I know this sound like a really childish thing to say but since being active on Twitter and open about my mental illness, I’ve seen people talk about things like this more and more. It’s not an embarrassing thing to worry about nor is it uncommon. When I was first diagnosed with anxiety, during my worst period, I was terrified of being in the house by myself. Absolutely, completely and utterly terrified. I couldn’t function and would literally spend the day counting down the minutes until someone was going to be home. It can be a real debilitating problem and it’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed about.
Thankfully, I don’t have this issue any more. Of course there are the occasions when I’m home alone and feel incredibly anxious but I’ve learnt how to cope with it and push through it if it happens. I no longer dread being home alone – working from home and being self-employed now makes me home alone 95% of the time so I can’t avoid it even if I wanted to! But I’ll always remember that incredibly dark place I was in when I couldn’t cope with it and honestly, I wouldn’t wish that feeling on my worst enemy! So today I wanted to share some little tips on making being home alone that little bit easier. Some of these things may sound small and ridiculous but if you’ve been there, like me, you’ll understand how important they are.
1. Make sure your phone is charged: Knowing you always have a means of contacting something is a huge help.
2. Write down some important phone numbers in case your mobile does die: Providing you have a house phone, this works.
3. Make sure you have a number of a neighbour: It’s always handy to have your neighbours phone numbers anyway but if you’re in a position to do so, having a neighbours phone number can really ease the worry because you know you have someone close by to call if you really need them.
4. Make sure you’re comfortable: Whatever usually makes you anxious – don’t do that. For example, the heat makes me anxious so whenever I was home alone, I’d make sure the heating was off and I had a fan on to keep myself cool and less anxious.
5. Call someone: If there’s someone in your life that knows how you feel when you’re home alone, ask them if it’s okay to call if you need to. Even if it’s just for 5 minutes.
6. Call the Samaritans: If people aren’t available (at work or busy), consider calling the Samaritans if you’re in the UK. They’re free of charge and I’ve found in the past talking to a volunteer when I’m anxious really helps.
7. Keep yourself busy: This is obvious and honestly, a lot harder than you think when you’re in such an anxiety riddled state but if you can try and give yourself some tasks to work on throughout the day, this can really help take your mind off of things, even for 20 minutes.
8. Try and not look at the time: This is obvious but time goes much slower when you’re watching the clock! If someone’s due home at whatever time during the day, do not count down the hours!
9. Treat yourself: Be bloody kind to yourself and don’t think of yourself as a failure (this was a common feature in my thought pattern during that time). Have some chocolate, watch your favourite shows, blash your favourite song at top volume over and over again. Just do you. And look after yourself.
10. Get online: If you can’t call anyone but need some interaction, get on Twitter. The communities on Twitter are so supportive and if you mention how you’re feeling, chances are, someone if willing to have a chat and try and help.