Routines, anxiety and feeling distressed - Living with Anxiety

Living with Anxiety
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Routines, anxiety and feeling distressed


Hi everyone,

I struggle really badly with autism, depression and anxiety, as well as obsessive compulsive disorder. I have been really struggling with the change of normal life as we know it.

I was told that keeping to a routine is essential. What should that look like / consist of?

I feel really guilty because I've been getting out of bed around 1pm, been binge eating in bed to deal with how I'm feeling and anxiety.

I have no support. I am by myself, too scared to go out to the shops to get food. Mental health team can't see me and I normally rely on family, but they are in lockdown thirty minutes away at their home as well.

Sorry, there's quite a lot all linked in here. I don't know what should a good routine consist of? Should I be getting out of bed at 6am, springing up, having a healthy breakfast and having fruit and jogging etc. I am just feeling pressured with Instagram posts etc. portraying the 'perfect' daily exercise, or food etc.

I really don't want to do my obsessive compulsions. I can't because it involves going to car wash and filling my tank full of petrol up and I can't do that at the moment because it's not an 'essential journey'.

I feel gross about getting up late, eating sweets etc. I have no confidence and am struggling to basically do everyday things, and am feeling guilty, but all my support has gone and having autism amongst my other medical conditions is difficult.

Does anyone have any advise on routines, what they should be, am I gross for eating in bed in the early hours and am I a bad person and do I need to do my obsessive compulsions? (I really don't want to).

Thanks all.

27 Replies

Hello :-)

Reading your post I really felt for you as I know with Autism how routine is so very important and what helps to cope and it causes great anxiety if it is taken away and confusion how you are feeling now

But as frightening as all this feels trust me , most of us are feeling fear , most are struggling with their routines been disrupted even though I know it will be effecting you that much more

So it is about finding a new routine for now

What you are doing at the moment is not great but I get how you feel confused

I think getting up about 9 in a Morning is a reasonable time :-)

Then maybe getting some breakfast , slice of toast , cereal and a cup of tea

I would then get myself dressed

At lunch have a sandwich and a piece of fruit if you can get some

Maybe a little dinner at tea time , or even a tin of soup would be ok and things like fruit and yogurt

You can have a treat of some chocolate but not all day

Maybe make yourself a list of things you could do each day so one day maybe you could clean your room , and another day another room in your house or flat , maybe one day you could clean your windows or even your car , set something out that you will do every day

You are allowed to go for a walk once a day if you live in the UK , keeping you distance though from others

Again if you are in the UK , your family , friends or neighbours are allowed to bring you food maybe once a week , have you anyone you know you could ask ?

I know you say you cannot get hold of the Mental Health Team but have you tried phoning them and letting them know you are struggling ?

You are not a bad person please believe me , you have anxiety etc and like lot's of us are struggling but that does not make you a bad person :-)

Your obsessive compulsive routines , no you don't have to do them , but while we are going through this scary time and we are all scared if it helps by doing them and eases your anxiety then do them but there is no rule that you have to , the choice is yours

I know this may be a lot of information for you to absorb all at once , so take your time

Maybe get some paper

Put Monday Tuesday , Wednesday Thursday , Friday , Saturday , Sunday

Then under each day write what you will try and do on that day , till you have made a new routine for yourself

I am going to give you some links that I am not sure will help but you could have a look at

Samaritans 116 123

You will be ok and you are not alone you can always come and talk to us :-)

Take Care x

Hidden in reply to lulu-1

Hello Lulu,

Thank you so much for your kind post - it means a lot. And it's so detailed too, thank you, it seriously means a lot!

Thank you for giving me times, that's very helpful! Ok so tomorrow I will get up at 9am, have breakfast and then get dressed. I am writing this all down so I have a plan to follow. Sorry, it must sound so silly, but you seem to understand.

I will try ringing the mental health team again, thank you. I am based in the UK.

I am feeling very scared about going out to go for a walk, what could I do? I don't want to look stupid walking around. Most people are walking with family and are chatting.

Thank you so much for the links. I have just made a monthly diary and laminated it and put it on my fridge.

Also, thank you for the links. They are helpful too. Thank you so much again! :)

lulu-1 in reply to Hidden

Hello :-)

First even though I appreciate you thanking me you don't have to keep thanking me as we are all here to help each other where we can and I am pleased some of it you found helpful :-)

If you want to get up before 9 am that would be fine but I think if we stay in bed any later then it is not good for us and can stop us feeling ready for bed at night :-)

I am in the UK as well and to be honest the Government have said you can only take one walk a day and only with family members that live with you but there are so many people that live on their own and are going for a walk on their own and it certainly does not make you look stupid if you are on your own honestly it doesn't :-)

Have you got a garden ?

Just a thought if you had you could get out in the garden , do some gardening or have a walk around the garden if you feel uncomfortable going out :-)

You could go on You tube and put in Exercises to do indoors , there are lot's of different one's on there that will help keep you fit

Just jogging on the spot in your room for 5 or 10 minutes all helps to keep you fit

Yes please phone the Mental Health Team again and tell them how you are struggling , let them know you need help and that you are feeling very low and anxious and are getting to a stage you feel you cannot cope

Let me know how you get on and you are not stupid at all and if you want to ask any questions then just ask and I will do my best to help :-)

You are not alone :-) x

Hidden in reply to lulu-1

That's a good idea, thank you.

Ah right, thanks for sharing the information. :)

I have a shared garden. That sounds like fun, and I will phone the mental health team again for support. I will word it the way you said, thanks again.

