Coping With Anxiety
Different Brain intern and mental health self-advocate Laura Hamilton shares some of her tools for dealing with an anxiety disorder.
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Note: the following was automatically generated. Some imperfections may exist.
I have an anxiety disorder and this is how I cope with it. My diagnosis is that I have complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This means that I have had repeated traumas in my life that have caused me great anxiety. This anxiety can be very disabling to me, which makes me feel very limited with what I can do in life. Some of the symptoms are having nightmares, and night terrors, too many thoughts in my head of everything happening all at once. And I can feel very overwhelmed with remembering bad thoughts from the past. I also have a form of obsessive compulsive disorder that is situational and environmental around family members. This means that I do not like being touched by them. And I am afraid of anything that they come in contact in connection with. I value kindness, I like being around calm people who are very patient, good listeners and understanding.
However, I don’t have people like this in my life, I’m used to getting yelled at sometimes by family members, because there can be disagreements, I’m used to being told what to do with my life, and then any decisions made for me by other people. So when this happens, I have to leave their house and go home. And that’s how I deal with it. And if I’m home and our phone call the person who gets really upset, I yell and I’m hanging up on the person, but it’s only one person in my life and I’m unable to get away and stop it from happening because they’re a family member. So this affects my mood. So sometimes, like once, you know, I had to take like, you know, hot shower or bath and just like get out of the situation. And I can be in there like an hour like just to calm down.
So it’s really exhausting for me to visit family because I’m like standing all day in their homes, because I’m afraid to sit down on their furniture. So I have to tell the sit down to not be afraid. And I’m really scared of every single object in homes connected to the members. And the only way I can calm down is by washing my hands if I touch anything that’s associated with them, hand sanitizer helps. But I always make sure that I’m washing my hands and that’s why I was told my whole life that I had OCD.
So some things that I do to calm down are trying yoga exercises, I have a treadmill here I have weights to lift, I like basketball kickball, like singing and swimming, I’m reading and writing. I’m watching movies, I’m interested in music, piano and all the art you know, like painting, pastels, watercolor pencils, I’m in physical therapy for my back so that those exercises actually helped me. And if I do them in the morning, I get more energy. And if I do them at night, it actually helps me like relax and fall asleep. And I really like walking outside.
Alright, so some feelings that I can have. So sometimes I feel that I can have energy sometimes and I need to like lessen my energy. So when that happens, I use Play Doh as like a tool like initially like if you get frustrated, you can just like bang it. So I also have clay and I’m usually working on my hands and like sculpting and doing things with art and it helps me feel less overwhelmed or frustrated. The thing that helps the most this is a diffuser. This is a picture of a diffuser. You know, it has different scents like Jasmine, peppermint, lavender, lemon citrus, it’s really common to breathe in. I just breathe in a few deep breaths and like I can do it, I get calm really, really quick. So um, you know, there’s different scents in the bedroom, you know, the living room, and I like knowing that I have a calm and peaceful environment.
So relaxing while falling asleep. There are guided meditations to help people fall asleep. And I found some on youtube.com And it’s like our it’s artwork in a video or a video of century videos. It has music in the background. And if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, if you have Apple Music, iTunes is a feature where if you click on window to see visualizer or classic visualizer so I took a picture of what the visualizer looks like. It’s like a video of artwork and the classic visualizer just to show everybody how to calm down using music so I wanted to keep happy and positive feelings from working at my job because I like it and have them I get home but I get interested in to make thoughts in my head so I can take out a microphone I can listen to music.
I like musical theater opera. I was going through a really hard time for like a couple of years and I was listening to some music but I just kept listening to like Josh Groban. I identified with the lyrics and and it really helped me get through a hard time. So I’m just going to share a quick short clip of how I express myself during music. It’s really short. [Video of Laura singing is played]
Yeah, so I express myself during music, it really makes me feel I’m like at peace and everything. But I also express myself through art. So I do artwork a lot. And I like to draw oceans, mountains, pasture, mountains, all castles and everything. So I just pick whatever colors I feel and I go with it. I think the one of the picture on the left was kind of like snowflakes represent, like happiness, all these different bright colors. And usually I’m doing paths off to the distance I’m defined. Like my journey in life, like I’m waiting to go somewhere, I don’t know where I’m going. But the castle in the distance is supposed to be where I’m going. And the last thing was, I have great spirituality and like, I’m always like, looking like for the best and things.
So I just put down how like anyone can have a hard time with understanding their emotions and what they’re thinking. But the most important thing in life that has helped me is to always have courage in myself, and to have the resilience to get back up when you get knocked down in life and just keep trying. And sometimes I pray but community connections are important. And I’ve been involved with my church and going to different groups and all of these things combined, have made me in life who I am today, and where I am today. And that’s it.
Laura Hamilton in a self-advocate for neurodiversity from Massachusetts. She was a graduate from University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and Western Music, Magna cum Laude. She was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder as a young child. She is a Certified Peer Specialist, a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner, and a Certified Professional Life Coach. She is passionate about music education, advocating for people with disabilities and special needs.