People with anxiety; what are your coping methods?

I had a penguin teddy thing that I used to hug as tightly as possible. It was kind of my anchor during panic attacks. In secondary school I wanted to do music for my Junior Cert. My teacher basically said that if I don't play the instruments in front of her I would fail. She said the same to my mother (Who, by the way, lashed back and said whether I get an A or an F, we would hang it up on the wall and laugh about it). After a while of extra curricular music theory classes filled with people I didn't like and who laughed at me for my instrument choices (it was piano and drums. Strange combo but I'm weird so meh), and the pressure of the teacher, I developed extremely bad stage fright. Every time people spoke about playing piano, or the thought of playing or speaking in front of people would pop into my head, I would get hot flashes, not be able to breath, my eyes would water and my hands would shake. So yeah this became a super SUPER regular thing. Like 1 or 2 a day for a few months. I would also wake up with them and crash back to sleep but it would be like sleep paralysis and shit. When that would happen I would grab this penguin teddy that was like the size of my torso and hug it real tight and wait for it to pass. I didn't know there were any techniques or anything so it was all I could really do. When the day of the music practical came (had to play in front of the examiner) my brother and sister said they would play with me. The penguin teddy thing had a little scarf on it so I cut the threads, tied it to one of the belt loops on my trousers and hid it under my shirt so it was touching my skin. Got through the performance. So yeah, that penguin teddy was my big big saviour when I was a teenager. Needless to say I did not pursue music as a career after that. Also went to counseling in secondary school and college for it and it all worked out. Still have anxiety and depression unfortunately but it's getting better. Getting less self conscious of my body thanks to my beautiful partner, able to go to the gym and not be afraid of people staring at me, able to do presentations and not panic.

In conclusion: Penguins, counseling and good people.

/r/AskReddit Thread