I’m anxious writing this… Took me over an hour to figure how to begin this post all because I deal with anxiety.
I’ve struggled with anxiety ever since I was a tiny little human. I used to have a street that I called the “nervous street” that was the home stretch to my elementary school. I’d feel my body tense, and my heart rate increase. Some days, I’d even try to convince my mom that I was sick, so I didn’t have to face a school where I felt I didn’t fit in and had very few friends because I was so shy.
My anxiety peaked when I turned 19. My world had already shifted slightly through high school as I was dealing with teen angst, high pressure in my classes, and my dad losing a business due to the recession. But when I turned 19, my whole world was turned upside down, and being a victim of frequent panic attacks, I’m not very susceptible to change.
I turned 19, and decided I couldn’t handle the pressure of moving out of my parents’ house, and in with my serious boyfriend of roughly 4 years. I broke up with him, because I was unsure of what I wanted. I quit my job, dropped out of college, and started making poor decisions.
I was put on anti-depressants, which was frequently thrown back in my face by my so-called friends. I felt like I had lost my mind, and it didn’t help that I had people calling me crazy. It also didn’t help that I was mixing my medication with various substances, including a high volume of alcohol. The two together is a toxic combination.
After a few very rocky years, I’ve been able to separate myself from the people bringing me down; I ended dysfunctional relationships, I put distance between the people who weren’t true friends and myself. I stopped drinking so much, and was able to come off my medication. I pushed myself to get a full time job at an incredible company, with so much opportunity for growth. I’ve mended my relationship with my parents and my sister. I started believing in myself again.
It’s been a long road, and in no way has it been easy. It’s still extremely difficult to get through some days. And I still have a long way to go.
So why am I sharing this? I’ve had some low days lately. I know that we all go through hard times. I wanted to share this with all of you, so that you know that you’re not alone in this. It always makes me feel better to know I’m not the only one, that I’m not insane. I might deal with a more extreme case of anxiety than some, or maybe slightly less than others. But we’ve all dealt with that moment when we don’t know if we can keep pushing through.
I’ve found so many things that help alleviate some of my daily angst. Here are some of my coping methods:
I make lists. All the damn time. It helps me to see the things I need to accomplish, and writing them out helps the tension. And the sense of peace I feel when I cross something off that list is something that can’t be beat.
Doing something that I’m good at ALWAYS helps. Writing sometimes makes me anxious, but in a good way. Creating something takes my mind out of the constant spin, and helps me to focus on something positive. This is different for everyone, but as long as you’re doing something you’re passionate about will create the same outcome.
I’m not going to pretend that I am religious about yoga, but I’ve done it quite a few times, and it’s always proven to help stop the spinning. I meditate whenever I can’t stop thinking. Before bed usually. It eases my mind, and doesn’t make the thoughts go away, but it helps me confront them head on.
4. Positive thinking.
I will preach this to NO end. Positive thoughts attract positive occurrences. It’s impossible to ALWAYS think positive, but being aware of negative thoughts can help begin your change in thought. Removing the toxic negative energy will help to feel more at ease.
5. Being productive.
I’ve had so many weekends where I’m too down to get up. But by staying on the couch for two straight days, I’ve found it only makes it worse. It’s hard to push yourself to get up, get out and do something you enjoy, but being productive takes the focus off what you’re spinning about, and on furthering yourself.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned in dealing with anxiety is that you’re a product of your environment. Surround yourself with good friends, good music, good food. Do the things that make you tick, remember to breathe. Think positive, and if you EVER feel alone, reach out to a good friend and don’t be afraid to let it all out. Remember: we’re all a little crazy.