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Got Anxiety? Here's What I Know About You | The Huffington Post

Got Anxiety? Here's What I Know About You | The Huffington Post EDITION US عربي (Arabi) Australia Brasil Canada Deutschland España France Ελλάδα (Greece) India Italia 日本 (Japan) 한국 (Korea) Maghreb México Québec (En Francais) South Africa United Kingdom United States NEWS WorldPost Highline Science Education Weird News Business TestKitchen Tech College Media POLITICS Pollster Election Results Eat the Press HuffPost Hill Candidate Confessional So That Happened ENTERTAINMENT Sports Comedy Celebrity Books Entertainment TV Arts + Culture WELLNESS Healthy Living Travel Style Taste Home Weddings Divorce Sleep GPS for the Soul WHAT'S WORKING Impact Green Good News Global Health VOICES Black Voices Latino Voices Women Fifty Religion Queer Voices Parents Teen College VIDEO ALL SECTIONS Arts + Culture Black Voices Books Business Candidate Confessional Celebrity College Comedy Crime Divorce Dolce Vita Eat the Press Education Election Results Entertainment Fifty Good News Green Healthy Living Highline Home Horoscopes HuffPost Data HuffPost Hill Impact Latino Voices Media Outspeak Parents Politics Pollster Queer Voices Religion Science Small Business So That Happened Sports Style Taste Tech Teen TestKitchen Travel TV Weddings Weird News Women WorldPost FEATURED GPS for the Soul Hawaii OWN Quiet Revolution Talk to Me Don't Stress the Mess Endeavor Fearless Dreamers Generation Now Inspiration Generation Paving the Way The Power Of Humanity Sleep + Wellness What's Working: Purpose + Profit What's Working: Small Businesses CONTRIBUTOR Got Anxiety? Here's What I Know About You 05/12/2016 02:45 pm ET | Updated Nov 19, 2016 Kimberly Poovey Writer, speaker, educator, and activist for women and youth.  Stock photo Got anxiety? Panic attacks? Maybe a little OCD sprinkled in for good measure? Yep, me too. These are things I've struggled with for most of my life ( more so than ever after my first child was born last year ), but I didn't quite know what they were until about a decade ago. For the majority of the last several years, my "issues" have remained manageable and mostly under control, but only because I've learned about myself and how to treat this unique and wonderful mind I was given. If you struggle with some combination of these problems like I do, here are some things I know about you: First, you're NOT CRAZY. I repeat, YOU ARE NOT CRAZY. (The best thing I ever heard during the worst of it: "Crazy people don't wonder if they're crazy." PREACH.) You are, however, pretty smart. You're probably creative and quite imaginative. You're empathetic and truly care about other people. You might be a little bit of an introvert and spend a lot of time in your own head. And sometimes you might feel very alone. But I'm here to tell you that you are not alone. The world isn't ending. And it's going to be okay. So here are some brass-tacks strategies that have worked for me over the years to help me conquer these issues in my own life and be a fully-functional wife, mother, employee, and generally happy and productive member of society. (Note: For me personally, these strategies are part of a holistic plan that includes counseling and medication. Everyone is different, and no two cases of mental illness are alike.) 1. Get out of your head! Spending too much time in my cerebral universe can be exhausting, so I find that getting physical brings me enormous relief. Going for a run, dancing, snagging my hubby for some lovin', or just getting outside and moving makes a world of difference. Plus, exercise releases all sorts of happy neuro-chemicals that really lift the mood. 2. Be careful what you put into your head. I have to be extremely cautious about what I watch, read, and see. Your brain has an entrance, but NO EXIT, so it's wise to put a filter on what you allow in there. Plenty of my past panic attacks have been triggered by something I saw on TV or in a movie. Now, I don't even own a TV, and I'm VERY cautious about what kind of media I ingest. I have to consciously choose to invest my time in positive, uplifting media, and not give any time or space to the negative, scary, or disturbing. First, you're NOT CRAZY. I repeat, YOU ARE NOT CRAZY. 3. Focus on the positive but in a tangible way. To a person with mental illness, being told to "just stop worrying about it" can quickly turn you into a flaming monster of rage. While this might not be an option, what you CAN do is redirect your focus onto the things in your life that you love and are thankful for in a way that's a little more concrete. Write out a list of things and people you're thankful for, or draw it in a picture, or put it in a song. Create something beautiful. Or just call someone you love and say, "Hey, I love you!" Vocalizing your thankfulness for other people is always a good idea. 4. Don't give your thoughts and fears too much credit. You're not the King of Everything. Just because you think it doesn't mean it must be so. As a worry-wort, sometimes I (irrationally) f