In case you missed it, I’ve been going through a period of intense stress + anxiety + depression. I have your regular run-of-the-mill anxiety which manifests itself in mostly social ways that overall, mildly affect me. I don’t like going out in groups, impulsively going to brand new places, talking on the phone – all fairly small signs of anxiety.
However, I also have short periods of intense anxiety that last a few weeks – and involve borderline agoraphobia, sensory overload, exhaustion, lethargy, not wanting to ‘people’ at all, and an overall sense doom. These periods are always triggered by an event that stresses me out, which leads to overwhelm, which leads to no self-care, which leads to more stress, which leads to more anxiety, and I’m a sobbing mess. It’s the Anxious version of ‘If You Give A Mouse A Cookie’.
This session of World-Ending-Anxiety-of-Doom was brought to you by terrible, horrible, very very bad, boundaries. You know how I’ve talked about not being able to ‘fix’ people, here, here, and here? Well, I learned that lesson (again). Sometimes you have to walk away from people and situations that are draining you, no matter how much you want to believe that it will eventually change. I’m such a work in progress and I need to take my own advice more often because I give very good advice. It’s just – I have an unlimited belief in people and I care and I’ll even admit it, I can be a bit naive and too optimistic for my own good. Anyway lesson here – know when to walk away.
Part of my anxiety is hating silence (it feels oppressive and suffocating) but also not wanting loud or busy noise. Calming music is usually my go-to at times like these. However, during Christmas, someone posted a Harry Potter ASMR video and it. was. awesome.
What is ASMR you ask?
You know the classic Yule log video that all the TVs play around Christmas? It’s like that only way more awesome.
ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response and it’s a euphoric experience that is usually triggered by visual and digital stimulus.
There are all kind of videos that can create this feeling (Bob Ross’s painting videos are actually quite good for this!). There’s your classic nature sounds, soothing whispers, soft talking, but the ones that I am in love with are ambient sounds that allow me to mentally create a different environment for myself.
I really love this ocean thunderstorm.
Harry Potter ambient sounds are my thing right now. I’m letting my geek flag fly.
The Harry Potter ASMR videos give you a lovely scene to look at and then add in the sounds you would encounter if you were there. One of my favorites is the Hogwarts Library which has the ambient noise of pages of a page flipping, the sound of writing, a fireplace, and rain. My second favorite is the Hufflepuff Common Room – a cheery little fireplace, birds happily chirping, and wood creaking. The Forbidden Forest is also a great one – howling wind, thunderstorms, and crickets. The videos aren’t static either, paintings move, light shifts and changes, doors open, and flames flicker. Dementors, ghosts, and a Patronus sometimes streak across the screen as well.
I’m also going to share a secret with you. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan you might understand – Littlefinger’s Brothel is my favorite non-Harry Potter one. I know. A brothel. There’s even a few quite seductive sighs in the video. I love the giggling, soft singing, and outside noise – super relaxing, don’t judge me!