It happens in the dark | What to do when your anxiety is triggered by night time

Like many of us in this day and age, I suffer from immense anxiety and depression. Although I don’t want to downplay my depression, I can get through most of my days unscathed; but when it comes to my anxiety, well that’s a whole different story. There are alot of things that can cause anxiety such as trauma, environment, social gatherings, overwhelming stress, and more. I suffer from PTSD and generalized anxiety disorder, which basically just means I’m afraid of everyday things and situations that ordinarily are not stressful to those who don’t have anxiety. If you also suffer from anxiety, you know how unpredictable it can be and how its not something you can just prepare for. Finding the right treatment and therapy is key though (thanks doc!) and it can become manageable with time and effort.

These tips are not a sure-fire way to combat the anxiety that happens when it gets dark. I still struggle with it myself sometimes, but I wanted to share the tips and steps I take that help me when the darkness (literally) comes creeping up on me.

Find a higher power

When it comes to my anxiety, I try to give it to God whenever I can. I lay down my fears with him and pray often for the healing of my mind and my soul. I understand that not everyone is religious and that’s okay. Whether you believe in God, the universe, or enlightenment; whatever higher power you believe in, it’s almost like having your own personal therapist. I’m sure I probably look crazy to others, just sitting there talking to the air, but it’s what helps me the most in my time of fear. Knowing God hears me and feeling the peace and warmth He gives me, there’s no better feeling! In times when I’m really freaking out, I repeat this verse:

“But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you”

-Pslam 56:3 NLT

Wear a sleep mask at bedtime

Wait, what? You may be reading this last point going “what??”, but don’t worry I’ll explain. I have a hard time with the type of darkness where light is still visible, it makes me feel trapped. Like when you close your eyes to a scene in a scary movie, or when you’re at the top of the roller coaster; you can still see the light beyond the dark because your eyelids don’t block out all the light. That’s where the sleep mask comes in. Sleep masks achieve what I like to call true darkness. True darkness, to me, is not scary, but relaxing. Another thing that it does is give me a feeling of security, I can’t tell you why but it does! An added bonus is when you get a sleep mask with a pocket in it, you can place a hot or cold compress in it; I sometimes use a heat pad in mine to help calm my nerves.

Put on some socks

This one is my favorite! Who doesn’t love socks? Fun fact: they’ve actually done a study on this and it seriously works; it’s called sensory wear. When you wear sensory socks, it’s not just helping you get better circulation through your feet, deep compression also has a calming, “secure” effect on the body and mind. For some seriously comfortable sensory socks visit CalmWear.

Practice mildfulness with Calm

Most of you have heard of the app Calm. It’s an app full of guided meditations, music, and exercises for people of all ages. When I first heard of Calm, I admit I was thrown off by the price. However, I’ve had multiple friends and therapists repeatedly recommend it so I thought I’d take the leap and give it a try. Let me tell ya, it has changed my life. For major freak outs I highly recommend “Body Scan” guided by Tamara Levitt. Her guided mediation reminds me to listen to my body and calm myself, with options from 3 minute meditations for quick relief to 30 minute meditations for a longer relaxation session. Calm is hosting a promotion now that lets new members purchase a 12 month subscription for only $41.99 instead of the normal $59.99 annual subscription! If you can’t afford the annual subscription right now, you can try Calm Premium free for 7 days and if you like it (you will!) you can purchase a subscription for $14.99 per month. Trust me when I say that the premium subscription is worth it!

Write it out

I’m a big believer in journaling for stress relief and anxiety management. There’s so many ways to journal these days. You could always go the old fashion route and buy a few blank notepads. You could also use digital journaling or bullet journaling. My favorite is digital because it’s so easy and accessible wherever I am. There’s a few journaling apps that I like to use and find to be very user friendly. The first is Journey, a private journal that includes “coaching” or guided writing prompts that help you hone in on mindfulness. Another app that I gotta give major credit to is Daylio, a compressed mini journal of sorts that focuses more on emotions. The reason I love Daylio is because you can customize emotions, activities and notes to create a journal entry explaining the feeling, why you feel that way, and going into detail of what you need to get off your mind. 

Be kind to yourself

The most important thing you can do is to just be kind to yourself. Do not beat yourself up over your anxiety. Do not even beat yourself up over what others may think is an irrational fear. This journey is your journey and no one elses. Every single one of us heals differently. What works for some may not work for you and that’s okay. Allow yourself time and be patient in this process. Remind yourself that you are safe and you are loved.

If you suspect you may have anxiety but not sure what kind or how to get help, please reach out to your doctor. Anxiety and depression are both treatable and with time & effort, manageable. If you want to find out what type of anxiety you suffer from click here.

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