Updated: Feb 9, 2019
Anxiety may be making itself present in your life, but you may not even know it’s anxiety. ANXIETY can present itself in many different forms. It may be defined as a feelings of consuming thoughts, excessive worry, fear, uneasiness, nervousness or increased blood pressure. Anxiety may also be followed by panic attacks or lead to obsessive behaviors.
Before I explain anxiety in more depth, let me start by introducing myself. My name is Jennifer, I have anxiety and was diagnosed 17 years ago with depression, along with anxiety, ptsd and agoraphobia. It has been a journey trying to understand my mental illnesses, the roles it plays in my life, and the tools needed to dissipate it.
I remember my first anxiety ATTACK like it was yesterday. It was in the year to come after I had given birth to my daughter and after I had suffered from a breakdown in the months prior. I had been put on depression medication for ‘Postpartum Depression’ and had yet to understand the anxiety piece. This was how it first made itself aware in my life. It was a very scary moment for me as I was driving down the highway with my baby girl in the back seat, I felt like I couldn't breath, my brain was foggy, my pulse was rapid and I was shaking. I was in fear because I had no idea what was happening. I safety got off the road and put the car in park. I can't remember what the trigger (thought) was. Most likely because I was too focused on pulling off the road because I thought I was going to pass out. I was able to focus on my breathing and was telling myself everything was going to be okay. I called my mom immediately and told her what was happening. She told me that she thought I was having a anxiety attack and that I should make an appointment with my physician so that we could talk about care options. Needless to say I have suffered from anxiety and depression since.
My anxiety, unlike my depression, comes in spurts. Meaning it doesn't always make itself present in my life. I don’t often have anxiety attacks or even high anxiety anymore to where I need to take medication for it. I was given a medication and used it only as needed, like if I was having a ruff day and had trouble getting out of my car to go to work, or the grocery store, or driving on the interstate, or was having REPETITIVE THOUGHTS that were INTRUSIVE and only increasing my stress. There were and even still are those moments where I am just feeling anxious and have no idea why. Anxiety can be overcoming and difficult to understand.
I remember cleaning my house to perfection. Any by this I mean vacuuming at least 4 times a week. Not allowing any dust to acquire on my furniture. Glass door always spotless and everything put into place. Cleaning was something I would obsess about. I since have let some of that NEED FOR CONTROL and PERFECTION go and now I do my regular once a week and will clean the floors in between. My glass is not spotless and I have some dust but overall I no longer feel consumed by perfection.
I wasn’t able to go into stores for the longest time if there wasn’t front row parking. Because in my mind if there wasn’t front row parking I was PREDICTING it was going to be just way too busy for me. This might sound a bit odd, but I would drive 8 miles into town and get to the grocery store, and not be able to go in. So then I would drive back home and try again the next day. If I only needed something that could be found in a gas station I would stop there. Anxiety can be DEBILITATING at times. I found myself suddenly leaving stores because I was in pure panic and no real reason why. I find even now that going places can be a bit to OVERSTIMULATING for me and prefer to just as well stay home but I am able to also have the courage to say when I won't let anxiety get the best of me.
It has taken many years of pushing myself, to now feel pretty comfortable going places. But to be honest there are still times anxiety consumes me. I have come to terms with the fact that it will always be a part in my life. But by using some of the tips in this blog I have found a way to take control back.
So on that note I want to talk more in depth about the signs and some tips that may be useful in helping you or someone you know who suffers from anxiety.
The power of the mind is much larger than what we are taught to believe, and our mind often affects our body in ways which we do not comprehend. We have all experienced ourselves dwelling on feelings or thoughts that do not serve us well. In my experience, having negative repetitive thoughts are what often triggers anxiety.
Tips: Setting boundaries with your mind for what you are allowed to think or believe is a way for you to take back control from the power of thoughts which do not serve you. Learning how to positively process emotions plays an important role in being able to move forward in certain thought processes.
NEED FOR CONTROL and PERFECTION
I believe that this plays a much larger role in anxiety than some of would like to admit. The need for control and perfection can stem from learned behaviors as a child, traumatic life incident, or simply defines your astrological sign or personality type. The need for control can create unnecessary WORRY. For those that like to be in control of every little detail, it's important to look at WHY you feel the need for that control.
Tip: Take a moment to ask yourself; is what you are trying to control, actually within your control? If it’s not then you may be putting yourself through unnecessary anxiety and stress.
It isn’t possible to predict exactly what the future holds. So, stop WORRYING about it and allow yourself to live in the present moment. You can’t change the past, even if you wanted too. So ask yourself why are you putting your time and energy into focusing on it? After all is said and done, it is what it is. However, you do have the opportunity to learn and grow from the past and that is something you can carry over into the future.
Tip: Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) - A type of counseling that helps you learn how to focus on living in the present moment. I love this one!
Unfortunately, between all of the technology, electromagnetic frequencies, fluorescent lights, traffic and crowds of people, we live in a society which can be extremely overstimulating for some. Living in a fast paced environment we are almost required to be some sort of professional juggler. There is also a huge lack of personal space.
Tips: Use a form of self-protection. It could be a stone that helps block bad energy such as tigers eye, a trinket that makes you feel more secure, or placing yourself in a bubble. Remove yourself if possible from the situation creating your anxiety.
Anxiety can be extremely debilitating and you may be letting it rule your life. You may find yourself not able to do daily activities, which may most often be related to unfounded fears. You may find it difficult to go to school or work, run errands, make appointments, drive, go into crowded places, or even leave the house. I believe that FEAR of the unknown leads to this debilitation. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is sometimes necessary. Although it certainly isn’t always easy. Trust me though when I say, the more you practice the easier it becomes.
Tips: Meditation and breathing - Clear your mind and allow yourself to breath in all the good and breath out all the bad. Do some self-care exercises, take a bath, sit in the sun, work on a project, listen to relaxing music.
Anxiety can lead to sleepless nights and a lack of energy throughout the day.
Tips: Eat a healthy diet which supports a healthy mind and body. Use lavender essential oil which works to relax and calm the mind before bed.
Seek a professional opinion if you think you might have anxiety. They will be able to make recommendations based on the care needed. Recommendations may include supplements and/or medication, coaching, talk therapy, bodywork, yoga, healing energy work, or even classes that are available to help you learn the tools needed to dealing with daily stress. Research it, read a book on it, talk to someone else who has anxiety. I can assure you that your not alone, in fact a majority of the people I know have anxiety related issues.
Remember that we often create our own anxiety and you have the power over the thoughts that you have. This one takes some work on your behalf to first recognize your anxiety and figure out what the root is creating it. If you can determine why you are having anxiety, you can come up with a strategy that works for you to calm it down. The more you educate and train yourself, the easier and faster you can dissipate your anxiety.
We hope this information and these tips help you or someone you know suffering from anxiety.
Reflexologist & Aromatherapist