3 best iphone apps for managing anxiety (with pictures!)

Most of us are guilty of feeling a constant need to check emails, scroll through Facebook and throw out a couple likes on Instagram. Having our entire lives at our fingertips is almost too convenient. I admit, I also fall prey to this. I find myself re-loading my Mail app every 10 minutes thinking that some important news from work or school will come in. Although this makes our lives that much easier, I think it also adds a certain amount of pressure as well. Especially with the social media craze, it’s overwhelming at times. Something to note, however, is that people typically only post the best version of themselves online – would you post that one picture that your eyes are closed or share news that you didn’t get accepted into the program of your dreams? Probably not.

Living with anxiety can make this all more troublesome. It can become too much really quickly. Luckily, our phones can actually be the end of these problems too! These apps are a great way to not only manage your anxiety, but manage your life so that your anxiety doesn’t flare up. Stress-free me sometimes means less-anxious me, and I’m totally ok with that. I focus on three aspects of mental health: Mindfulness, Sleep and Writing.

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my relationship with anxiety medication

TW: mental illness, anxiety, depression, irrational behavior

it’s been just over a year since i first started my medication for anxiety and depression. when i first started on it, i was so happy. getting that prescription helped me cope with  and come to terms with the fact that everything was not okay. the bottle was something tangible for me, something i could hold in the palm of my hand as if to reassure me. it truly made me feel less alone. it gave me an external source of strength when i didn’t have any left within me. but then one day something inside me changed and looking at my medication instead filled me with resentment and shame.

white and yellow

i stare down at the tiny pill in the palm of my hand; some kind of magic mix of chemicals encased in a yellow and white shell. Zoloft. annoyed that my brain doesn’t regulate these neurochemicals by itself.

taking my meds became routine – wake up, have breakfast, medication. it became so automatic that sometimes i would forget if i even took it or not. “did you see me take my medication this morning.” at this point, i didn’t even think twice about taking the medication. i still had bi-weekly check-ins with my doctor to talk about symptoms, i was actively looking into therapy options, i was still on that weird high from finally telling my family about my struggles. i kept myself accountable.

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anxiety from friends & subtle stigma

I am lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing friends who make me feel loved and supported…most of the time. having anxiety isn’t easy for me, full stop. although, having always been the ‘supporter’ in a friend group, I am able to step back and recognize that it isn’t always easy for my friends, either.

being in university, you are supposedly living the best years of your life. this means that you often want to take a break from studying, go to parties, hang out with people you have never met and ALWAYS put yourself out there. for me, on the other hand, this idea leaves me riddled with anxiety.

a night out on the town

I’m not good in social situations where I don’t know exactly who is going, what everyone in my group is wearing, how long we are staying, if we are moving locations at any point and if so, when etc etc. you get the point right? especially when you mix dark spaces, loud music and alcohol into the picture, this leaves my head spinning with uncertainty and anxiety.

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explaining my anxiety to my family

Picture this: A traditional European family who often look to tea, sleep and praying to God Almighty as remedies for everything and anything and refer to mental illness as ‘being messed up’
Picture me: Terrified (and anxious, of course), writing this in her diary (yes, this is a real excerpt from 2 years ago):

March 15, 2015

I’m so conflicted and scared and anxious and worried and nervous and undecided and hyperventilating and having panic attacks and so fucking depressed. Someone please end this feeling cause it fucking sucks so much sometimes I think about just doing it but then I think no, I won’t do that, I can’t do that.

I can’t do it

Yeah. I basically used every synonym for “nervous” that you could find in the dictionary. Looking back, it makes me so sad that I ever felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

Back to my family. What I’m trying to say here is that telling them that I couldn’t go certain places because I would have panic attacks, or that I couldn’t concentrate for more than 20 minutes because of racing thoughts, was going to be really freaken’ hard.

But, I did. 

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spoken word: the secret

This is a poem I wrote about 2 years ago. It discusses my perspective of telling someone a secret of my past, one that hurt me and that I had kept to myself up until that moment. Love can make you do crazy things.

The Secret

By: Carol

The ocean is in my ears tonight.
The slow, steady roll of the midnight tide keeps me awake,
my eyes pinned open,
like an Orchid budding in the middle of May.
The bitterness of the water is a tall, iced lemonade.
The taste,
a constant reminder of my mistake.

I told him the secret.

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how to deal with summertime sadness

No, I’m not referring to the Lana Del Rey song. I’m talking about that crippling, deep sadness you feel in your chest when the sun is shining, birds are singing and you feel guilty about feeling sad. Yeah, that.

For the past few summers, I have consistently felt a pang of overwhelming sadness as soon as May hits. I don’t know if I’m just averse to the sunlight, or if moving back home has that effect on me, but it hits me like a brick wall. I think for me, one of my biggest worries was that people would see my self harm scars on my legs. Bathing suits are a thing, right? Honestly at this point, I don’t really care whether or not people see the thin, white scars covering my upper thighs. It was a part of my life, although not one that I like to remember, but a part of it nonetheless.

Also another great thing about the summer is wearing bare minimum clothing. As someone who is not a huge fan of their body, I often find myself wearing jeans when its 100 degrees outside just because I think people will look at my legs weirdly. Or maybe I will draw too much attention if I wear a patterned dress. Do I just stick to black and white, simple clothing so that I blend in as much as possible? My lil’ anxious brain works in mysterious ways.

Luckily, I have amazing people surrounding me. My friends and family are the best support system I could ever ask for and I would not trade them for anything. This, combined with self-growth and self-acceptance, I have developed some healthy coping mechanisms that aren’t self destructive. I want to share them with you:

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an introduction to me

If I’m being honest, I have no idea what I’m doing right now.

I never thought I would be that girl sitting at her work desk, blogging and blogging about her anxiety nonetheless. Anyways, we digress..

ME. My name is Carol, I’m a university student in Canada and, as I’m sure you have already guessed, I have anxiety! I also love to read books, spend time outside, talk to people about anything and everything and watch videos of puppies. I also quite enjoy dry humour and re-tweeting funny political tweets.  Again, I love dogs. A lot.

LIFE. I’m an only child so I quite like my alone time, but my friends are the wind beneath my wings. I’m also not used to talking about myself so this whole endeavour is quite daunting to me, as you can imagine. I’m really only doing this for one person though. Me. I’m the kind of person who always preaches about mental health, being open and honest with one another, supporting one another through vulnerability etc etc. I feel like this is me ‘practicing what I preach’ even if I don’t share this with anyone I know personally. Maybe it will help someone out there.

JOB. I’m currently working a 9-5 internship at a very cool place. For privacy reasons, I’m not going to tell you what place but just know…it’s cool. Ha! What a tease I am! Clearly, not fun enough because I’m sitting here starting a blog instead of doing work. Very productive, I am.

MUSIC. One of my favourite things to do (at work, but also everywhere else) is listening to music. I love Spotify because it’s such a great way to learn of new music that you would have never found otherwise! They also make cool playlists like “Chill Coffeehouse” or “Stress Free”. Although I still feel stressed when listening (lol sorry Spotify) just closing my eyes and hearing my favourite tunes and lyrics makes me so incredibly happy. I’m sure a lot of you feel this way too.

ANXIETY. I’m sure this is the reason a lot of you have come here, or how most of you even found my blog. Continue reading “an introduction to me”