These are things I tell myself when I feel an anxiety attack coming on, which happens about once on good days.
- You are invisible. People who look at you can’t really see you.
- Humans can smell fear. As long as you don’t act afraid, they won’t hurt you.
- Name off as many words as you can that begin with C but make the S sound. Cistern, circular, celestial…
- Notice people’s shoes.
- Count in Binary on your fingers. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…
- Don’t step on the cracks.
- Sing happy songs. “You Are My Sunshine,” “Danny Boy,” “Into the West,” “If All the Raindrops…”
- Make believe you’re someone else, someone who’s normal and happy.
- Hide in the bathroom until your brain stops humming.
- Crying in bathroom stalls is allowed. Just get quiet when other shoes shuffle inside.
- Hugging yourself is allowed.
- Don’t smile unless you want to. They can’t take that choice away from you.
- Don’t speak.
- Pretend you’re safe.
- This isn’t real life. Real life is much better. You’ll get there someday.
- There are other Maneys out there. They understand that people can get broken.