Here is a comic I drew about anxiety and some coping mechanisms that I use to help me through it.
I was nervous about sharing something like this, but my twitter friends encouraged me to share. I’ve read blogs from other illustrators who have opened up about their mental health, and they’ve really helped me. And so, I thought I had something to share, and hopefully this will help some other people too.
I’ve recently gone from having very limited free time, to finally having more time by myself to just think for the first time in ages.
Anxiety can strike at any time, but I have found that when I suddenly have time to think after not having had -enough- time, anxious and intrusive thoughts can surface which can be very distressing.
So, I put together some of my own coping mechanisms here that might help other people, whatever form your anxiety may take. I also drew this to remind myself to put these in place daily to keep things in check now I’m freelance again. These particular coping mechanisms are especially aimed at people like me who might work from home and have to manage their own time as a freelancer, which can be tough. These are what I’ve found helps me personally, but everyone is different so absolutely do what feels right for you.
I’m adjusting all the time, and I find getting up and leaving the house and still ‘going to work’ is absolutely key! Whether that is in a shared studio, or working in a cafe or a library.
If you are suffering, reach out to your family and friends support network, and see your GP. You can also phone Mind, the mental health charity on 0300 123 3393 Text: 86463 for advice and support. Remember that you’re not alone, and that there is help out there :)
Here is the above comic transcript.
Page 1 -
Having time to draw for myself again is amazing, and I am so grateful my hard work has led to this. I’m so looking forward to being freelance again! So much time to just think…
But sometimes…. Anxiety and intrusive thoughts can rear its ugly head.
Page 2 -
Here are some of the coping mechanisms that work for me (everyone is different)
Mind Helpline if you need it - 0300 123 3393 or send them an email - email@example.com
- Spending time with friends and loved ones
- Talking to my wonderful friends
- Getting up, even if it feels like the hardest thing in the world
- Making the choice to start the day is the first step to re-claiming my head space
- Have a shower, feel the hot water
- Strike. A. Power. Pose! Get dressed in an outfit you love
- Yes! Progress! Eat, and leave the house.
Page 3 -
- Make a plan for the day - So you’re not tempted to stay in bed all day.
- Sweat. Lift. Stretch. - Any physical activity that you enjoy that tires out your body, clears your head and releases magic endorphins. (Running massively reduces my anxiety and makes me happier too.)
- Yoga - even though I’m not very bendy and I can barely sit cross-legged. It’s super to just have 45 minutes to only focus on my body and breathing.
- Going to CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and doing the homework I was set. My favourite was writing 3 positives on a list of topics every day. For example - 3 things I achieved today (even if small things like I made a nice breakfast!). -3 Things you feel quietly confident about your appearance today. - 3 Positive pieces of feedback you got at work today.
- Breath. In for 4 seconds, hold for 4, out for 8 seconds. ‘Calm Breathing’.
- Being in nature or near trees.