Like millions of people, I suffer from anxiety.
I am one of the lucky ones. Mine is pretty manageable and so far, I’ve been able to cope without drugs.
But if you are like me, sometimes the anxiety takes over your life.
After I had Stella, I suffered from pretty bad post-partum anxiety. I would stay up at night with irrational thoughts of all the ways life could take away my brand new baby. I had a crippling fear of SIDS and would lie awake watching her breathe just to make sure she was still alive. I have a distinct memory of staying up until 3AM planning my escape route in the event of a violent home invasion.Honestly, we are nice people. Who would invade our house?!
But there was a moment a time that I was sure it would happen at any second. And of course, much much worse thoughts too.
I talked with Andrew about it a little but the thoughts in my head were so traumatizing and Andrew had his own experience with anxiety that I didn’t want to project my fears onto him. So mostly, I didn’t talk to him about it.
After a few months, the worst of it went away and though I was at a higher level of anxiety than before Stella, I just dealt with it and moved on. However, after I started working again and put Stella in full-time daycare, the stress flared up my anxiety big time.
After a heart to heart talk with Andrew, I realized I needed to talk to someone. About 3 years earlier I had gone to therapy and just never kept up with it. It was expensive and hard to fit into my schedule and once I got over the hump of some tough times, I just stopped going. But I knew it was time to go back.
I met with my therapist and explained the crazy thoughts and stress I was having and she said, “Yeah, you were having anxiety 3 years ago as well.”
I literally had no idea. I thought I was just going through a tough time and once it was over, I just dealt with it. It wasn’t until she said this that I recognized how I had been suffering from anxiety my whole damn life. From my earliest memories, all throughout childhood, being on my own after I moved out, up until now.
OK, great. I have anxiety. Now what?
Well, it’s different for everyone. But there are proactive ways of managing it.
- Working Out.
I know. I sound like a broken record. But doing 30 minutes of physical activity every day has been proven to lower anxiety levels and reduce the effects of stress. Not to mention, it pumps your endorphins and makes you calmer and happier in general.
Getting a solid 8 hours (or in my case 9-10 hours) every night really helps me feel balanced and reduces anxiety attacks during stressful times.
3. Proactive Crying.
What?! One of the more extreme symptoms of anxiety is an anxiety attack. I used to have them frequently but thankfully, using some of these methods, I have been able to reduce their appearance in my life.
Anxiety attacks suck. Hard core. Everyone experiences them differently but for me, I get so anxious and panicked and it just builds and builds like I’m drowning in my own body until I feel like I’m going to explode.
When the telltale signs of this start and I can feel the anxiety start to build, sometimes I put on the Notebook or a really sad movie and cry it out. And I mean, like CRY. IT. OUT. I make sure I am completely alone for this because I don’t want to feel like I have to hide my emotions and I need to let it all out.
Crying is such a useful outlet for relieving pressure in your life. Have you noticed how amazing you feel sometimes after having a good cry?
Have you ever had a cry hangover? You are so dehydrated and tired because your body finally a way to release the pressure. It’s kind of amazing.
So many people suffer from anxiety and don’t talk about it. They feel like they are going crazy and can’t figure out how to deal. It’s time we talk about this. It’s time we are proactive.
If you know you have anxiety, make sure you are managing it every day. It isn’t something you can just deal with when it rears its ugly head. It’s something you have to manage every single day.
If you suffer from anxiety, I urge you to talk to someone about the way you can cope, and manage it. Reach out to a professional, maybe even figure out if you would benefit from medication.
So, now that I’ve told you my story, tell me yours! Do you have anxiety? I want to hear about it in the comments. Be brave, be bold and share your story.