Either as a part of my schizophrenia or in addition to it, I have an anxiety disorder. I am someone who does not like to be excited or looking forward to anything. I can not tell the difference between excitement and anxiety. If something good happens and it will take a few days to manifest, I usually have a panic attack. Today was one of those days. I have an appointment next week that is excellent for me, but the news of that revved up my anxiety.
I try not to take extra medication when I am struggling with anxiety. I try to “power” through it. Today was no different; I did not want to take a pill to calm myself down. I tried exercising because sometimes that works. I tried calling my husband because that can work as well. Then I tried writing a blog, and before I knew it, I was absorbed in trying to figure out which word to type after the last one, and my anxiety was gone.
I wrote a whole blog. I like it, but it is about faith, and I don’t make it a habit of writing about anything religious or political on this blog, so I’m not going to post it. I am going to take a victory lap for finding a new way to deal with anxiety, and that is writing.
I have always known that writing is powerful and I have known for a long time that people use writing as therapy. I know many people who write to overcome trauma of one kind or another. It never occurred to me that the act of writing could change my thoughts though and get me from a bad spot to a good spot in less time than it takes medication to work.
I’ve never tried mindfulness, but I can only guess that writing works in much the same way as that – a person has to focus their thoughts on something other than the anxiety they are feeling. In mindfulness, it is the here and now and with writing, it is a whole complex set of thoughts that can take a person outside of self-focus. When I am writing, I ask myself, what am I trying to say? How am I trying to say it? How does this word follow that word, and so on. The act of writing seems to take up enough thought power to squeeze the anxious thoughts away.
I don’t know if it will work every time I have a panic attack, but I am hoping it does because I don’t like to depend on medication for every symptom I have. I like to try and deal with some symptoms by using techniques that complement my medication routine and not add to the number of pills I take.