I feel like I’ve been trying to write this for awhile. But to be honest, it’s not always easy to explain or try to make sense of why my mind literally wants to make me miserable, why I feel like I can’t control where it’s going and what the heck that feels like. Cause it doesn’t feel good.
So I’m not writing this to tell someone what to do, to tell them what they feel is right or wrong, or to even give you a solution, but I am writing this to tell you that you’re not alone and that I am doing certain things that are helping. I am putting one foot in front of the other and in some way, I know you can do that too; in whatever way you need.
Since I came out of the womb I think I was a “worrier”. I felt my bedroom was too far from my parent’s growing up so as a kid (not baby or toddler) so I had them put a baby monitor in my room and in their’s just in case something happened and they couldn’t hear me. I wouldn’t sleep under my window. I created a silk, see through cover for my doorway of my room so I could still sleep with my door open but try to keep the wasps out during the summer. I am actually so terrified of wasps that I jumped out of an unparked vehicle (that was my Dad’s) to escape one; which in turn crashed through my Mother’s fence – but that’s a story for a different day. I created a fire escape plan for my family. I wouldn’t stay at friends’ houses. I wouldn’t go to school when I was younger. I hated it, feared it, worried about literally EVERYTHING about it. Until some days I just didn’t and then other days I just did. And then I didn’t and then I did. Some days I was okay, some days I wasn’t. And I must say, so much confusion and suffering has gone on in my life because of the “sometimes is and sometimes isn’t” moments. These feelings came on YOUNG so I will say I’ve spent my entire life trying to sift through them and worst of all; having anxiety about having anxiety. The moment your mind goes in a direction that scares you or feels weird, or you get that ONE negative thought and it spirals because even when I’d come out of that – I’d WORRY about it happening again.
This has come and go. It could be a chemical imbalance, it could be hormonal, or it could just be ME. Who I AM. But I do feel like I have a choice in how I handle the way my mind works, how I handle the way I live IN SPITE of my past and moments of true exhausting worry where I’m led to totally wanting to escape via passing out. We all have a choice and I hope I can shed some light to help you better understand that you DO and you can make it at any moment. You’re always stronger than you think.
It flares up every now and again. Mainly when I let it and then feed it. For example, these last few months it’s been very evident. MAINLY because so much NEW is going on in my life. I’m pushed outside of what feels comfortable everyday. But I say flare up because it does feel like a rash or an illness. If a rash flares up and you keep scratching and scratching, I bet it gets worse. I BET it spreads. I bet it takes over your whole body. THAT is how anxiety has felt for me. It’s taken me to a place where I don’t even recognize myself, where I can’t even tell what’s real and what’s my effed up mind playing tricks on me out of fear and worry (that are also not real btw). It’s tough because just like any aggressive rash, you have to catch it early to really keep it from doing a lot of damage. You can’t feed the beast in other words. You have to learn how to silence it EARLY and QUICKLY before it sets up camp in your brain for who knows how long to make you think who knows what. It’s incredibly tough and again, I’m speaking from MY OWN experiences here.
I’m speaking on what I GO through so in no way am I trying to tell you that if you don’t feel the way I feel, it doesn’t count. One of the HARDEST things about the way I feel sometimes is how isolating it is because I don’t know HOW to even make sense of this to someone else. And often when someone who has no idea how it feels to battle this their whole life tries to tell you it could be this or it could be that — well that’s hard too. Why? Well for me, it creates MORE anxiety in my mind and life making me question who I am!
Hence why I’m writing this. I wanted to get my mind and my life out there. I wanted to remind myself that it’s ok to not be ok, but it’s NOT OK to stay that way. Again, it’s a constant battle and I may lose some fights but I won’t lose the war. I know that. I’m aware of that. And I work on somehow NOT letting myself think about it day in and day out while also thinking about it to stay ahead of it and stay aware of it. Much of what I was doing was filling my head with what if’s. Things I literally couldn’t make sense of. Imagining myself just totally failing, totally falling, totally breaking down into a panic attack during a very comfortable and normal time. Being distant from ones I love to protect myself from having those thoughts. Being halted with overwhelm when it came to literally putting a foot on the floor in the mornings.
And then when I was avoiding growth because well, it would probably make me anxious and question everything in my life and I just wasn’t in the mood that day, I sat down and watched a speech given by Mel Robbins anyway. I know every day, no matter what, I’ll never give up, ever. That I will always come out on the other side, that I have so much to be grateful for, so it was time to start living that way, being in control and feeling the strength to fight off this BS in my brain. I watched a speech and sobbed during the close. She shared how she too had probably come out of the woom a worrier. She had panic attacks often and had been on medication for years and years. She’s now medication free and uses a simple method that literally TRICKS her brain out of the anxiousness.
