How to handle an anxiety episode in vitiligo

It’s not uncommon for vitiligo fighters to feel anxietic before appearing for a job interview, meeting someone new or anticipating the unwanted stares. Sometimes, anxiety hits you without warning, but there are times when you know a stressful period is coming and you can find ways to help alleviate its intensity.

While all of us know that anxiety can contribute to vitiligo spread, it seems to be inescapable for most of us. Thankfully, controlling what you can and knowing what you’re possibly getting into can help you ease the stress. Since we’re all different, it’s difficult to say what will help you ease those stress triggers. Still, we’ve rounded up a few ideas that might help you find some peace the next time your mind and heart start racing.

1 | Drink a glass of water.

Drink water to calm yourself down from anxiety. It regulates your breathing if you are hyperventilating. Just after one sip, you should immediately feel a little better. In addition to this, try other options on the list.

2 | Acknowledge your feelings.

Before things start to escalate, say to yourself, “I am feeling anxious.” Remind yourself that you’ve been here before. Tell yourself that you’ve felt this way before and survived it. Take a deep breath and take five minutes away alone. These few minutes will help you slow down your thoughts. Say “I’m OK/fine/safe” out loud. It sounds silly, but it really works.

3 | Channel your breathing.

Use a breathing technique called “tactical breathing”. The technique is often taught in the military. Breathe in through your nose for a count of 4, hold the breath for a count of 4. Subsequently, exhale through your mouth for a count of 4.

4 | Go for a walk/run.

If you generally enjoy going for a walk, this will work out in stressful times too. It can clear your mind and help you find the right perspective on the problem.

If you run, you can actually feel yourself escaping the grip anxiety can have on you. It’s very liberating and empowering at putting your mind at ease. Positive self-talk (like “You are bigger than this.” “You are stronger than this.”) throughout the run also helps.

5 | Try guided meditation.

Focus on a space, real or imaginary, where you feel safe and content. You can use your bed as a safe place. It’s where you can go at the end of the day and pretend that everything that’s making you anxious can’t reach you there.
There are many guided meditation apps that can help you chuck an anxiety episode out too.

6| Schedule your worry.

Schedule time during the week (say Wednesday at 7 p.m. for 30 minutes) where you can allow yourself to worry and think to your heart’s content. Knowing you have a specific time to do that should help you let it go for the rest of the week.

7 | Call a friend.

Believe it or not, our loved ones are aware of our social anxiety. So, when you feel panic coming on, call a friend or sibling and have them talk you down out of the panic attack.

8 | Do some math.

Whenever you have a panic attack, get a pencil and paper to do some simple, manual math. Adding 293 and 324 or subtracting 14 from 52 can indeed help you distract your brain from the panic. Try yourself.

9 | Blow some bubbles.

A small bottle of bubble soap in your purse or bag can save the day. If you start having a panic attack in public, find a private place and blow bubbles. It will help you slow down your breathing, force you to take deep breaths, and give you something engaging to focus on.

10 | Carry a sketchbook.

You can also start carrying a small sketchbook around, especially if you have a terrible habit of biting the skin around your nails whenever anxiety hits you. Keep your hands busy by doodling in it or sketching down whatever’s on my mind. By the time you put down your pencil your heart rate’s would slow down, and your mind would clear up.

11 | Find an outlet.

Whether its a few minutes of meditation, maintaining a vitiligo journal or watching your favorite sitcom re-runs, find some time to decompress. This should help you take a break from the stressful situation. If trying to find the time to exercise gives you even more stress, find something else that can help you relax. You can:
⦁ Pet a furry friend.
⦁ Solve a puzzle.
⦁ Doodle in a notebook.
⦁ Listen to music you love.
⦁ Get outside in nature.

12 | Be kind to yourself.

It’s easy to blame yourself for what you are feeling, but the fact is your emotions are valid and you are not to blame for vitiligo and anxiety. It is important to treat your anxiety like it’s separate from you.

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