I recently asked on my Instagram stories for some ideas on what to write about. One person got back to me and said, “how do you manage your anxiety?”
I thought, great, thats a topic I can share so much on.
But I would be lying if i said I knew how to ‘manage’ it, because most days its far from managing, sometimes I feel like my anxiety manages me.
I should start from the beginning though, the first time I learned that I was “anxious” which later turned into a diagnosed “Generalised Anxiety Disorder” with “Panic Disorder”.
I would say I always knew or felt like I was an anxious child, and my mother did not shy away from telling me that I was ‘difficult’ and fearful of most things growing up. But it wasn’t until I entered my 14th year that i started experiencing anxiety and panic attacks on the regular. At the time no doctor would diagnose me until 5 years later, I was 19 and a good friend of mine at the time forced me to see another doctor for a second opinion. It got to a point where I would come to her crying fearful of almost every little thing. I stopped driving my car, attending university lectures, socialising with friends because every single day was a struggle with panic attacks, irrational thoughts, feelings.
Recently a friend described me as ‘calm’ and I almost fell off my chair.
Who me? Calm?
Woah! I had never heard those words used to describe me ever, or more accurately I had never seen myself in such light. It made me think, was all this nervous and anxious energy I felt only what I was noticing and feeling internally, or was I still holding onto old versions of myself, the voice of my mum echoing in my ear… on the outside was I was in fact cool as a cucumber? Calm and collected?
I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I have an intense fear of flying. There isn’t a single flight I have taken in my life where I haven’t experienced a panic attack. Anxiety for me is very much tied in with my panic attacks. But it’s also related to the people and things I surround myself with. I learnt very recently that weeding out toxic people from my life helped my anxiety levels. I think this relates to being an empath; I absorb other peoples energy instantly. I also stopped denying myself the need for self – care. I turned it into a priority. I allowed myself “me-time” and push aside any “mummy guilt” or human guilt I had towards it.
As a mental health condition/disorder I don’t think I will ever be anxiety – free. I think some personality types are just more prone to it than others. I am a strong believer that it is both nature and nurture that contributes to our mental health. Faith and spirituality have helped me become less anxious, but even as a spiritual and religious person I am not completly anxiety or panic free.
A friend I made online recommended this book/app to me recently and I couldn’t thank her enough for it. Visit the link below. The number of times I have opened this app up in the middle of the night to help me over come irrational thoughts and feelings is insane. I even made my husband listen to some of the audios with me and he started implementing the dialogue from them whenever he started seeing me in an anxious state.