"Recognising a flare up of anxiety or depression?"

Some of you will know that at the moment I'm doing relatively okay...most of the time. I still get flare-ups, and they can be suffocating. They can skew my entire social life; which isn't ideal seeing as I've only just acquired a social life.

Recognising when these flare-ups take place can take time and effort, and acting on them is harder still.

For me, having a routine helps immensely when it comes to recognising when I start to slip. Every Monday night I'm out with friends, and I always have a fantastic time. So when I wind up feeling as though I don't want to go out and play Cards Against Humanity or Scrabble with friends and strangers alike, I know I'm not doing so great. If the opportunity comes up to hang out with friends another time, and I have mixed feelings about it, I know I'm not doing so great.

As for acting on it...I generally push through and go anyway. The only way for me to feel better is to defy the anxiety that's holding me back, and to go and have fun! I invariably feel better when I get there, sit down, and start laughing. It probably helps that I'm super competitive so when I sit down to a game, I end up fully immersed and forget everything else in my life for the next several hours.

So I guess my only recommendation is to get a routine going that's within your comfort zone. That way you have a pretty good indicator of where you're at in terms of whether or not you're heading towards a flare up.