HOW MY ANXIETY TRIGGERS AFFECTED MY AUTISM
For the past month or so my anxiety has been triggered whilst I have been working on a development project.
At first, I didn’t pay much attention to the signs that were being presented to me.
I brushed them off and thought nothing of it.
But as I was encouraged to dig a little deeper and extract and examine particular sections from my past that it became apparent that I needed to step back and re-evaluate and eventually halt digging that deep into that particular section of my past.
But it wasn’t as easy as that, when I’d get into bed at night my thoughts instead of switching themselves off cranked up the volume and were louder and more vocal.
Situations that I thought I’d blocked out, began to replay inside my head and I couldn’t get away from it. My mood altered, I became more withdrawn,
and I welcomed the recluse lifestyle.
I also got sick, tension headaches began to present themselves and they were severe.
I knew what triggered this it was just a case of how to prevent it from overtaking my life and not dragging me down into a deep dark depressive state.
What I failed to do was to once I had identified my trigger was to remind myself of the strategies that I had in place in order to deal with it.
I feel that I let myself down by not directly tackling it head on
so I stepped back and moved onto another section that I was working on and when/if I feel strong enough I may well revisit it at a later date.
Strategies For Managing Your Anxiety
Once you have understood and acknowledged that you have anxiety, the next step is to begin to identify what triggers, and situations are the root cause of your anxiety.
This is where keeping a diary or a journal can be an extremely useful tool.
By keeping a diary or a journal and writing down exactly how you felt during a certain situation this should enable you to see the following;
What was the trigger?
What was the situation?
The time and the date?
Did I alert someone that I was feeling anxious?
What steps did they take?
What steps did I take?
What did I do to resolve the situation?
What can I do to prevent myself from becoming anxious the next time I am out in a social situation?
How anxious did I feel on a scale from 1-10?
Was I with my carer or was I with a group of friends?
Have I informed them that I have anxiety, did they know what steps to take?
You can modify the above to best suit your current situation. The biggest benefit of keeping a diary is that you can use this as a reference tool, and this will assist in you managing your anxiety better.
Another step to take and one that I find particularly useful to have in place is an anxiety plan.
What’s an anxiety plan you may well ask?
Well an anxiety plan is a list of things and situations that cause anxiety but includes solutions and strategies that you can use to help them manage your anxiety levels. This plan can be adapted, depending upon how well someone understands anxiety.
Here’s an example:
Situation – Going on the bus
Anxiety symptoms – Heart beats fast; sweat and feel sick
Solution – Have stress ball in pocket, squeeze the ball and take deep breaths, or listen to music.
Relaxation is another technique that can be used to eliminate unwanted stress as Autistic people can find it hard to relax.
By installing relaxation into your daily routine, it can aid you in managing your anxiety and release tension.
Some examples of how to relax could be using deep breathing exercises, doing yoga, going for a walk, taking a bath, listening to relaxing music, aromatherapy, playing on a computer may also help reduce anxiety.
You could use a visual timetable, to help remind that person that say at a certain time during the day that they take a break from whatever activity they are doing and select one of their calming activities.
Place it somewhere where they can see it and have them decorate and personalise it.
The biggest step in all this is the scariest and most confronting.
Actually, talking about it!!!!!!
Yep you really do have to achieve this step!!!
Other options you could try are reaching out to other Autism support groups for advice, seeking professional help from a psychologist or physiatrist is another resource to look into.
You can search for a psychologist here https://www.psychology.org.au/Find-a-Psychologist
Or you can see a physiatrist here https://www.yourhealthinmind.org/find-a-psychiatrist
Carry on the Conversation
How do you personally combat your anxiety?
Do you recognise the triggers and how do you manage to prevent them from affecting you?
Can you pass on any hints and tips?
Let me know in the comments below.
Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.