Dealing With An Overwhelming Amount of Stress

Good morning internet, I hope you’re having a productive day and getting everything you want to get done finished.

Today I kind of just want to ramble on about something to you guys if you don’t mind. You can either skip over this post or you can pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee and pull up a chair. If you do stay, I hope some of the tips I include in this post can help you. They’re not necessarily doctor approved but I’ve found solace in them over the years. They may not always work 100% but, for me at least, they do a pretty good job at helping me deal with things.

Story Time….sorta

I should probably start with a little backstory. This may be a little too much information or hard to handle for some of you so you can just skip over this part and head down to the tips for dealing with stress that will immediately follow this.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with resulting severe anxiety and depression when i was eighteen years old. I had just gotten out of a horrible situation a few months prior to that and had spent the entire time up until then unmedicated. I had awful mood swings and panic attacks 90% percent of the time and I was an absolute wreck through all of my teen years. Flash forward to my first semester of college and add in being far away from everyone I knew, new school work, new expectations, and living with not one but two strangers. Things steadily got worse until I went and set up an appointment with one of the psychiatrists on campus.  After a while of being reluctant I started taking medication. We didn’t find the perfect one right off the bat. In fact the first one made things worse instead of better after I hit a certain dosage and I wasn’t on anything for the anxiety separately. The second medication we tried made me really tired and I couldn’t take the recommended dosage because I would be foggy and exhausted in the mornings after taking it.

In September of my sophomore year, I lost control. Everything felt like it was falling apart and I started having really, really dark thoughts. My mood swings and my anxiety were out of control and I ended up in the hospital where they gave me a prescription for anxiety in order to calm me down when I went home until I was able to get my prescription refilled. Those pills helped a great deal and my doctor added them to my regular medication, along with something new. In addition to the two new prescriptions, we agreed that it wasn’t safe for me to be on my own all of the time, but it’s not like I could get a babysitter or constant human companion. So that November, he agreed that I would benefit from a psychiatric service dog and soon after that I got Syl, a rescue who I had been working with since the previous summer who had been showing enormous potential.

Things were pretty great for a while. I mean there were ups and downs of course, but never really anything like that day back in September of 2013. At least. Until the other night. I had run out of my main medication a few days prior and was starting to feel everything that the medicine kept at minimal levels. Combine that with a lot of stress due to finals and anxieties over going home for the summer among other things, it quickly became too much for me to handle. Thankfully I have two amazing people who put up with me no matter what and as of today I am feeling much better. Maybe not 100% but I’m getting there. The important thing is that I am safe, I am not alone, and I am loved even when it doesn’t feel like it.

I know someone out there reading this is probably feeling really alone and unloved right now, and I want you know that I may not know you or your story, but I love you and I will always be by your side. My inbox is always open, just send an email to briannaktodd13@gmail.com

The point of this post

is to talk about stress and how to manage it in safe ways that don’t involve hurting yourself or taking it out on others. Sure there are probably a hundred and one articles on this, but consider these tried methods from someone who deals with panic attacks and anxiety on a regular basis.

Stress can be a good thing or it can be a bad thing. Good stress can give you that needed push to get something done  But bad stress can be overwhelming, drive you crazy, and lead to depression after a prolonged period of time. It can even make you throw up or cry.

Managing stress is hard and I am not good at it. My usual method is to pretend it’s not happening until it just goes away. It’s safe to say that approach DOESN’T work at all and I don’t recommend it.

But here are a few things you can do when you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress

-> Take a break

This may seem like a no brainer. But when you’re getting overwhelmed I need you to take a deep breath and step away from whatever it is that is stressing you out. Go for a walk, do a couple yoga poses, or flop down on your bed and lay there for a few minutes thinking and doing nothing. When you stress out about something it can feel like you’re literally obsessing over it and you need to focus on something else for a few minutes before coming back to it with fresh eyes. You may end up thinking of a solution you haven’t thought of before. I also recommend taking a coloring break while in a blanket fort.

-> Music

I am a strong believer in the idea that music can help with almost anything. Whenever I’m working on a project, doing homework, or cleaning (all things that I can get worked up over) I listen to music. In fact I’m listening to this playlist as I write this post and it’s helping me stay focused but also keeps me from getting too worked up over it. You can also listen to music while you’re taking your break. Either chill with some calm music or have an emergency dance party when things get too serious.

-> Talk it out

While the idea of burdening someone with your problems can stress you out even more, it can also be very therapeutic. .Either grab your most trusted friend and go get coffee or do it over text. The point is, get it off your chest and out in the air. Even if it sounds dumb. If it matters to you, it matters. End of story. Whoever your talking to may not be able to offer you advice or help, but they’re at least willing to listen and be there for you and that’s what matters.

-> Write it down

If you’re really not comfortable talking to someone or you need something to do while you’re waiting for your friend to get back to you, pick up a pen or your computer or phone and just start writing. Sometimes your best ideas can come from moments when you’re stressed out about other things. Again, the point is to get whatever it is off your chest. If you still feel bad after you finish and you’re scared someone will read it you can always burn it.

-> Cry

My final tip is one that I really hate doing. Not because it’s a bad idea, I just try to avoid crying at all costs. However, I can’t deny that it helps once you get past all the snot, smeared mascara, and headaches that result from it. Sometimes, there is literally nothing you can do about it and all you can do is collapse on the floor and cry about it. And that is okay. You’re not weak. You’re not a baby. You’re human. We have tear ducts for reasons other than to keep our eyes clear of dust. So don’t be like me and make this a last resort. If it’s really that stressful, let down your guard and let it all out. All of the pain and misery, just let it go. You can do it by yourself or you can have someone hold you while you cry, it’s up to you. Both have their benefits and downsides and sometimes you may feel like one but another day you’ll feel like the other. Just promise me that once you’re done crying you’ll pick yourself up and start fresh, okay?

I hope these tips helped a little bit. They’re not always 100% effective but they can at least help a little bit. I also hope whatever is stressing out gets resolved quickly so you can enjoy other things.

Have a wonderful day!

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