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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Mental Health | My Anxiety Tells

"I try not to worry about the future - so I take each day just one anxiety attack at a time."
Tom Wilson

Self-soothing is something we all do, whether we realise it or not. All of us, young and old, have ways in which we make ourselves feel better when we're in certain situations. Some of them are methods we've picked up in a self help book or a magazine. Things like counting to ten or taking deep breaths. They are things we knowingly put into action when we need to but others we do without realising. Little things we do subconsciously. Often we, nor others, realise or perhaps understand it for what it is. However, some are more noticeable and we may be called out on it as people may not realise it might be the only thing stopping you from going over the cliff of anxiety!

You may be wondering why I named this post 'My Anxiety Tells' rather than something about self-soothing. The reason for this is that I didn't want to give the impression this is an advice post. I'm not going to tell you methods to give a go as mine aren't the common forms as mentioned above. They are things I started to do subconsciously that I either started to notice over time or were pointed out by the person who knows me best, my sister Eva. It might come across like being fidgety or a tic at times.

1. Toying with my bracelets. I wear many bracelets. Some I've bought, some I've made and others I've been gifted. I've always loved bracelets but over time I realised that they were more important than I'd originally thought. I realised I depend on them when in uncomfortable situations, such as meeting new people, to take my mind of things.

Just some of my bracelets.

It seems like such a minor thing, maybe even silly. However, I really feel naked without them. I feel like part of my defence is missing. Which leads on to number two.

2. Knocking and rubbing on my chest. This one is probably the most that looks like a compulsive tic and personally I feel is the weirdest out of them. Both to do and to witness. I basically knock on my breast bone with my knuckles twice and then rub the spot with my knuckles about three times. Up, down, up. I've never had anyone point it out other than Eva but I do get a little self-conscious about it at times when I do it in public.

3. Holding or tugging on my necklaces. Much like my bracelets, I have many necklaces.

Three of my necklaces. 

I find myself toying with and sometimes even pulling a little on them at times. Especially when I'm driving my electric wheelchair so my right hand (my dominant hand) is busy. Unlike the bracelets, my necklaces haven't been very hardy and I've broken a couple of chains! So this one I try to divert if I can. 

4. Scratching or nipping my wrist or throat. On occasions I forget to wear my bracelets or necklaces for whatever reason, I end up scratching or nipping lightly at my wrist or neck. Not enough to cause pain and most people wouldn't notice. Again, like toying with my bracelets, it's a way to distract myself from what's going on around me.

5. Playing with a lock of hair. Most people find having their hair toyed with relaxing. I have long hair and I wear it down most of the time, giving me easy access to play with it. Twirling it around my fingers, plaiting it or running my fingers through it. This is probably more of a universal one. Probably the most out of all my self-soothing methods or, as I'm calling them in this blog, my anxiety tells. It's even better when someone else does it! I mean, someone you like. Not a random creeper. That wouldn't be good for my anxiety at all!

And there you have it. If you're ever in my company and you see me doing any of these things please excuse me for being a little nervous! What about you? Do you have any anxiety tells or methods of self-soothing? Perhaps they're things you've never thought of like that before. Let me know in the comments.

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