I know the struggle well: You got shite sleep the night before, so in an attempt to survive the day and not face-keyboard (like face-palm), you down all types of sugar and caffeine to make it through your day. The problem with that is it makes your anxiety worse, and then the next night you’re sleeping terribly again, the cycle continues, and you find another reason to hate yourself. Then maybe you add sleeping meds or medicines or even benzos (which help short term, but as I mentioned in other posts, can cause all sorts of issues when you come off of them. Some people have the self-control to pop a xanax maybe once every few months in extreme situations; I tend to take them often until I run out, so it’s better for me to abstain – you know yourself better than anyone).
So, please try to avoid caffeine as much as humanly possible. We know about it in coffees and teas and sodas, but watch for it in tricky places like chocolate and supplements (and certain herbs and medications which can be stimulating as well – always do your research).
Also, please try to avoid sugar/gluten (horrible, I know). Especially for us anxiety sufferers, sugar/gluten really spikes our blood sugar levels, which can feel fantastic. But then there is that drop, and then we crave more and more. Sugar does a lot of bad stuff to the body – tons of info on that on the internets. Once I stopped ingesting so much sugar, I became a lot calmer (and not as psychotic when I was hungry).
If you’re doing coke or meth or any kind of new-fangled drug the kids have thought up that I am now not aware of because I am old, obviously those can make anxiety worse too. I would highly advise getting off of them.
Another thing that really helped my anxiety was quitting smoking. Everyone (including smokers) knows how bad cigarettes are for you. Strangely enough, when smokers think about how bad smoking is, they tend to smoke more. Smoking made my heart race and I could tell how bad my circulation was, but I felt like it was ‘all I had left’ once I stopped all of the other addictive stuff. Quitting was fairly easy though, and the anxiety lessened, not just because the body stuff got better, but because I had less to worry about once I became a non-smoker (not worried about non-smokers judging me, etc.). Anyway, this applies to all forms of nicotine, not just cigarettes.
Quitting drinking alcohol helped me as well. After I drank, the next day I was full of anxiety and depression even if I didn’t drink much, because alcohol is a depressant and just depletes your brain of all those feel-good chemicals, which are already probably in short supply if you have any sort of ‘mental’ issues.
Like I said, you know your body more than anyone else. I noticed that if I went out to eat somewhere not so healthy, right afterwards my heart would be beating out of my chest for hours. I figured out it’s probably because of all of the excess (cheap) sodium.
So, that’s what’s helped me. What changes have helped you in terms of things you started/stopped ingesting?
UPDATE: Here’s a great article on things you can ingest that will help with anxiety/stress.