Recovery seems like the best time to be working all those kinks out and trying to make peace with yourself. The biggest challenge is dealing with anxiety and fear when your inner and outer worlds are falling apart. It may not happen at the same time. Perhaps you find some inner peace with the journey, then get hit with some bad news from work or in your personal life.
Perhaps it is the other way around. Anxiety and fear can be biological responses, physical manifestations, or just an overall spiritual feeling of being shaken up after everything you’ve been through. Even with medication, therapies, and recovery groups, it can be hard to deal with. For women, it helps to have community, support, and loved ones to help walk them through those tough times. Here are some tips to think about if you or a loved one are dealing with anxiety and fear in your world right now.
Why Anxiety and Fear Kick In
There are so many reasons why anxiety and fear rise up in a person’s body, mind, and spirit. It might be a sign of something biological shifting if it happens out of the blue (for women, hormones can shift all month long, making it worse or better, depending on the time of the month). Another reason it happens is that addiction changes the brain’s chemistry. The body responds differently to stimuli now than it might have without chemicals flowing through the brain and body.
On top of that, many women struggle with past relational difficulties, childhood or adult abuse issues, and/or mental health disorders like PTSD or depression. Fear can drive up anxiety and anxiety can drive up fear. Looping thoughts, challenges in personal relationships, and difficulty in recovery can make it harder to cope. Positive coping mechanisms are the best way to navigate the challenges.
Write it Out
Journaling can be a great way to feel and think about all the challenges you face at this moment. Writing can help your state of mind and get your thoughts in order. It also may be helpful for planning your day. Having a plan calms anxiety, but also alleviates some fear. It may be journaling, poetry, mixed media, or some other form of writing and blogging — but whatever way you choose to go, try it for a bit before giving up on the process.
Meditation and mindfulness are helpful, as well. Yoga and mindfulness combined can really help with anxious thoughts or feelings of fear. Part of mindfulness and yoga is focusing on the breath. Breathwork can bring down adrenaline and center you in space so you don’t feel “lost” in your thoughts. As a daily habit, especially when done both morning and night, women can find healing power and benefits in just a matter of minutes by lowering the heart rate, soothing those fears and anxieties, and bringing themselves back to center again. It may not make the thing causing anxiety go away, but it can certainly help bring you peace for the moment to cope with what’s next.
Therapy, group counseling, and community groups are all helpful in recovery. When life is swirling around with negative experiences, it can be hard to feel grounded. Anxiety, fear, and past trauma can trigger a return to old habits of coping. Don’t go there. Before you spin out, use that contact list to dial-a-friend. Phone someone who can help you deal with the trigger right then and there. This might mean calling a friend, loved one, mentor, or even a hotline if you feel desperate in the moment. Until you can get in front of your therapist and counseling group again, reach out. If you’re in crisis mode, they’ll help you figure out the next step. Keep going to therapy; don’t quit. It might feel like a breakthrough hasn’t come yet, but keep going anyway. Someday soon, things will click and you will begin to feel better.
The best way to combat anxiety and stress that brings on fear is to get moving. It might just be getting out of bed for a cup of coffee or tea. Perhaps it is taking a shower. Maybe it is getting back on a bike to ride around the neighborhood, taking a yoga class online, or just finding some way to move your body. When you feel inhibited to move, it can inhibit your thoughts and feelings, also. The best way to keep growing forward in recovery is to keep rolling by exercising, getting in nature, or trying something new to change how your brain and body feel. Ask for a friend to join you, so you feel less alone.
Even with all the best advice in the world, only you know how it feels to cope with your own anxiety and fear. Your situation is unique. If you are struggling with it and you know what you need, go after it. If you are not sure how to calm your anxiety or your toolbox is empty, call someone to find extra support. There is no shame in reaching out to ask for help. Don’t worry about people saying, “Try this” or, “Have you thought of…” — everyone will have an opinion. Ultimately, you are in control of your recovery, so find a way to reach out and ask for support. It will be the best decision you ever made.
Casa Capri can provide you with the guidance you need to maintain your recovery. If you are struggling, we can help you navigate finding the best help for your circumstances. We are here to support your individual journey back to health. Call us today: 844-593-8020
Melissa Holmes Goodmon is the founder and CEO of Casa Capri Recovery, a leading California addiction treatment center created just for women—by women. Melissa is a licensed clinician and has stayed on the cutting edge of women’s treatment since 2006. Because of her own beautiful recovery story, she is proud to be among a small group of trailblazers since founding Casa Capri Recovery for Women in 2011, leading the way for other women to join them in this otherwise male-dominated industry. She is considered an advocate for the recovery community in the truest sense, standing up to discrimination and legally fighting for the rights of sober people in recovery to live in peace. To learn more about advocacy or if you’ve experienced discrimination, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out casacaprirecovery.com for more information on our program, or please give us a call at 844-207-4880.