Anxiety is no joke, and it is not easy to deal with.
As a vet, I can relate, and I don’t mean the kind that takes care of Spot.
The kind that has served and fought for the same freedom we all get to enjoy today.
For those of you who have served, thanks for your service.
But for the record, I am not a doctor, and I am not a counselor.
I am simply an Army Veteran who has had to deal with the nonsense, and I would like to share my experience.
I’ve dealt with doctors and all kinds of professionals, and I don’t even know where it’s taken me.
I don’t know if I’m doing better or if I’m getting worse.
I’m sure you can relate.
Whatever the case may be, I’m still anxious, and it sucks.
However, I have come up with several ways that I deal with anxiety, and I think it has done a lot for me.
If you have the same problem I have, maybe these little tips can help.
I’m sure you also have your little tricks, so please do share them in the comments section below.
1. Embrace Your Anxiety
This is the first step to dealing with this dang problem.
Just like that stupid saying goes, “The first step to getting help is identifying you have a problem”.
I don’t know where that came from or when it’s even applied, but I guess you can say it applies to lots of things.
It does with anxiety, and that is really how I got started in combating anxiety.
Transitioning from deployment was no easy task, and anxiety was one of my biggest problems.
For years I would never see a doctor, and I was in complete denial.
Everyone around me knew there was a problem, but I guess the infantryman in me wouldn’t let them win.
I never saw any counselors and I didn’t think I needed any help.
That’s how my brain worked until I realized that my kids were the ones who had to deal with my issues.
Trips to the mall were short, and eating out turned into arguments between me and my other half.
My back could never be faced at the entrance of a restaurant, and all the crazy sounds of people at the mall gave me more anxiety.
The start of me breaking away from those kinds of environments started with me identifying I had a problem.
That alone has helped big time and was the start of my journey to better coping with anxiety.
2. Understand the Sources
After identifying that I had these problems, I could then figure out where they were coming from.
Being a veteran, the sources of anxiety are pretty obvious.
Obviously but not really, if you don’t identify that you have a problem.
Once you come forward and accept that you have a problem, you can start to deal with other things, like where the problem comes from.
For me, I was around big crowds of people, all while trying to watch my back.
That, of course, comes with a lot of unwanted stress and anxiety.
After a year of dealing with such stress, it followed me back home.
This time that anxiety followed my family and me.
Everywhere we went, I would always have my guard up.
Knowing this was a problem.
I also accepted that I had dealt with some craziness overseas.
Instead of jumping the second a spoon fell, I sat back and told myself it was just a damn spoon.
Slowly but surely, I would realize other things.
Instead of facing any exits, I purposely sat with my back facing them.
I started becoming a part of the noise around me, and that’s when I started to feel normal again.
It’s a great feeling, and I’m glad I can share these experiences with you.
3. Know That You Are Not Alone
Veterans are a very special group of people.
We think differently, live, and even eat differently.
What you do need to understand is that thousands of others share the same experiences.
We all have the same anxiety.
We all get depressed following that anxiety.
And we all think that we are different.
We are, but we aren’t.
What we do have is some great experience and a lot of life lessons.
Not many can say the same, so do understand that we are a special breed.
You also need to understand that these issues can be undone, and it just takes some time and getting used to.
These are the core lessons of how I deal with anxiety, but I want to get into some of the nonsense that comes with our lives.
4. Don’t Jump to Meds
I’m sure the level of anxiety is different for everyone, most especially veterans.
With 7% experiencing some PTSD, medication is becoming very popular for veterans.
The care and services provided specifically for veterans are a lot different, and more group focused rather than on a case-by-case basis.
Like it should be.
They treat you like everyone else and prescribe the crap out of meds like it’s cool.
I took one kind of medication and never retook it.
More thinking and evaluating is what I did instead.
I figured that taking any meds wasn’t the route I wanted to take.
At one point in my adult life, I was perfectly normal.
I loved going places, and I had the energy of a 5-year-old.
All I knew was that I wouldn’t let it beat me.
I didn’t resort to medication, which has worked out for the best.
Just know that it will take time and a lot of getting used to.
Not to say that meds won’t work but try not to use them just yet.
5. How I Deal With Poor Sleep
This is the worst part about having anxiety.
You’re tossing and turning, looking at the ceiling, or getting up to try and shake off the anxiety.
Panic attacks suck.
It hits the hardest when you are trying to get quality sleep.
I have yet to find a solution, but I am doing a better job in this department.
At one point, I was drinking a lot to fall asleep faster and longer, but that DOES NOT WORK.
Do not do this but rather the opposite.
If, of course, you find yourself drinking too much.
Watch TV and try to wear yourself out before hitting the hay.
Get on a decent sleep schedule and avoid naps during the day.
Instead, try to get really tired before bed and skip the naps.
I used to try to catch up on sleep during my lunch break, but that only worsened my sleeping at night.
Being single and alone at night is a huge reason I had difficulty sleeping, but there are two ways to deal with this.
One, you can find that soulmate of yours, and two, you can get a roommate.
I know how hard it is but know that you are not alone.
And if this doesn’t work, maybe this next point will help.
There are a million and one benefits of some good old exercise that does not include looking at yourself in the mirror all the time.
Building energy is one of the many, and it helps with anxiety.
You can drain yourself by exercising, leading to a better night’s sleep.
You can also get your blood circulating, allowing your brain to stay focused and ultimately giving you the energy to focus on other things.
Then you can always build your confidence, meet the love of your life, and voila!
You can now sleep like a princess.
Sitting around all day and getting lazy is not the best thing for people with anxiety.
Go for a nice walk and enjoy the beauty.
Your body will thank you, and your anxiety will hate you.
7. Pick Up a Hobby (or two)
Keeping yourself busy is one of the better ways to deal with anxiety.
Get into drones.
Join some buddies and play soccer as I do.
Heck, start a blog and make your living online as I do.
I’ve never played soccer in my life, but I can tell you that I absolutely enjoy everything about it.
I get the exercise, keep my mind busy, and deal with anxiety all in one.
Blogging helps with dealing with other people and allows me to speak my mind.
Just like how I was able to share these tips on how to deal with anxiety.
It may not work for everyone, but I hope it helps you in one way or another.
You can always check out WebMD for more of a doctor’s point of view.
Maybe they can help, but there are many sources out there.
Conclusion – Keep Your Head Up
Life is pretty crazy coming from deployment, but it is even crazier dealing with civilian life.
As a single person without kids, the way I dealt with anxiety was a bit too much for anyone around me.
My anger would take over, and I was probably the most unliked person in the office.
Now that I look back at things, I can see how much of an idiot I was.
Thinking it was my way or the highway was stupid.
Understanding I had a problem was brilliant.
It does and will take some time but try and apply some of the tips here, and you will see a change in your life.
Sometimes it will help with other things, and those other things will help with anxiety.
There is no 100% proven solution to the madness, but with some determination, you can deal with the nonsense.
I hope this post was helpful to you, but please do share any experiences you may have.
How do you deal with anxiety?