drink?), which would lead to me getting sloppy drunk, which would lead to me cancelling the meetings I had worked so hard to arrange, which would lead to horrendous shame, which would lead to more booze, which would lead to a severe blackout, which would lead to waking up the next day hating myself with such a fervent ferocity I would need double the Xani in order to survive the next day. Maybe even take an Adderall or three as well, because it’s hard to write on tight deadlines when sedated. Which would lead to a larger set of problems, I don’t frankly have time to deal with right now. I have dreams I need to manifest into fruition! I have goals I need to accomplish. I have a life that I value, even when trauma from the past sticks it’s acrylic nail into the underbelly of vulnerability.
The sweet little dead-end road of self-medicating, I can assure you, is anything but fun. And at this stage in the game: I covet fun.
Since drugs were out of the question, what did I do to ease the anxiety? Glad you asked, sister. I dug into my toolbox, baby. I pulled out 12 of the best tools I’ve learned throughout the years. Techniques that help pull me back to earth when I’m sifting through the haphazard airwaves of anxiety.
So if you’re on the brink of a panic attack, try this. I can’t promise you it will work for you, but these tips do work for me.
Flood your body with water. Your life depends on it.
Before you do anything, I want you to go into the kitchen and pour yourself a large glass of water. Add a pinch of Himalayan salt in there, if you have some (for electrolytes).
Now. I want you to slug back that water as if it were the finest Champagne to ever exist on the planet. Suck it back with a straw if you have one. Then, I want you to pour yourself another glass of water. Slug that one back as if it were a cold glass of rosé on a hot summer’s day.
Repeat until you’ve consumed five glasses of water.
Did you know that when you’re stressed your body dehydrates faster? Did you know that when you’re dehydrated you stress out even more and dehydration, in general, makes you function with the strength of a withering plant trapped inside of a Manhattan apartment with an overactive radiator? How are you going to work through your anxiety when you’re nothing but a wilting plant?
You won’t. So drink up, sister.
Drop everything and step into the sunlight, babe.
The Vitamin D from the sun’s sweet rays are actually proven to make you feel happier, did you know that my fellow child of the night? Why do you think all of those annoying California girls are smiling all the time? All that D, honey. And by D, I don’t mean dick, I mean D, as in the Vitamin. Which we absorb by exposing ourselves to the sunlight.
(Though the dick might help too. Just make sure you wrap it up with a condom, because the fear of STD’s or unplanned pregnancy will make you even more anxious than you are right now).
Remember: Everything will be over in 24 hours!
Whatever you’re worried about confronting today, will all be over 24 hours. The meeting. The date. The uncomfortable phone call to your parents where you tell them you’ve run out of money and need a temporary loan.
It will all be over in 24 short hours. And you’ve survived this tough, uncomfortable life this long, right? What’re another 24 hours? Nothing. Everything is temporary. Before you know it you’ll be cuddled up in bed with a hot cup of tea reading the Dirty Beauty blog.
Run like the f*cking wind.
If you’re not at work stuck in your stiff business suit, I want you to slip on your ugliest sneakers and hit the pavement. Run the panic away. That’s why marathons exist, duh. They were invented by people running away from their anxiety and depression.
Run until you’re no longer anxious, just breathless.
If you’re at work, go for a brisk walk. Skip around the block a few times. Move that paralyzed body and release the fear into the ether.
Pro Tip: Feel your feet planted on the ground and breathe.
It sounds simple, but it’s eerily effective. Prescription drug companies don’t want us to know about this technique because it will tamper with their business. Kick off your heels. Feel your feet rooted into the carpet. And breathe like your life depends on it. Breathe deeply. Luxuriously. Do this for two solid minutes I big sister promise you, you will feel better shortly!
If you live somewhere relatively warm and have a backyard, do this barefoot in the grass. Planting your feet into the earth is known in the biohacking community as “earthing” and it actually….works. I mean if you think about it, humans are primal. We’re meant to feel the goddamn grass between our toes, you know?
Text a friend and ask her to a share a story of when she majorly screwed up in her life.
When your mind is replaying tape after tape of memories depicting all of the embarrassing moments you’ve cultivated, text a friend and ask her to share an embarrassing moment of her own. It will make you feel less alone! Feeling less alone helps to ease anxiety, I swear to Lana Del Rey (my higher power).
If you don’t have friends to text, read this article I wrote! If that’s not embarrassing, I don’t know what is, honey.
Remember: IT’S NOT THAT IMPORTANT.
Is your life in danger? Is a giant rocketship headed toward your family home, right now? No. Well, then you don’t have real problems, girl.
Remember: YOU’RE NOT THAT IMPORTANT.
Here is some big sister tough love I’m delighted to bestow upon you: You. Are. Not. That. Important. Let me rephrase: You are important to me, and possibly to your loved ones — but the world is not going to end because you missed the deadline, screwed up the speech or went to the wrong airport for the work trip. The world isn’t going to end because you aren’t perfect, darling. You simply aren’t that important. And thank god! Being important is stressful. Ick.
Go stare at puppies on Instagram for exactly three minutes.
Sometimes when you’re anxious, you just need to check out from the bleak realities of life for a short while! Go stare at Instagram puppies for three minutes and remember that pure, beautiful, cute creatures do exist in this brutal world.
Listen to the music you lived for in high school.
Allow yourself to rock out to the angst-ridden “wahhhh, I feel sorry for myself!” music that helped make you feel so gorgeously connected to your anxiety and depression when you were but a feral teen.
Shamelessly indulge in those dark feels for a few hours, like you did in high school. It’s like emotional masturbation. And just like actual masturbation, once you’ve had enough, you’ll be ready to go back to being a functioning adult, thriving in the world again.
Remember: It’s all temporary. Drugs are the only things that make anxiety last longer!
Everything is temporary. Especially feelings. You’re not going to feel the way you feel right now forever. Unless you get wasted. Then you’ll have drunken anxiety, which leads to shameful behavior, which leads to drinking even more anxiety, which leads to colossal hangovers, which lead more bouts of soul-snatching bouts of anxiety the next morning.
If you can ride the wave of the panicky feeling with the confidence that the wave will soon break and you’ll be relaxing on the pretty pink sand once again, you’ll be golden, honey.
Eat a goddamn donut.
Donuts are super pretty and often have soothing pastel-colored frosting and will remind you of being an innocent child, which will remind you of how calm and lovely life was before shit got so complicated and f*cked up.
Anxiety, anxiety advice, anxiety tips, Depression, drugs, first person, how to get over my anxiety, how to get over your anxiety, personal narrative, Self-Medicating, sex, Xanax, zara barrie, zara barrie writer