Thanksgiving is tomorrow and Christmas is around the corner. For some, the holidays are exactly as described in the movies: loving families gathered in a warm home filled with love and acceptance. However, that’s not always the case. In fact, the holidays bring out emotional struggles for people who are stuck in a judgemental household or have family that they truly do not get along with. Having to deal with family for a whole day can trigger one’s anxiety, prompting a panic or anxiety attack. To those that have to deal with a household that does not recognize mental illnesses as actual illnesses, here is how a small app can make a big difference:
SAM, an acronym for Self-help Anxiety Manager, is a free app available for download from the App Store and Google Play. SAM was designed by a team at the University of West of England in Bristol. I discovered SAM my junior year of high school, when even the smallest thing would trigger my anxiety. Before I knew of the app, the way for me to deal with my anxiety during an outing was through digging my nails into the palms of my hands or picking at the skin around my nails. With the help of SAM, I was able to battle my anxiety and manage it all by myself.
So what exactly does SAM do? In the app, you can choose to make your own profile or not. You track your anxiety and emotions every day, keeping it on your record. There’s also a folder that provides hotlines for Suicide and Eating Disorders in the UK and the US. The app provides breathing patterns and words of absolute comfort for the attacks that sneak up on you. SAM is a convenient app that has not only helped me, but also the friends that I have recommended it to.
What’s amazing about SAM is that it is absolutely free of cost and free of in-app purchases. I have tried to find many apps in the past that would help me deal with my anxiety and depression, but SAM truly is the best of them all. While SAM is mainly intended for anxiety, it managed to help me deal with my depression too. This app is truly a life saver for those who wish to seek help for their anxiety and depression, but don’t have the money for treatment. With the holidays and all the hardships that go with them coming up, it is ever more important for people to be aware that apps like SAM exist. However, self help apps do not replace the much-needed treatment that only a certified doctor can provide. If you feel as if you need help managing your anxiety or depression, please seek help: whether that be from SAM, a hotline, a physician, or a trusted adult.