She counts to 5-4-3-2-1 and CHOOSES what she wants to focus on. Did you know that ACTUALLY your body feels the same sensations when it’s anxious as it does when it’s excited. So really it’s up to YOU to decide which you’ll choose. Now let me inform you that I’ve tried all KINDS of focus exercises and nothing’s worse that expecting something to change after trying it once and when it doesn’t just TOTALLY feeling even more defeated. That’s been me in this area of my life. I finally realized one workout wouldn’t get the weight off and one date wasn’t going to bring me my soul mate (although it kinda did in this case) but I learned that you gotta water and nurture EVERYTHING in life. The same went for this exercise. I couldn’t just keep working through the anxiousness and then stop and hold my breath til it came back. It had to become a daily practice, something I kept my faith in every single second of the day, because over time, things WILL change with commitment and dedication to your better self on the other side.
I will say, I have stopped myself more times in the last week or so and said 5-4-3-2-1 ‘STOP SABOTAGING YOURSELF’ than I have in my whole life. When we ACTUALLY stop and hear what we’re saying to ourselves, or what I’ve been saying to myself lately, I’m literally like disappointed. I’m reminded it doesn’t have to be real unless I want it to be. I say (in my head usually lol!!) “5-4-3-2-1 choose love and not the fear you have from your past.” “5-4-3-2-1 choose to believe you’re strong and you’re alive and well! You can do anything!” or “5-4-3-2-1 you’re EXCITED not full of anxiety” and finally “5-4-3-2-1 do not judge your tomorrow based on today. Grow your life in this moment, don’t kill it!” I’m just naming a few that have been so helpful. Because when Mel Robbins asked what would you think of yourself if a loud speaker was attached to your mind every single day? I thought, I’d think “that’s not who I want to be.”
As I come back to this passage after a few weeks have gone by, I’m happy to report that I THINK being open with myself changed everything. Now I’m so excited to be open with all of you. You know, something like this living inside you can feel debilitating. It’s not fair to question yourself or fear what others will think because you’re not who they thought you were. One of the biggest reasons I was so afraid of ever shedding THIS much light on this is fearing people wouldn’t believe me. CRAZY right? Mainly because I HAVE spent so much of my life finding ways to work around it, avoiding it, actually putting myself down for some of these moments, sweeping them under the rug and putting on the bravest face I could find. For a few years, one that was brought on by alcohol. But you can put on a brave face EVEN when you’re hurting, when you’re healing. It doesn’t have to be because you’re hiding something. But instead you’re owning who you are and taking a step anyway.
I truly have felt a shift in my life since writing this. And I mean it when I say I’ve come along way on a personal growth journey in the last 2 years. But no matter what, we always have to be open to dealing with the next “monster” that knocks on our door, which I really wasn’t doing recently. As much growth as I’ve felt and seen, I still needed to really own this side of my story. And maybe the expression is truly what I needed. To not have it weighing on my heart and soul anymore, to not continue to feel ashamed but start working through the fact that if anxiety is my monster, I’ll grow bigger and stronger. Instead of pretending it’s not there, hiding from it, wishing it away and only SOMETIMES acknowledging it. I’m full blown accepting what I struggle with and therefore — beating it more and more each day. Really it’s in the tiniest moments. I haven’t felt like I was drowning in a few weeks. My smile feels different. I’m happier around my friends, boyfriend, family. I’m making better choices for myself and seeing positive outcomes instead of negative ones. Because you know what worrying all the time can do to you, make you feel like you don’t deserve all the happiness, love and success in the world. But I decided I didn’t want that.
My faith in God has played a huge role. Creating a STRONGER relationship with him and knowing in my heart that whatever it is, I can give it to him. Taking control of my physical health daily with exercise and recently just feeling a difference from even a change in diet is affecting my mind. It’s SO REAL!!! (more on all of this later) Being more open with myself and not being the first to judge myself but the first to lend myself a hand. Also really paying close attention to my energy, my body language, staying really aware of where my mind’s at. But NOT in a way of worrying about worry but in a proactive way of staying in a place that serves me, that is LOVE focused, joy focused and LIFE centered.
Thank you for listening. Let’s go on this wild ride together. I plan on never letting my foot off the gas and pretending it’s gone because monster’s can always come back in the dark if we let our light burn out.