I have been feeling pretty close to my normal self again and have been very ecstatic about this. I am not sure I can attribute this to one singular thing, but here are the things that I have been doing that I think have worked in combination to pull me through this.
- Meditation. Just 10~20 minutes a day. I have been doing this for about 2 months now. I am hoping in the long run this increases my overall mindfulness and self awareness.
- Exercise. When I hit my lowest point, my exercise regime went to the gutter and I was not working out for weeks. I am back to 4-5 days a week at the gym again.
- Medication. Zoloft, 50mg. I haven’t had to crank it up. I have been on it for 2 months now.
- TED talks on depression, anxiety, and inspirational talks. These have really helped me question my life goals and figure out where I want to go in life and how I want to live.
- Friends and Family. I got closer to a number of friends and some family members with similar problems by talking with them about my issues and listening to theirs and sharing thoughts and tips. Knowing I was not alone helped.
- Choice. Knowing I always have the choice to get up and leave at any point in my life (work, home, whatever) makes me feel powerful. Even when I feel my weakest and darkest, I know I am not truly powerless and this helps to keep my anxiety from getting worse.
- Pursuing other interests. Programming is my career and also my hobby, but there are other hobbies I was too scared to pursue before because I thought I would take away time from learning how to program. But lately I have decided I cannot let programming be my end all be all, and have started pursuing my other hobbies and have found this to be very enjoyable.
- Sleep meds. With my anxiety at its peak, sleep was non existent. My psychiatrist prescribed sleep meds to help me get some decent sleep. Eventually this was no longer necessary when my mood and attitude started to feel normal again and my anxiety levels shrunk and I am no longer on them. I was on them for about as month.
- Psychiatrist and Therapist. These were crucial in informing me about what was going on with my mind and body, and getting me the proper tools, information and medication to move forward.
As you can see, there was not one easy fix for me (as these things always are) but a small continued effort in different areas has culminated into a large change in my anxiety and depression. This in turn has helped me be less stressed at work and feel more productive.