Anxiety is a thing that I didn't really hear about until 5 years or so.
I always thought it was something that was diagnosed by a doctor. It was a sickness. Right?
When I heard "anxiety" as a younger woman I just figured it meant someone was really, REALLY nervous. I didn't know much about mental illness.
Two years ago I learned a lot about mental illness as I became best buddies with it. :)
Through doctor consults, coaching sessions and reading a lot about mental illness on my own I discovered more about anxiety.
I learned that I had been a classic "anxiety" example for most of my life.
Here's my little caveat though- after all I have learned, I believe that ALL humans are given anxiety to stay safe. Anxiety is a needed human emotion to trigger fear for many good reasons.
I have never been clinically diagnosed with anxiety. My doctors over the years have suspected I may be more anxious than others around me, but it wasn't interfering with my life so we never treated it.
A few examples of why I feel I had more than just regular human anxiety:
I need space during social events with a lot of people. I always find myself looking for a retreat. I'd go to a larger room where there were more seats. I'd go walk around outside to see more open space. I'd find a quiet corner and just talk with 1 person versus a group. I offer to help in the kitchen to have my space. If there isn't space available to me, I will find a reason to leave the event early.
I am always thinking days, years and decades ahead in my brain. Causing my body to feel emotions provoked purely from thoughts and fears that have zero foundation.
My thoughts of past actions and scenarios are always swirling in my mind. I'm always rethinking what I did, how it could have been different if I'd acted differently for better or worse. This causes my body and mind to deal with emotions that are completely irrelevant to my present and often causes unnecessary fatigue and mental stress.
I find myself struggling to fall asleep at night due to thoughts of the next day, even though I've written down what I need to do.
My brain often plays the same line of a song over and over and over for hours, sometimes days. I'll wake up in the middle of the night and it will still play the stupid song. I'll find myself humming the same segment of a line of music for hours while gardening or hiking. Like my brain is stuck, so the song is stuck.
When I visit hallowed places, especially historical places where many people died or are buried or when I go to funeral viewings I can hardly control my emotions. I feel a pressure all around me of the sadness and the trial that were experienced or are currently being experienced. I often have tears running down my face just stepping into a historically significant place, a place that changed humanity's future.
When faced with a new situation, new city, new job, trying out for a play, singing in front of people, sharing a comment at church, etc I don't just feel butterflies in my belly, I literally feel my brain go fuzzy and I can't catch my breath. I can hardly speak. In my youth I turned down MANY opportunities to be part of amazing things due to this feeling. Even into my adulthood I didn't push through some hard things to achieve an important goal due to feeling so stuck it just felt too hard, and I figured it must not be for me.
For MANY years, too many years I didn't recognize any of this as forms of anxiety. I just figured I get really nervous or can't control my emotions. :) Which was true for me then. And it was ok.
But in recent years, as I have sought growth and change in its highest forms, I have had to come face to face with this Anxiety in my life. This overwhelming feeling of energy that overcomes me at times. Sometimes more than once a day.
I have had to try to define its meaning in my life so that I can not let it hold me back from anything.
I have needed to learn to protect myself from some of its more damaging effects if left to run rampant. I have needed to call it what it is and then learn to live alongside it and to understand it and then learn coping processes so that I can live my best life.
Through the past two years I have worked through PTSD and found many amazing coping methods, that have also helped with anxiety highs. My brain has been sick many times with PTSD, which then inhibits my natural ability to withstand anxiety moments that inevitably come.
So, I have had to learn methods to also recognize anxiety highs and then learn how to bring it down to a livable level.
Through all of this, I have learned some very effective methods that I hope some of you will find useful in your life or the life of a friend or family member to tame anxiety highs. They are:
Brain dumping. Just writing as long as I need to to get everything out of my brain onto paper. Assigning my thoughts to paper in my own handwriting allows my brain to somewhat accept that it no longer has to remember all of those things. At least, for awhile.
Making pros and cons lists when making hard decisions. This takes the emotion out of it and I can clearly see what I need to do, for the goals I'm trying to reach.
Doing Yoga 2-3x a week. Yoga by its very ancient design, was a way to channel the human body energies and help them FLOW smoothly through the body and give us inner strength and power to deal with all that life throws at us. I use my online gym's Yoga studio most of the time for this.
Taking a warm shower with an edifying speech or music on for 15-20 minutes.
Time blocking my time so I can see with my eyes that I DO have time for everything.