Lots of hugs x

lulu-1 in reply to Hidden

Any time you need to ask if you feel unsure just come on and talk to us :-)

I know this is a frightening time especially when we need routine and it feels like everything we know has all of a sudden disappeared which adds extra anxiety as we feel what do we do now ? all what makes me feel secure has gone , but eventually it will come back , we are all in this together :-)

You will be ok , try not to over think and keep your mind distracted :-)

I have been watching a lot of catch up's on TV that I have seen before but I used to like , it has helped me to forget that my routine has gone and the world is different at the moment , maybe you could find a distraction , something you like to do , if it be TV , drawing , any hobbies you have , they all help to take our minds of things

You said your family helps normally but of course they cannot at the moment , if you find you do not get very far with the Mental Health team I wonder if they could phone and speak on your behalf ? just a thought

You will be ok , I promise :-)

Tell me one thing that makes you feel happy that you like to do ? :-) x

Hidden in reply to lulu-1

Thank you so much. Yes, we are all in it together. :)

TV is good, yes. Just so hot today! Very good idea about them ringing too - thank you. One thing that makes me feel happy that I like to do is volunteer for the Silverline and ring an older person each week. :) x

lulu-1 in reply to Hidden

If you are feeling hot then open your windows and let some air pull through :-) and you could sit outside in your shared garden :-)

What a brilliant thing you do volunteering for Silverline that is a wonderful thing you do :-)

Do you think that while we are in this lock down you feel like you could do it more than once a week , would that help you as well ?

Maybe not but if you think it could you can ask if they would like some more help while we are in lock down :-) x

Hidden in reply to lulu-1

Thank you, I took your advice and went and sat out in the garden, it was lovely!

Yes, I have e-mailed the charity offering any help I can do.

How are you? x

lulu-1 in reply to Hidden

You are sounding a lot better than when you first did this post and more confident which is lovely to read :-)

I am not doing so good today to be honest , I have a sore throat and of course that is causing panic :-o

I am going to watch what the Queen has to say about everything that is going on at 8 pm tonight on Sky One :-)

Thank you for asking how I am :-) x

PS I hope you have made sure you have eaten today :-) x

Hidden in reply to lulu-1

I am doing a lot better, thank you.

So sorry you're not feeling well, I hope you feel better soon!

I also am going to watch the Queen national address at 8pm.

No worries!

I haven't eaten - will go and make some dinner. x

lulu-1 in reply to Hidden

O dear you must eat to keep your strength up , maybe 3 times a day

Breakfast lunch and tea :-)

Hope you make something nice to eat and enjoy it :-) x

Hidden in reply to lulu-1

I had chilli con carne for dinner, was lovely! Did you have anything nice for dinner? x

lulu-1 in reply to Hidden

That does sound nice :-)

We had a Sunday dinner with chicken & veg and potatoes :-)

Glad you have had something to eat , try and keep up with your regular meals :-) x

Hello :-)

I hope you are feeling ok this Morning

I found this link today that talks a lot of sense , I will put it on for you so you can go on and read it :-)

It hopefully might help a little bit :-)

Take Care x

Click on these links and spend some of your day reading them , you could get some useful tips :-) x

Hidden in reply to lulu-1

Thank you so much for the links - very useful as there's a link to an online autistic community. :) x

lulu-1 in reply to Hidden

:-) x

One thing I might add, Alex, is to set tiny goals at a time, which you can manage. If something comes up and you were unable to do it, it would not be so huge as to cause anxiety. But if you get to do it, then that little victory will help you set another goal and then work on it. Like cleaning a room. If it is a huge chore and you will end up exhausted trying to do it all at once, divvy them up into manageable chunks so that you can accomplish something and still not overly tired. It sounded so simple when I first tried it, but it did make a huge difference. Hope you keep getting better.

Hidden in reply to Alladin

Thank you, that's very useful advice. :)

I think you should get a notebook and write down a schedule of like 1-20 things like a could do list. Example 1. Made bed2. Brushed teeth, 3. Ate breakfast , etc... than write down every time you do and you’d be Surprised to see doing so you might feel better of all your accomplishments. Look at your list end of the day, add more as you go...And you’ll eat less and actually see how much your eating and get on a regular times to eat. Nobody on Social media is perfect I bet there’s going to be so many divorces and breakups after this. And pregnant people. People are going to get to know the real person they married or moved in with.. ha! .. People wear masks all the time so don’t sweat it. I’m anxious too I try to stay present in the moment. Talk to myself in the 3rd person to do something like Survivor4Life it’s going to be okay! Hope any of this helps!

Hidden in reply to Survivor4Ever

Thank you so much, that is really helpful! I have written down a list of tasks to potentially achieve and have also written down basic tasks. Hope you're well. :)

Survivor4Ever in reply to Hidden

Your welcome. Let me know how that goes. If it helps any.

Survivor4Ever in reply to Hidden

Don’t put pressure on yourself to achieve or you’ll let yourself down. Not a to-do list. It’s more like a Could-do list. I just write on top of my spiral note book (Wed April 8 2020) and that’s it. I don’t call it a list...... . I write the things down as I go. I number them 1-5. Than when I finish i number another 6-10, etc.. like a accomplishment/schedule . Does that make sense?

Hidden in reply to Survivor4Ever

Ooh great idea! Thank you. Yes, I don't want to punish myself if I don't get something done, so will make a 'could do' with a list of priority. Thanks!

Survivor4Ever in reply to Hidden


That’s from my experience what worked for me

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