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Me and Anxiety

Me and Anxiety

As someone who grew up in an environment not talking about mental health, I had to learn a lot about it all on my own. Beginning, In the beginning, I would do a lot of self-care days filled with bubble baths, glasses of red wine, and some takeout. It was great for a day or two; however, by day 3 I would be back to my anxious self. One of the main issues for me however was I wouldn’t notice till I was so far gone in a bad spiral 10 10 days later. This process would constantly repeat itself over and over again. Till summer 2020 when I decide to break the cycle. 

Before I even continue I want to be very clear I don’t have all the answers or know all the correct things with anxiety. Hell, I am still even learning about mine. Even after getting help over the years I still have low moments and days where I feel like I have taken 15 steps back on my progress. Total transparency I have had to up my therapy sessions, my sleep schedule is awful, and I have had an anxiety attack as recently as a month ago. The truth is life is this constantly changing evolving process and it’s been no hidden secret that I have been going through a fuck ton of change. As much as the setback and change hurt I am forever grateful for it and the support system that has got me through it. I am still navigating the whole process but without it, I wouldn’t have taken such a big dive into what am I doing to myself; am I being more self-destructive or more self-building? 

After years and months of progress, I felt like I was staring over. I remember the first sessions I spent my entire time trying to validate to my therapist why I needed to be there. Saying all the big things I’ve been through (I call them the big 3..well now the big 5). Partly because I was half trying to convince myself that I needed to be there and also half because I wanted her to say that this was all in my head and I was fine. What she did do was thank me for taking the step in deciding to regain control of my life and choosing to get help. And for the first time in a long time, I felt safe and that whatever I was going to say wasn’t going to be judged. Now I laugh at the fact that I thought I never needed it. 

My second therapy session was where we took a deep dive into my anxiety and other mental health struggles. We spoke about what High function anxiety is. For those who do not know high functioning anxiety is typical anxiety however tend to hide it and appear to function normally in society. Normally I can hide it pretty well; however, I have my own various forms of “ticks” or signs that I am going through it. I’ll play with my jewelry repeatedly, I’ll fall in and out of conversations, and my mood shifts. However, when It is really bad I don’t sleep, if I do sleep I wake up more exhausted, I clench my teeth, my legs shake, and a few other things. It sounds crazy but one of my biggest problems is I don’t always notice when my anxiety gets too bad till I am already too late. 

I know I have spoken about this before but I also feel like I have just brushed up on the surface of it. A lot of people just say don’t stress about the things you can’t control; hell I have even said that before. It isn’t as simple as that; even just focusing on the things that I can control is not an easy fix. However one of the big things that my therapist has me working on and focusing on is my daily habits. Creating habits and setting u patterns isn’t the easiest thing when your anxiety is front and center. You are often worried that taking extra time to do your toner or moisturizer. However, it is one of those things that I have to do, I need to take the extra time to do it as habits are things I can control. As well as setting up healthy habits help me feel in control of my life even if it is just or 30 minutes in the morning. One of the biggest things my therapist has drilled into me is developing healthy habits and turning them into my lifestyle. 

Habits aren’t just things you do daily like washing your face, drinking your coffee, or even making sure you paid the bill that is due this week. Your habits should also include things that lift you up and encourage you. Looking in the mirror every morning and telling yourself you can handle this. Taking a moment to just breathe and reflect on what you have to do as well as what you want to do. Lately, I’ve been trying to fix my routine and habits; as clearly they weren’t working before for me. One of the biggest changes for me was trying affirmations waking up each day telling myself, “I am strong. I am confident. I can do anything I put my mind to. I can and I will get through this. I am complete all by myself, and I will live a life I am proud and happy in”. It may sound crazy to some people, but since May I started having confidence issues, an increase in self-doubt, and being unsure about myself. 

One of the big things that have always been a constant struggle has been talking about my struggles and what I am going through. By talking about it even if I have to talk about it a million times helps me sort through all the emotions and confusion I may be feeling. Acknowledging the emotions as crazy as it sounds has helped me get through them a lot easier than pushing them all the way down to the back of my mind until I was ready to face them. Bringing them forward helped me figure out what caused me to be anxious or upset me. By facing my emotions and feelings I was even able to find my voice and express when things were bothering me, and even acknowledge when I felt off. I know it sounds crazy to think it a big accomplishment to acknowledge your emotions, but growing up expressing your emotions was not something we normally did. 

After everything hit, my anxiety was at an all-time high and just continued to climb. Therapy was a great escape from it all even though my anxiety felt like it was out of control, I didn’t feel like I was helpless. It was the best thing in my life for a long time because I finally felt like I could regain control of my life and rebuild from the rubble that was my old life. After many sessions, talks, soul searching, travel, and even taking some risks I started regaining my confidence and getting back to holding my head high. More importantly, I felt like I wasn’t spiraling out of control. As happy as I am now and as great as I feel there are days when I feel like I can take on anything and there are days where I fall apart on my bedroom floor multiple times. 

I know my struggles don’t just go away overnight they take time and I’m still working on myself and them. Each day is a new adventure with its own challenges that I’m no longer terrified of facing. I know my anxiety is something that I will live with forever but I also know I have the tools both short-term and long-term to get me through it. And because of that, I know that I’ll be okay. I’ll still have moments and days of self-doubt, self-sabotage, and internal struggles but that is who I am. I am grateful for it because each day I learn a little bit more about myself and how strong I am even when I don’t think so. So yes living with anxiety can be the biggest killer but having the tools and a strong, supportive, and understanding support system makes a world of wonders. Each person has their own struggles that they deal with it doesn’t mean they are broken or a lost cause or even no happy. Just mean they may need a little bit more love and attention. If you are like me make sure you’re giving yourself that love and attention as well because we do neglect ourselves and sometimes it is too late. My only hope is if you read this and you feel the slightest connection you stop tearing yourself down and find how you can build yourself up. If you are struggling or need someone to talk to I’m here for you unofficial internet big sister. -KMH

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