Anxiety Is A Beast
I have felt very strongly that I needed to write about anxiety. When I sat down to write, I started googling “anxiety”, I read some of the articles, the definition, the treatments and such. But nothing I read seemed to do it justice, and so I finally decided just to write about my own experience into and out of anxiety in hopes that it will help you or allow you to help someone you love that has anxiety.
I didn’t always have anxiety, it came to the surface as my symptoms from post concussion syndrome got worse. My memory was getting worse and I struggled in various areas of my life because of it, the end result? A horrific case of social anxiety, I rarely left my house alone or talked on the phone for over a year.
What did my anxiety feel like? It was suffocating. It often felt like I couldn’t slow down my breathing and my heart would race like I just ran sprints. I would struggle to think about anything except what was worrying me. The thing is, what was worrying me was often so far fetched and extremely unlikely to ever happen. That is why anxiety is so hard for others to understand, because we sound a little “crazy” in the moment.
Anxiety partnered with depression, also brought lots of tears and irrational thoughts. Most of the time, I couldn’t even tell my husband why I was crying or what I was sad about, not because I didn’t want to, but typically because I didn’t know. It really is horrible and I often felt completely out of control of my emotions and my body.
Anxiety prevented me from doing anything new, I couldn’t even go to a new grocery store or go to the gym I had gone to for years. I was definitely not going to tackle any new goal or dream.
If this sounds familiar to you in anyway, I am so sorry. That means that either you, or someone you love, suffers from anxiety, and it is a beast to get rid of. I’d also like to take a minute to share my thoughts on tweens/ teens and anxiety. I feel like this is becoming extremely common and my hope is that it doesn’t get brushed aside as just another teen thing. If you can help your child recognize and handle anxiety when it comes, those tools will stick with them for life; wouldn’t that be a great gift to give them? They are going through things that we never had to go through. If something bad happened to us at school, it passed after a few days. If something bad happens to our kids at school, it will have been shared hundreds of times through social media before they even leave the building. When we were growing up, we maybe compared ourselves to the pretty girls in the Seventeen magazine; our kids? They are surrounded by beautiful people posting about their perfect life on social every day. Everyone seems to have more talent, more beauty, more money and it is in our kids faces day in and day out. So do they have anxiety? Most likely yes. Comparison is the thief of joy, but comparison is also a creator of anxiety.
The thing about anxiety is, it affects your mind and your body, so it is best if you can have a plan in place that helps both. For me, when I feel an attack coming on, what I want to do is crawl in bed, eat ice cream and stop all personal interaction. But something that helps me tremendously is to start writing. I write 10-20 things I am grateful for and I also write about what thoughts I had that started my anxious feelings. Then I go for a walk, there is nothing like letting your feet hit the ground, feeling the sun on your face and listening to something that uplifts and inspires you. I also turn to my scriptures a lot, because here is the thing, when you pray - you are talking to God; when you read your scriptures - God is talking to you.
Something else that is critical to my mental health are my power mottos and “I am” statements. I’ll share some examples, but if you would like help crafting some just for you, lets chat!
Power Mottos (Phrase your current situation in the past tense and phrase your ideal situation in the present tense):
“ I used to be afraid of what people thought about me, but now I am confident in my choices.”
“I used to spend all of our money as soon as we got paid, but I no longer have a scarcity mindset, I am excited to build abundant wealth and I believe that there will always be enough money to meet our needs.”
“In the past I believed that I didn’t have any value to offer others, now I know that God gave me these experiences so that I can help others on their journey.”
“I Am” Statements (take things that you want to be true in your life and speak them into existence)
“I am a successful entrepreneur.”
“I am great at saving money.”
“I workout and eat healthy every day. The weight just keeps falling off me.”
“I add value to my friends and family.”
“I have reached the top of my company and it feels great.”
“I have plenty of money in the bank, and the abundance just keeps coming.”
I do want to make a few things clear, you need to say your personal statements a few times a day so that your brain starts to recognize the emotions, accepts them as truth and relies on them. But you can’t just say them and leave all other daily actions the same. You must work towards them if you want them to come true. But for the sake of relieving anxiety, it will help if you have some good statements ready to go. These days, when I have a negative thought pop up, my brain automatically starts dropping power mottos and “I am” statements to counteract the negativity. It truly is powerful if you can stop the thoughts before they become a full blown anxiety attack.
I’d also like to add that therapy, medication, probiotics (this one is scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety) and coaching (thanks Sarah!) have all helped me get rid of anxiety. So I highly recommend taking a proactive approach if you know you or a loved one suffers from anxiety. There are so many tools out there to help you, but first you must believe that there is hope for you and take action.
In closing I just want to emphasize that anxiety is a real thing and it is horrible to go through, if someone tells you they are feeling anxious, help them through it, don’t belittle their feelings and emotions. And if you suffer from anxiety, share it with someone you love, allow them to support you. And most importantly, clarify how they can best support you or ask your loved one how they most want to be supported. Everyone is different, but from my experience, leaving them alone (or being alone) to dwell in their (your) own anxiety is never a good option. Sometimes just sitting with them (someone) is a huge gift, so don’t be uncomfortable sitting quietly.
Surround yourself with people who will support you and be patient while you try to figure out how to work through it. For years my sweet husband would say things like “It’s all in your head.” “You are overreacting.” “You are ridiculous.” And while I could look back later and realize that his statements were accurate, they were in no way kind or helpful at the moment. We have come a long way. Now he sees it in my eyes as it starts to come on and he asks the right questions and he will kindly say “do you think this may just be anxiety?” Or if I am already having an attack and I am laying on the couch or bed struggling to breath or focus, he can remind me to take deep breaths, refocus my thoughts, take a break from whatever may be overwhelming me. “Crazy” is no longer an adjective that I allow to define me and I hope that you will not allow it to describe you.
Please know that if you don’t know where to turn, I have been through it and I can help you through it. I’d love to help you get rid of the beast known as anxiety, click here to schedule a chat.