I’ve had anxiety my entire life but was officially diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder about a year and a half ago. I really didn’t want to use medication. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with meds, and I completely support anyone who needs or used them. I just haven’t ever had to take medication in my life before and wanted to see how much I could do on my own without it. For me, there are several helpful things.
1-I have an emotional support animal, which is a cat, and ever since getting her I have noticed WORLDS of difference.
2-Exercise! It was really hard to get into at first, but my husband has been my gym buddy and super supportive. I’ve noticed on days that I exercise I feel more confident and less anxious, my energy is higher. Yoga is great too!!
3-Eating healthy has been a big deal. When I eat crummy food, my body and mind feel crummy. So I eat a ton of veggies, fruits, and whole foods. We don’t buy processed or prepackaged meals. This also means only one cup of coffee a day because otherwise it spikes my anxiety. I switch to tea after my one cup.
4-Journaling is helpful. I haven’t done this recently, but I noticed that when I did it seemed to help calm levels of anxiety because I could self reflect.
5-Finding a hobby you enjoy, for me it’s playing the piano. If I’m anxious in the moment and I’m home, I’ll play. It’s a great distraction and when I’m tired of playing I find my anxiety has often passed.
6-Faith, which I realize isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay. I personally find my strength and confidence mostly in my faith and relationship with God. Prayer has always helped me when moments of anxiousness creep up.
7- Therapy is great. It helped me feel proactive and I felt validated when having my anxieties, but I was also able to see that there wasn’t anything to be worrying about.
8- Pacifica, which is an Anxiety app that I use. It is on IOS and possibly android. I use this for in the moment if I’m at work and I feel a panic attack slowly starting to bubble. It really helps take the edge off for the moment.
Ever since incorporating these things, I’ve seen dramatic improvement. I’m still anxious on a daily basis but I feel like I can live and not just survive anymore. I do think it’s important to acknowledge your triggers.
For example, movie theaters are extremely difficult for me to go to. I instantly begin down my spiral of anxiety and a full blown panic attack always seems to be likely. Before I told my husband that movie theaters were just a trigger for anxiety, I was snappy with him whenever going and obviously didn’t act like myself. He was confused and thought that it was something other than my anxiety. Once explaining it to him, he’s been SO supportive and understanding. We go to matinees and he doesn’t mind if I need to leave the theater for a moment to regain myself. Having a supportive husband who knows and understands me is one of the most important things in my opinion.
I think therapy would be a good idea or journaling for self reflection on what it is that his family triggers in you. Whether it’s something irrational that can’t be fixed or something logical that can be, you should talk to your partner about it. The support or conversations that you can have with him might provide benefit to you in your situation. Unfortunately I’ve noticed that when I don’t try to recognize and confront what it is that’s bothering me, the more it gets to me. If I can point it out, have someone else in my corner with me, when that anxious time comes we are both prepared and both compassionate towards that moment.