Recently, I came to a startling revelation: My circumstances were keeping me small and weak. I was making excuses for my behaviour and blaming it on the anxiety.“You don’t need to take that medication. I’ve never seen you anxious; you’ll be fine without it.”
This is true, to a certain extent. No, I won’t pass out on the floor without my Prozac keeping me whole. But I’d much rather live a blissful life, free from fear and overwhelm, with some semblance of normality. It allows me to come back to the surface and breathe for a while.
My partner didn’t understand why I couldn’t just calm down and count to three when I started to get upset. Or why I second guessed and overanalysed every single situation. And the fact that he didn’t get it was almost as frustrating as he must be with me and my constant mood swings.
Let’s get one thing straight: if I could quit my anxiety, I would have done so by now. I don’t panic, spaz out, and blow up on people by choice. Trust me, I wish I could be that calm, cool and collected girl that didn’t make every mountain into a molehill. My anxiety comes in waves, but it can be debilitating. My constant meltdowns and panic attacks can be draining to not only myself, but to everyone else in my life.
This concept is difficult to grasp for those who have never lived with a mental ailment. If you had a physical illness, you would treat it, right? Take diabetes for example; checking your glucose levels, managing your sugar intake and medication would just be a natural part of life. You wouldn’t judge yourself for lack of willpower and control and neither would others.
Now take anxiety; it’s about a very real, chemical imbalance that controls your perception, brain, and flight or fight response. Same logic applies.
In the beginning, I fought the idea of meds, thinking they were for the weak who just couldn’t deal with life. I hate that I rely on medication to deal with normal problems without freaking out. I am afraid that the unmedicated me is the “real” me, and I don’t like that girl very much.I have become a pro over the past nine years at disengaging with reality when my emotions are too overwhelming. I refuse to cry, an act of weakness and loss of power. I often find myself holding my breath, waiting for the storm to pass. Forgetting to breathe, to really breathe. A coping mechanism, which ironically does more harm than good.
When you block out anxiety or grief or shame, you are inevitably blocking out joy and happiness and acceptance. Our brains can’t just numb out the bad feelings and only feel the good. To live fully means to feel the whole range of human emotions: the good, the bad, and everything in-between. Time was passing so quickly. It was because I hadn’t been present to fully experience it all. – New Wifestyle
Anxiety is unpredictable, confusing and intrusive. If you too suffer, I encourage you to be gentle and take care of yourself. Don’t keep your emotions bottled up, hiding behind guilt and shame. You deserve to be happy and healthy.
There is a myth that people with anxiety should just “get over it.” To the person feeling the effects of anxiety, it IS very real and can be frustrating, upsetting and scary. I do realize the things I worry about are ridiculous. Just because you don’t understand doesn’t mean my fears aren’t real.
Anxiety can be like quicksand; the more you do to try to alleviate the situation, the deeper you sink. Certain statements meant to ease my nerves can instill a greater sense of panic:
“Calm down. Everything is going to be fine.” “Just snap out of it.” “Stop being so emotional.” “Why are you acting so weird today?” “Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop being a victim.” “It’s just a phase, you’ll grow out of it”
But one statement that a close friend made last week really hit home:
“You make the choice to have a positive attitude. No one else can do that for you. You may not be able to control every situation and its outcome, but you can control your reaction and how you deal with it.”For those of us held back by limitations and boundaries, realize, we can’t choose choose the cards dealt in life. But my anxiety is not an excuse to sit back idly and let life happen to me; it is all the more reason to pick myself up, work hard, dream big, and never touch the ground.
The beauty of life is you get to create the real you; to consciously decide to be in less pain, to be present, to stop feeling sorry for yourself. This will be a lifelong battle, but one I am more than willing to fight to the end.
Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change. Every day, you wake up with the ability to mold your outlook and your circumstances. And today, I choose happy.