What do you do when you get antsy/anxious?
June 7, 2008 7:25 PM   Subscribe

Antsy/anxious feelings. Help;

It seems I get antsy/anxious for a few periods of 30 mins or more during the day. Right now is one of them. When I get like this, I hate anyone talking to me, I hate my clothes (they irritate me with creases, clinging to me sometimes etc). I basically get irritated by everyone and everything. Even exercise doesn't help it for long. Sometimes I do just crazy stretches because physically my body is annoyed with everything. It's like I can't sit still when I get like this.

What doesn't help is I don't have a job right now, so I've literally got to entertain myself all day long. I was taking a summer class but have found out I was in the wrong physics and dropped it. The second summer session was already filled, so I'm not taking that anymore.

At any rate, anyone that gets these feelings from time to time? How do you deal with it? Do you have a hobby you take up? Stretching exercises you do? Anything?

posted by isoman2kx to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: FWIW: I'm on Lexapro (20 mg, twice a day)
posted by isoman2kx at 7:28 PM on June 7, 2008

Cold wet washcloth on the face helps a lot. It stimulates the mammalian dive reflex, and the physiological effects control the panic.
posted by theora55 at 8:18 PM on June 7, 2008 [5 favorites]

This might sound a little silly, but how are you sleeping?

I started getting really anxious feelings at work. I'll spare you the details (though PM me if you want), but I want to a shrink and he diagnosed me as chronically sleep deprived. Turns out that Restless Leg Syndrome I'd been ignoring for years was a bigger deal than I thought.

Getting more sleep made a *big* difference
posted by meta_eli at 8:31 PM on June 7, 2008

God, I hate this feeling.

Crazy intense exercise - like full-out on a treadmill for as long as I could go - would often work for me. When I'm not working in the summers, I try to go to the gym every day, both to burn off energy and to give my day some structure. Or sometimes a long, long walk by myself - one that allows me to talk things out in my head - is more effective.

You might want to talk to your doctor too. If these episodes are troublesome but infrequent, a little Xanax might help.
posted by bibliowench at 8:43 PM on June 7, 2008

I got to sleep if I can. Even if I can't sleep, laying down in a dark, quiet area helps. If I can go to sleep, it seems to act as a little reset switch, even if only for 10-20 minutes.

If I can't sleep (say, at work) going for a walk outside seems to help. Outside being the key. Something about being alone with your thoughts but having the stimulus of the outdoors seems to really help.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:27 PM on June 7, 2008

• Take a bath. Seriously. Something about sitting down in a tub of water helps with anxiety attacks.
This yoga video is bogus in the way that most yoga videos are -- lots of nonsense talk. But the exercises are good, focus on stretching and working up a little bit of a sweat. Enough to put you into a relaxed frame of mind. I swear it helps. It's what I used when I had an anxiety attack this afternoon, and seriously? It made it all better.
• I know you're out of work, but maybe you could talk to your doctor about anti-anxiety medications to supplement the SSRIs? There are quite a few out there that can help, especially when you feel like you're about to crawl out of your skin. (If it helps, they're generally not very expensive.)

Filling up your time is hard, and it's easy to feel lethargic and useless when you're out of work and out of sorts. Are you in therapy? You might want to work with your therapist on structuring your days, tackling small tasks like dishes and tidying up. It does help decrease anxiety and depression to have a good schedule going.

Good luck, and hugs.
posted by brina at 9:49 PM on June 7, 2008

exercise and regular sleep are the way to go. also, you might try taking valerian--it's a mild sedative, and i find it helps when i get like that.

ianad, but 40mg of lexapro seems like a high daily dose. is your prescribing physician a psychiatrist? if not, it's time for a referral. lexapro may not be a good fit for you, and it's worth seeing a physician who has more professional experience with your symptoms. even if you are seeing a psychiatrist for medication management, you should talk to them. perhaps something like xanax would be a good idea. or therapy.
posted by thinkingwoman at 10:24 PM on June 7, 2008

You might want to keep a diary for a few days. Log when you go to sleep, when you wake up, and how you slept. Log what you eat and drink, and when. Note when you take each dose of Lexapro. Every hour, on the hour, describe your mental state in a few words. Whenever you lapse into your irritable state, make a note of the time you first notice it. If there's a pattern here, that might help you catch it.

Years ago, when I had a very boring job, I experienced the same thing a few times a week. Only through making a log like this did I realize that my irritable periods corresponded with a big increase in my caffeine intake. Doing this also helped me to discover that french fries make me cranky as hell. You might also be getting irritable during particularly boring stretches in your day, or at a set time after you take your pills, etc.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 10:37 PM on June 7, 2008

I got like this when I was taking too much Vit B. I cut that out and the anxiety dropped off a lot.

Good luck.
posted by Kerasia at 12:26 AM on June 8, 2008

Breathe really deeply as if you've been running and need to catch your breath. Also try washing your face and hands in really cold water.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 1:03 AM on June 8, 2008

I'm in group therapy for anxiety right now. First big trick we learned was 'belly-breathing'. Find a comfortable position: maybe laying back, maybe sitting in a relaxed position, maybe even standing. Instead of shallowly breathing like most of us do (into the chest), breathe deeply, expanding your gut as much as you comfortably can, and then exhale. Concentrate fully on this breathing. If you find your mind wandering, get back on track.

Do this for a few minutes. Then start brething to fill your whole torso with air (so to speak). breathe deeply, expanding your belly, then fill your chest with air. Release. Do this for a few minutes. Then breathe like this to a count of four, hold for a count of four, then exhale over a count of four. Keep concentrating only on your breathing. Do this for a couple more minutes. Then see if you can do this to longer counts; I am a sedentary guy and I can get to the point where I am taking only one or two such breaths a minute, comfortably.

I always feel much less anxious after fifteen minutes of this. It's also a good regimen to help get to sleep.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:48 AM on June 8, 2008 [2 favorites]

This happens to me often, and all of the above suggestions are excellent. The deep belly breathing is perhaps the most effective because it gets you to calm down right away - you get much more oxygen to the brain when you breathe in through your nose and it really calms you. A good, hard run helps out too.

On a follow up note, I recommend seeing a counselor. Anxiety can be very debilitating and often pops up in situations where you need to be steady and relaxed. Since I started seeing a counselor for anxiety and since I began attending a meditation group, I've become much more *aware* of my anxiety, what triggers it, and how I can deal with it (which does not mean avoiding it or that it no longer happens). Awareness is a big part of the whole, nasty anxiety cycle, and learning to just bear with it makes a BIG difference.

Best of luck.
posted by cachondeo45 at 6:19 AM on June 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

It seems I get antsy/anxious for a few periods of 30 mins or more during the day. Right now is one of them. When I get like this, I hate anyone talking to me, I hate my clothes (they irritate me with creases, clinging to me sometimes etc). I basically get irritated by everyone and everything.

I was going to say that this sounded exactly like me before I was prescribed Lexapro, but then I saw your comment... I'd recommend going back, though, as your doctor may be able to help further.

What doesn't help is I don't have a job right now, so I've literally got to entertain myself all day long.

It sounds obvious and dull, but hobbies help a lot. Back when I had lots of free time, I edited Wikipedia, or would spend forever researching random stuff that sounded interesting. I also took up reading for a while. Of course, I have no idea what your hobbies are. Tennis? Juggling flaming machetes? Internet forums? Video games?
posted by fogster at 12:09 PM on June 8, 2008

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