Anxiety / Depression; What Are My Triggers? What Helps?

Welcome back to what I consider to be my first official post in 6 months!

I'm stoked to be back.

For those of you that are new, welcome.

If you've read my blog in the past, you most likely know that I deal with both anxiety and depression.

I want to start this entry off by saying I will be talking about both anxiety and depression as well as some things that have worked for me in regards to keeping the two "under control". I am by no means a doctor or expert and am not giving any sort of medial advice - I am simply providing my experience and the things that work for me in hopes of helping someone else with their struggles.

It's actually been a really good 6 months.

If you read my last post you know that I was taking some time to, well...get my shit together.

Since my first panic attack back in October, I've made it a point to be more in tune with what worsens my anxiety / depression. What triggers it? What can I do to help keep it at a minimum?

2016 / 2017

Back two-three years ago, my doctor put me on the lowest dose of a common anti-depressant, Prozac.

I know that everyone tells you, "sometimes you have to try a few to find the one that works for you," but after about 4 months, I had 3 out of the top 5 most common side-effects, and I just wasn't willing to continue feeling the way I did.

Now I 100% understand that some people who take anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds don't really have that choice, and I am not saying anything against those that the meds do help, but for me personally, the insomnia, migraines, and zombie-like daily living was just not worth continuing.

Step 1: get off anti-depressants.

2018 / 2019

In October, as you read above, I experienced my first panic attack.

I considered everything that was apart of my life, as well as researched for days on end, and decided that caffeine was something I needed to remove from my life. At least for now.

That happened on a Friday, and by Sunday I had cut caffeine cold turkey.

Often, you're supposed to ween yourself off, but I just decided that I was going for it right off the bat.

It's been just over 7 months and I do not see myself going back anytime soon, if ever.

I feel like a completely different person without it and I tend to keep it that way.

Step 2: cut out caffeine.

In addition to cutting out caffeine, I've had to decrease my alcohol consumption. It's a depressant.

I was by no means someone that drank all the time, so this wasn't terribly hard for me, but other than on special occasions I now stick to a couple drinks, once or twice on the weekend and try to leave out anything else.

I definitely have to choose when it's "worth it" to have a couple drinks.

There have been about three times in the last year or so where I drank too much at once or too many days in a row and went into complete shut down mode for a few days following.

I just get this feeling of extreme sadness and emptiness if I'm too heavy on the alcohol, it completely ruins the few days coming off of an alcoholically eventful lifestyle.

Step 3: decrease alcohol consumption.

Keeping an active lifestyle is something that makes a big difference in my mentality.

For those of you that don't know, I work in the fitness industry. Managing a studio, instructing classes, and helping with coaching clients online makes up my full-time job.

There were times last summer that I was working out once a week...

In the midst of it, I just had no motivation to do get up and do anything. But I'm also very well aware that it did not do my mental state any favors.

Edorphins, body image, overall was non existent for me.

I don't even need to do anything crazy intense; as long as I move 4-6 days a week, I'm good.

Step 4: stay active.

One thing I did do right during my black hole of a summer was start meditating.

If nothing else, it got me out of my own head for 10-20min/day.

It allowed me to just stop all thoughts and focus on the narrator.

I don't currently fo this every day (even though I should), but I always know that this is something I can go back to when things start to take a turn for the worse or even just when I'm having a rough day.

It helps me relax and also helps get me to sleep on nights where I'm feeling restless or my brain won't stop working.

Step 5: meditate.

Last but not least, I started researching.

Not in a WebMD kind of way that freaked me out or made me think X, Y, and Z are wrong with me... Just in a sense to help me understand what exactly I was dealing with.

What's going on in my body that this happens? Why? Do I have any sort of control over it and if so by doing what?

Just having some general knowledge in regards to anxiety and depression have helped me a ton with being more in tune with myself and my lifestyle.

I know when it's time to put my phone away for a bit, to spend some time with people that make me come down a notch or maybe even to spend some time with myself. I know when I need to go for a little drive (which I truly love) or take two steps back.

I know when it's time to revisit / reevaluate all the other triggers and helpful tools I talked about above.

Step 6: know your ish.

At the end of the day, all we can do is our best.

I truly hope that this is helpful to you or that you can pass it along to someone you know that it may help.

If I missed anything or you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.

I am fairly new to most of it but have learned a ton about myself since dealing with it.

I am passionate about this topic and passionate about finding a way for us to live our lives to the fullest.

With all my love...

XOXO, Sophie

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