Well Hello There!
How are you doing?
Just being completely candid; I’ve felt tired, mentally and physically. I couldn’t find the inspiration to even write. I barely could get myself to care about my homework that was due— in all honesty, I missed several assignments. I have been having panic attacks driving ever since my car accident a month ago when my car was totaled and I don’t even like to go into crowded grocery stores right now. Anxiety (and the other endless mental illnesses I have) have had a tight grip on me for about two weeks now. But finally it’s lifting a little bit. The silence isn’t as scary. Breathing is a lot easier today and the world looks a little brighter.
That’s when I realized how much control anxiety can have over someones life. What better way to learn than personal experience? So while insomnia kept me up for days the last few weeks, I spent hours researching, listening and watching videos about anxiety. I’m finding the answers I needed to know and I feel they are worth sharing.
A little anxiety is good for all of us, right? We understand our fight or flight response has kicked in and that means physical danger is nearby. But what if your body kicks into this adrenaline rushed state of mind when there isn’t any physical, real danger nearby? That’s just one half of how anxiety feels. Constantly
Than there is worry. A little worry is normal. Most people worry about finances, plans, work, money, health, etc… the normal parts of life. But when we begin to experience emotional distress from our pervasive, excessive, uncontrollable worries; and we’ve reached the other half of what anxiety feels like. Painful both emotionally and physically.
Those that live with anxiety know exactly what I mean when I say we live in a state of mind that’s constantly experiencing a fight-or-flight response; only there isn’t a reason for it. Just a clenching tight chest, shortness of breath & physical exhaustion. Our thoughts, emotions and physical response have been kicked into high gear and sometimes it’s from tasks that make no sense like simply shopping at the store, being out with friends or without any reason at all.
Eventually anxiety caused me to lose complete control over my own thinking and I couldn’t stop the excessive worrying about everything which eventually led me to feel most comfortable when I was alone, isolated from the world. I knew if I was alone– than I have a lesser chance of encountering anymore painful panic attacks. The fear of anxiety is so real and it holds me, along with many others, back from experiencing the fulfilling parts of life. Someone once said, “Anxiety is explained most simply like you’re drowning, but there is no air for you to breathe”. I think that’s a spot-on explanation.
Eventually though, we all stop and think: “What kind of life am I living, What am I getting out of living like this ? How much longer can I go on like this?”
I know anxiety can be debilitating and take control of every aspect in your life– social life, jobs, friendships, dreams and aspirations.. simply everything.
But what if we decide today that it doesn’t get to do that anymore. Making this change is not going to be easy, it’s going to take a lot of work. But it’s something I am working on everyday and even seeing the littlest bit of progress has kept me hungry to learn more and more about the ways I can remove this anchor from my foot that’s kept me drowning for far too long. I know that if I can do it, anyone can do it.
The moment I decided I needed to become proactive in managing my anxiety and start building the courage to ask for help was when I became a mother. I couldn’t stand the thought of letting my anxiety control me when I’m in charge of raising a little one. So finally, I sought help, went to therapy religiously, became more educated about anxiety disorders and although I’m nowhere near perfect– I continue to work on managing anxiety day by day using the skills I learned when I first started getting help. Even if I take three steps back, I’m still moving forward from that debilitating place that anxiety once held me in. I forget during these hard times that I’ve been here before, that I have the skills to be resilient. And isn’t it amazing the incredible amount of strength and hope that we can all tap into to during pain?
It is possible to change and control your anxiety. Step by Step and little by little; YOU will see progress.
What’s worked for me when I’m anxious? good question.
The list is always being refined as I make breakthroughs or regress.
But I still force myself to find something positive to focus on.
These little steps below are what I’ve found to be helpful for me:
- I started to write what I was grateful for. It sounds cliche, but changing your worrisome state of mind into a more positive one is powerful.
- I started to drink more water. and I hate water..
- “Be kind to my mind..” is my personal mantra. It reminds me to be patient with myself because I’m doing the best I can. It stops me from entering the cycle of worrying.
- I remember to rest, often. With insomnia, my body can get in bad shape if I don’t put it to rest.
- The present moment is more than enough. I refuse to stay stuck in the past or future.
- Slow down my breathing– mindfulness is the most powerful tool for me in regards to anxiety.
- I Shut off the stimulants– no phone, computer, tv. Just the moment I’m in.
- I ignore the negative self talk and excessive thoughts by reconnecting with myself. Even if that sounds crazy, talking to yourself really does help!
This website below gives some really good information on anxiety, the science behind it and most importantly– a variety of ways to cope with it. I hope you take a few minutes to check it out. I think you’ll find at least one thing useful! Education can be such a great motivation. I found it helpful to learn, study and listen about anxiety for a long period of time until I started to find strategies that worked. Understanding anxiety helped me control it immensely (link below)
“This Way Up” (About Anxiety)
Sometimes pain prevents us from understanding our purpose. I know in the pit of this darkness that hope seems so unattainable. But hold on because you have a bright and amazing future on the other side of this challenge. You have all the courage you need right inside of you to make a decision and control this “giant”. — it doesn’t need to hold us back anymore. The real point of me sharing this story is not to bring focus to me or my story exclusively. It is to show how taking the courageous step to reach out for help changed my life tremendously and changed my life quickly. It will do the same for you!
None of us are alone in this battle. My anxiety issues are still extremely relevant and I deal with the battle on a daily basis. But the battle now is one that I embrace. We all have different characteristics and challenges–mine just happens to be an anxiety disorder….(or two or three other disorders if we’re being honest). Don’t forget your purpose. We can’t disover it without a little pain.
If you believe you can, you can. You’re stronger than you know and braver than you think.