My New Relationship with my Anxiety
I would never ever claim to be any kind of an expert on anxiety issues. There are so many individuals out there with far greater anxiety issues than I. If so, a doctor’s knowledge is definitely required there.
But if my experience speaks to you today, then I can celebrate! And my anxiety over hitting publish on this post may subside slightly. (ha!) Ya feel me?
So I’m speaking to you, friend, if you have mild to moderate anxiety, maybe you haven’t even had it “diagnosed” per se, but you struggle with an abundance of worry and anxious feelings on a regular basis. Or maybe like me, you have had it diagnosed but want to learn how to manage it through mindfulness and natural remedies. Then stick around! Let’s be buds.
Anxiety and worry are genuine joy suckers!
I’ve always struggled with keeping my anxious thoughts at bay. In fact, I think my anxiety is what has fueled some of the decisions in my life from trying to force rapid weight loss to impulse relationships. My desire to be accepted comes from the basic needs of humans that we need relationship!
– Sidenote, my friends, if you are not cultivating and growing your deepest relationships right now, that’s a good place to start especially with symptoms of anxiety in mind. -including your relationship with yourself.
Over 4 years ago, my husband and I experienced a relational trauma. In the midst of it, we had our first son. Oh the emotions, the hormones, the hell of it all, really. And yet the incredible joy… our son was a beautiful gift. IS a beautiful gift! And our marriage has mended beautifully as we continue to grow together, we have God to thank for that. But ever since that year, anxiety has been caging my soul – worse than ever before. I mean, that’s the most literal way I can truthfully describe it. I’m sure you can relate!
I’m sure I had post-partum anxiety, but it was so mixed with life at that point, it all blends together. But I definitely experienced post-partum anxiety again after my daughter was born last year. And it hit HARD. I felt crazy. I felt like I didn’t recognize myself. I was myself, still, setting unusually high standards for myself, but I was never able to keep them. Depression kicked in. And all throughout this time, I continued to live my life at a break-neck speed! Pushing forward, pushing, always pushing on to the next new thing.
Some days were fine, some days were awful.
To be honest, I’m coming down from a couple of high-anxiety days here again! Just being transparent with you here! I think it’s a disposition I’ll always have to be on the offensive toward. But it’s learning the tools to get through each day with it while thriving and living in full color, even still!
Anxiety is the Symptom – the Sign that something needs to change.
Last year, while reading Mark Manson’s book, a series of chapters helped me to realize that negative feelings aren’t always a bad thing. They’re the body’s response – a messenger to tell you something is not right and needs to be confronted.
Mind = Blown. Why on earth had I not made this simple connection before!
I guess my counselor mentioned it too, a couple of times, but it took some research and self-discovery of my own for it to sink into my being.
I was spending so much time FIGHTING my anxiety! Bashing it back down. “No, I will not be anxious!” Positive thoughts! And what I was doing was creating this volcano of anxiety continually building up inside of myself.
Want a therapist’s perspective on this issue? I thought this article was helpful.
The thing is, our bodies are amazing things. Our feelings and emotions serve as signals and messages, alerting us to when we need to pay special attention to things. For example, the pain of a stubbed toe requires us to immediately look, check to make sure the toenail is intact, and that nothing is broken or bleeding, and then to act accordingly. Anxiety, which comes at many levels and in many “shapes and sizes” for many people, can serve as a strong message that something much much deeper is going on in your body and mind.
This is why, if you symptoms of anxiety are severe, I’ll add my disclaimer here that you probably need to seek medical help.
Perhaps your body is sending a simple message that it’s not okay with the way things are – you need to take better care of yourself! Whether you need more relationship in your life, better fuel (food), a healthier environment in general – listen to the signals and take them into consideration.
At some points in this past year, my anxiety levels have gone up to what I consider to be a “level 10”. For me, that is. Everyone is different. For me, my body tightens, I feel short of breath and lightheaded, I usually feel nauseous a headache can start to develop. I even have been known to get anxiety-induced migraines.
Typically in these instances, I need to make a major life change. I need to stop, pay attention to my body, realize the messages it’s sending me, and take action accordingly. Typically, it’s a sign that I’m trying to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, and I simply cannot sustain the weight of that any longer. Sometimes it’s a combination: Recently, my anxiety has been stemming from several things. Late night work deadlines, up early the next morning to try to fit more in before the kids wake up, kids didn’t sleep well, finances are low, weight gain, relationship stress, car needs work… I mean, pick your stressor, right?
And it might take some effort to make these changes. In some situations, it may even require some major life change. But start taking action. Listen to your body.
I’ve found so many benefits in positive thinking. I mean, it’s positivity talk alley over here a lot, folks! I’m all about it. It’s a lifesaver, a game changer. But when I listen to my body to the root of what’s causing the anxiety, speaking positive words may put a band-aid on the symptoms, but solving the real root issues may require definite action I may or may not enjoy. Difficult conversations, challenging changes to routine or home or work environment. Etc.
I highly recommend this simple meditation on Making Friends with Anxiety. It helps me to step out of my thoughts long enough to notice my body – maybe it will help you step outside of yourself to help you notice what your anxious feelings are really trying to tell you based on how your body is feeling.
So my new relationship with anxiety? It’s realizing that anxiety is not my enemy, it’s but a symptom. A reminder to look inside and check in on my health. In another post you’ll learn some of my physical tools I use on a daily basis that help manage mild to moderate anxiety – and how I manage mind totally drug-free. But first – to set the stage with a new mindset, a new relationship with your anxiety.
I realize that with a post on something like anxiety, I’m bound to get mixed reactions! I get that! We all have different stories. What works for me may totally confuse you, even frustrate you, but then again, reading this may be just what you have been looking for. If so, this post is for you. I love you all and hope that my perspective is maybe just what you needed to hear today.
NEXT UP: Holistic Tools and Natural Remedies I use that have turned my anxiety around!
Love to all!
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