Artwork by James Lee (http://leeshit.tumblr.com/)
Usually depression and anxiety are linked together pretty well because depression causes anxiety and anxiety causes depression. But, that’s not always the case. You can be depressed without feeling anxious and your anxiety can be situational. As I’ve said in the previous article, anxiety is the inability to cope. So, I’ll explain to you what I’ve done in the past to cope.
Personally, my anxiety has stemmed from a circle of negative thoughts (keep in mind that I say positive and negative in the sense of what causes harm). Every emotion has an opposite and that opposite can be found in the similarities in bodily responses. This is why you’re able to go from laughing to crying in an instant. Happiness to anger and so on (I’ll explain this further in future articles). If you look at what your body is doing when you’re anxious, it’s actually very close to what it does when you’re excited. A sudden surge of energy, a shakiness almost like nervousness. Whenever I would feel anxiety, I would then think about something that would make me excited. You do this a number of times and your brain makes that link so that it’s no longer anxiety that you feel. Sometimes, finding that thing that makes you excited is hard to do, so, it may just be beneficial to you (in more ways than one) to make future plans that do excite you.
It also helps to deliberately put yourself in a situation that you do get excited about and then think about what’s causing the anxiety. This is not so that your brain makes a link, but more for understanding what the anxiety really is. Understanding the truth of your situation allows you to let go of whatever it is that’s causing you harm.
Anxiety can also stem from past trauma where an event plays over and over again causing fear of that situation to become overwhelming and in turn creating a bodily response. There is a documentary on an alternative method for dealing with this sort of anxiety, but despite my best efforts, could not find it on the web (If you know which one, please let me know in the comments). Essentially, it was about how you can stop the repetition of the traumatic event playing in your mind, by simply, writing it down every time it comes to you and also allowing yourself to see it. It’s like your brain skips over the event like a broken record. But, this analogy fails because a brain can fix itself. I suppose the idea is that your brain comes to acceptance after you confront it through your own intended repetition. However, I don’t know how valid a method this is because I haven’t used it personally, but I thought it was worth a mention since it coincides with much of my other mental tools such as dealing with physical pain. This type of anxiety is often associated with post traumatic stress disorder (P.T.S.D.)
My motivation for learning how to do this has always been that I see cycles as enduring things. They can last a lifetime and so I’ve always put the fixing of deadly cycles as the most important thing. In truth, the deadly cycles are really just you, doing bad things to you. It’s simple and yet the hardest thing to change.