My chiropractic physician prescribed me a natural supplement called "RelaxMaxx" that is only available to physicians. You can't just buy it online. It is clinically proven to be just as effective, if not better than typical anxiety medication--- only without any bad or lasting side effects. I use this sometimes daily during highly emotional weeks, and sometimes I don't use it for a month or longer when there haven't been any emotional triggers or PTSD moments.
When faced with something new, I take 5 deep breaths using the 4.4.8 method. Breathe in for 4 counts. Hold it for 4 counts. Exhale for 8 counts. This centers my mind on the breath, which brings me back to the present and helps me realize I am in no real danger.
I have learned to simply change the story I am telling myself about a situation I feel anxious about. Literally learning to change the construction of the situation to better suit my needs and my memories. Example: STORY 1: "I will be late to my daughters speech at the school, and she will be so sad, and I'll be so mad that I didn't plan better and she'll remember forever that I was late!" STORY 2: "I did my best, but I will still be late to my daughters speech. It is what it is. She will be SO happy that I was there! And will remember forever that I came to support her despite all that was going on today. I am a great mom." This practice has by FAR been the most life changing. Changing the story I am telling myself, has change what memories I construct about an event, thereby changing the amount of instances that my brain feels compelled to recall due to imperfection/trying to do better.
To fall asleep at night I either use the 4.4.8 breathing method for 3-4 minutes, or I simply turn on my CALM app, and put in my earphones and listen to a sleep story or sleep music. These stories and music are specifically designed to trigger your brain into restful patterns and wistful focus so that you can fall asleep. Works so good!
Inviting Jesus Christ into my life each day and asking Him to help me do everything I'm doing that day. To be beside me, to prompt me in my daily needs and comfort me when things are hard. If you aren't religious, but are curious as to my faith, visit ComeUntoChrist.org.
NOT taking on the burdens of others, simply being compassionate and empathetic, but not taking on their energy or their issues to be my own. This one has been SO hard for me to learn. I didn't even realize I was doing this until I had a major breakdown and discovered that the weight I was carrying wasn't even my own burdens, but the burdens of others.
When I go to social events or big work events or church events, I feel completely free to take some time in my car if needed afterward to decompress, sort out any emotional baggage I picked up, and to meditate to bring my body and mind back together after being strained. I also will look for open spaces and good energies to stick with. :)
Through counseling and self awareness and more reading and just wonderful personal revelation from God, I have learned that my thoughts two years ago that my "brain was broken" and that I was defective as I struggled to understand and treat and heal from PTSD and the subsequent anxiety highs were ERRONEOUS.
I am not broken.
I am simply a spiritually sensitive person.
The energies I was feeling as a young person when I felt compelled to find open spaces were the energies of literal spiritual energies all around me. Energies from the humans, animals, even nature.
Energies I feel in highly spiritual places, places of significant death, new death and new birth bring me to tears as I feel the heaviness of the energy there.
When I do work (counseling healthy lifestyle change, teaching business courses, religious work, counseling my children) that is affecting generations I also feel highly anxious and often get to stop and breathe and talk myself through the situation.
New babies' energy often captures my energy like nothing else does. I could hold a newborn baby for hours upon end, just soaking up their pure light and pure energy. Its real my friends! Newborn babies and toddlers are FILLED with light and energy that they are willing to share. It has become so beautiful to me.
I no longer fear the feeling of the buzzing or the breathlessness or the pressure.
I now know that it is a high spiritual awareness of the energies of life and past lives around me.
A gift that I get to have to know that these spiritual things are LITERAL. And to share this with you and those around me.
As I've been looking through this lens of Spiritual sensitivity versus Broken from mental illness and anxiety, I have been able to affectively love myself and those around me with more pure light and true love than ever before. I'm no longer embarrassed by my emotional response to things. I know it is simply my body's response to an energetic experience.
You might be batting your eyes and feeling like this is a bit "woo-woo." But that's ok. You aren't me and you haven't experienced my story. Nevertheless it is REAL.
And I feel so blessed to understand anxiety better and to have this beautiful awakening to my soul and heart!! I hope that if you struggle with anxiety or know someone who does, that you can share my story and my methods and give them hope and light and love.
PS. If you are a mom who would love to learn more about working from home (anxiety peeps often LOVE to work from home due to ultimate flexibility and space!) get on my waiting list for my newest course coming out in Feb 2020 teaching how to build an online business from home by clicking this BUTTON >>>>