In her last post, Samantha Kershaw wrote about her experiences with anxiety, and how it flared up after her recent marriage.  Below, Samantha explores how she is coping.

With the whirlwind of what I was feeling after the honeymoon, I decided I wanted to go back to an intensive outpatient therapy again to try to get myself back to a good place. Having depression on top of the severe anxiety it made it much harder to want to try to change things. I decided to go talk to my other doctor about medicine options. I have not been able to be on most medicines because I had bad reactions to them.  Luckily, there was one I was on previously that I was able to get back on.

Between working with a therapist and having the medicine, I still knew there were more techniques I needed to find to help me when I was feeling anxious or down. I started to really brainstorm things that I thought might be helpful. With Christmas around the corner, I decided to ask for anything that could relieve the stress. I knew I loved to dance so asked for some dance classes and even asked for some boxing classes to help get the stress out.

Obviously, at work, I can’t just break out dancing or boxing, so I had to figure out what could work there. I asked for some stress balls and I also started listening to uplifting podcasts to help distract my mind if it started running. I decided I was going to be more open with my bosses to what was going on and it took me by surprise how understanding they were. They even let me take some days off, so I could do extra counseling. They were also very understanding when I told them I need time to get up and walk around more just to not stare at my screen for a full 8 hours. I have found talking to be a good way to help me ease my anxiety too, so I would take a walk and call my family or friends and just talk. My support team of family and friends has always been something so helpful to me and even though we’re not all in the same area anymore, they are still so supportive in any way they can be.

At home, my calming techniques are the same as at work, but I also curl up with my dog and watch a show I really love to just take my mind off any running thoughts I may have. I’ll even put on some music and just dance and sing in the house to make myself smile. The one overall thing I have always found helpful was to just laugh. I take my anxiety/OCD/depression seriously, but sometimes I will make some jokes to lighten the mood on it or just joke in general with my family and friends. I have always said that is what made me be able to fight all these years, despite all the hard times – I always made sure to laugh and smile. Lastly, I decided to start blogging and finding ways to help people that are going through mental illnesses too. I love helping people and it’s time to speak up more and remove the stigma from mental illnesses.