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The Anxiety Coping Technique That Turned Into a Passion Project

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You may be thinking, really, another coloring article? But hang in there with me, and let me tell you my story as I reflect back on Mental Health Awareness Month.

About two years ago, I started having anxiety attacks. I felt like I was in a chronic state of stress at work. And to top things off, my partner and I were planning our wedding. Prior experiences had been stressful, but the attacks were new for me; the tight chest, the shaky feeling I had on the inside while finding it hard to move, the migraine after. It was scary and I didn’t know how to help myself or how to tell those who cared about me what I needed for support.

It got to the point where I realized I couldn’t get through this alone — sometimes that realization and acceptance is the hardest part — so I sought out help from a professional. Along with therapy, I tried a range of different coping strategies and now use a combination of them to manage my anxiety. I took a meditation class, I started walking outside more and I started coloring. Coloring became one of the most successful coping techniques I developed. And for a while, I was grabbing every adult coloring book I could find and going through packs of markers like it was my job.

Back at my actual job, I realized I needed a project for myself to feel reinvigorated. Science outreach has always been my passion, but over the years, that passion got farther and farther away from what I spent my time doing at my 9 to 5 position. One night, while coordinating patterns and colors, I had a lightbulb moment for a side hustle.

I thought, what if I designed a coloring book that celebrated women in science and technology careers? And with that, “Super Cool Scientists” was born. “Super Cool Scientists” features 22 amazing women in science, technology, engineering and math careers. A community of people from all over the world have come together in support of the coloring book idea, with a successful Kickstarter campaign and positive feedback to follow.

It’s hard for me to express the deep gratitude I feel for everyone who has supported both me and the project throughout this process. I’m grateful, not just because their support helped get the book designed and published, but also because their support validates something that is so connected to my anxiety. It helped me realize my journey of learning to live with anxiety can also have a positive side. Coloring helped me calm down and it also helped spark an idea that reignited my spirit. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

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Thinkstock via shironosov 

Originally published: July 27, 2017
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