How to manage anxiety and depression in 10 easy* steps

Originally published at:


Describes my experience with the Labile churn of my inner tumult - I find it hard to communicate the experience to those who haven’t had it.

I cannot overstate how changing calendars has helped - our calendar is psychologically disharmonious - which does nothing to calm the mind or put everything into perspective


This really resonated with me as someone who is just figuring out that I’ve suffered from mild anxiety and depression all my life. For decades, I’ve figured out coping mechanisms, getting by and avoiding self-destruction but feeling like there was a bug in my software. One book that made a difference to me was this one - I recommend it for being exactly what’s advertised on the cover.


My daughter is going through this, right down to the ‘panic attack so bad an ambulance gets called’. It’s horrible and terrifying and heartbreaking. I’ve ended up with a month sicknote from the doctor for myself because of it. And I don’t know how to help her fix it…


I can do the first six on that list. Those are easy. There’s a big difficulty spike for the rest though, that keep me from managing any of them.


4 steps.

Fill bong.
Light bong.

Repeat if necessary


I’m sure different things work for different people, so I’m not saying that the author of this piece is doing it wrong. For me I feel like regarding depression and anxiety as the enemy is just never going to work. Sure, I’m super good at just doing things regardless of feeling like not doing thing - I think I’m actually more productive and useful when I am depressed than when I’m not because I simply give no regard to what I want at all. But it feels a bit like deciding to just walk around on a broken leg, like, oh well, this is my life now.

The other night I was starting to panic. I tried being nice to my panic instead of being angry at it. The approach was based on something called Emotion Focused Family Therapy, but applied inwardly instead of to children. I anthropomorphized my panic told is that it seemed scared, that I could understand why it was scared (nuclear war is scary) and that I was there for it. That worked a lot better than fighting, at least on that occasion.


I would tend to agree. I don’t see it as something that can be beaten, instead as something that can be managed.
I don’t get much anxiety, but when I do it is BIG, but somehow I disassociate, kind of sit inside it and let it run its course and flow away. It always feels weird a few hours later, a little like it happened to someone else, and I am oddly refreshed, like the rain has passed.
But, like you said above, we all experience and cope differently.

For anyone struggling; talk to someone, anyone. In person, phone, text, online, whatever works for you. It isn’t weak to reach out, it is the opposite. Contact strengthens everyone.


Lots of big changes happening in my life this week. This kind of describes how my thoughts feel.

This video sometimes helps me. But fair warning, it usually makes me break down and cry so if you are sitting at work, maybe wait until you get to a more private place.


I’m in bed right now!

I like this place and I like hearing from you all. Much love to you.


Pretty much this, from my experience.
Like a nasty distant relative that comes by every now and then, crashes on my couch, empties the fridge, soils the carpet, clogs the karzi, what have you… But by now I know that he will leave when he gets bored or has drunk all the booze or whatever. And when he’s gone again I’ll clean up and life goes on.
Sometimes pretending I’m not home works.
Took a while and professional help to get there, though.
(Also works quite well for dealing with my migraine.)


You get it. You really get it. Nailed it.

Thank you for saying “just do it” in a compassionate and structured way. These are all things we should know, but lose track of when the monster is strong. Like you said, it is an extremely tough slog but absolutely necessary. I’m putting your list up on my bathroom mirror.

fwiw (I hope a lot), I have found one therapy — trans-cranial magnetic stimulation — to be way, way more effective than the multiple anti-depression drugs I’ve taken as well as decades of talk therapy. My health insurance covered it, and while it was mildly painful, and took several weeks of daily appointments, it is the only thing that ever made my depression completely evaporate. It lasted a whole year — the best year of my life. I felt like a new person.

It did wear off, and I’m back to the daily treatments for a few weeks. I am looking forward to banishing the monster in my head again, and will practice the thought transformation you so well described for the rest of my life.


I don’t know what works either. We made it through and it feels the same as when we weathered her mom’s cancer. But for our daughter it’s like a cancer you can only treat by talking to it. Hang on tight to her. All the best.


I think when it comes to things like this, different things work for differnt people. If there was only one solution, we’d only have one self help book and people would follow it and everyone would be ok. Unfortunately life never is so easy.


I feel like your approach is excellent for anxiety, since it’s really about calming fear. You can’t calm fear by screaming at it, or hating, or being annoyed with it. It’s like a child in that way. Yelling won’t stop your child crying.

Depression, on the other hand, is different. Anything that you can do to dissociate it from yourself is a good thing. Viewing it as an illness, as an external force, as a mind parasite, helps a lot. It’s much easier to forgive yourself, and be kind to yourself, to do the hard things, if that thing that is killing you isn’t you killing you.


Unwittingly, I was self-medicating like that for a couple of decades. The problem is when real crises arise (and they will), it’s a poor substitute for actual hard-won coping mechanisms. These days I rarely touch the stuff.


“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”

Samuel Johnson had an inside track.


It was probably different for my mother and two uncles who all committed suicide, but for me my depression feels more like a trusted companion. Winston Churchill had his black dog, but I have my security blanket, which I wrap around me as I drift down to the ocean floor.


If you feel helpless imagine how she feels…and you can’t “help her fix it.” I’m not sure “it” can be “fixed”. Coped with perhaps, managed, yes. What you can do is listen without judgement and practise radical empathy; imagine your most hopeless moment and multiply it by 100, in (what seems) an infinte loop. You can’t make ‘sense’ with it because it doesn’t make ‘sense’. Peace.


That’s interesting. I can certainly relate, although it’s a Stockholm syndrome of sorts; the blanket is trying to smother me after all. But it’s been such constant companion for so long I’m not sure you can separate ‘me’ from ‘it’ if that makes any sense…