So as my journey with anxiety continues I often stumble across articles that leave me somewhat baffled. You see Anxiety is now big business. Cynical? Yes, but with good reason. It’s not just the drugs or treatment facilities all of which have value it’s the media surrounding anxiety. Anxiety is often used as a cudgel to support other narratives. “Gas prices rise again, fueling anxiety fears” (that’s an actual headline from a main stream media outlet).
Sure I write about anxiety to, so I do understand that I am engaging in a bit of hypocrisy here but there are degrees. People like me who are not engaging in anxiety as a commercial enterprise (I make no money from this blog) are doing so because they are affected by the issue. Many in the media engage in the anxiety space to drive view, create more anxiety and ultimately obtain more clicks.
“That’s very cynical Karac, can you back that up?”
Maybe. I found an article here that discusses 4 types of “self-care” you can engage in when you are “feeling anxious”. To summarize they are:
- Say to yourself “There is no emergency right now”
- “Perspective talking”, as explained “What would someone who is just as smart or conscientious as you, but who thinks differently than you, think about the topic of your anxiety?”
- “Engage with one of your core values, unrelated to the topic of your anxiety”
- “Take a break from trying to avoid or escape feeling anxious”
Now the article elaborates on each point but the short version is, think differently. I mean, really? This is clearly someone who doesn’t understand what anxiety is. The entire fight for those of us who have it is preventative. We want to stop anxiety attacks and giving us more reactive advice that basically boils down to “think about something else” is ridiculous. Like we hadn’t tried that before…
I realize I am entering into the ranting phase here but if you have had an anxiety attack at any point in your life, even mild anxiety attacks you know that you Can’t simply change what you are thinking about. I mean you could in theory… Next time you are anxious about getting on an elevator because you have a phobia, try head butting a wall 5 times, you’ll forget about the elevator soon enough.
These articles aren’t helpful anymore no matter how well intentioned. What do I do PRIOR to an anxiety attack so I don’t ever have to be there? Give me tools to combat anxiety before and after an attack occurs. I get it, I need to think of something else when I am in the throes of an anxiety attack. I’ve seen the article a THOUSAND TIMES. What can you do to combat anxiety BEFORE an attack?
Here are 3 things, I covered these before on this blog:
- Get more sleep
- Create structure “At 11:30 AM I will begin to prepare my lunch”
- See a Dr, get medicine and stick to it if prescribed
- Exercise more
These are things that PREVENT anxiety attacks. Look it, many of us in this space are writing pieces that are redundant, we’ve said a lot of these things before I get it. If you can “change what you’re thinking about” then you’ve already defeated anxiety, essentially. These articles aren’t without value, there are often some pearls of wisdom within but the overall message of “change how you think” is bordering on absurd at this point.
Thanks for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.