I've had the content of this blog post spinning around in my head for days, but then the second I sit down to write, my mind goes blank.
Maybe it's nerves. Maybe it's the anxiety that I'm supposed to be writing about.
Those who know me well are not surprised to hear that I have always, for as long as I can remember, had anxiety.
I'm not sure if people who are only acquaintances of mine know that I have anxiety. It's not like I broadcast it to the world or say it to everyone I meet. But I've found that those that also have anxiety can also recognize it in others. So I wouldn't be surprised if I unknowingly wear my worries on my sleeve.
I honestly don't even know where to begin because that's how long this goes back. I have always worried about EVERYTHING. And by everything, I mean everything. Have you ever gone through a million scenarios in your head about how you think a situation will go? And literally none of those apocalyptic situations happened? But you felt the need to spend 2 days before a situation thinking about how drastically wrong everything could go?
I've been that way for as long as I can remember.
Without going into too much detail (alas the title of this post contains the word "brief") these worried thoughts soon turned into full blown panic attacks, which for a brief period of my life turned into agoraphobia, which also carried diagnoses of depression, generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. It was 6 years ago that I could feel the life that I felt that I was "supposed to have" was slipping through my fingers. And it did. That fantasy life disappeared and I was left with a broken version of myself that I thought would be broken forever. But it wasn't.
I would say that I've spent the past 6 years picking up the pieces, but that wouldn't be true. When you're getting the help that you need, treating your body correctly and having the courage to stand up to anxiety, the pieces of your life just kind of fall into place. True, I was doing the work and working hard, but I was never actively seeking out a fantasy like I was before. I was simply living my life day by day. Waking up every day making the CHOICE to get out of bed (which I wouldn't have done 6 years ago) and making the choice to be happy. Every. Single. Day.
Does that mean that I didn't spend my days worrying? No. Not at all. I did. But slowly I started to train myself to think more positively and soon the negative thoughts, while still there, were background noise. When you let the light of positivity shine through, it stays there. Just like love conquers hate, the smallest bit of light can shine through any darkness.
So, why am I telling you this? Well there are many reasons. There is the selfish reason that sometimes it just feels better to get everything out. And then there's the reason that my goal in life is to help other people that suffer from anxiety and depression that is often subsequently caused by that anxiety.
I was able to completely transform my life through whole food nutrition, daily exercise, creativity and mindfulness. Us "anxious people" have a lot of pent up energy and we are SMART people who are able to think of a million different (albeit often negative) situations for any given problem. So let's use that creativity, thoughtfulness and energy towards something positive.
This blog will contain snippets of the lifestyle that I have built for the sole purpose of conquering my anxiety every day. Hopefully these snippets will help you too, whether you're battling anxiety or not.
With all this said, there are two thoughts that I want to leave you with :
Firstly, although my life is drastically different than it was 6 years ago, I still have anxiety. It is not something that I have cured myself of. But it is something that I have accepted to deal with. Are some days better than others? Absolutely. But having anxiety has made me a much more compassionate and understanding person. It has given me creativity and determination. There are so many positives that have come out of having anxiety that I can't help but think of it as a double edged sword. I'm not here to tell you that it's all sunshine and rainbows. Because it isn't. But the days do get easier and there is light and positivity everywhere. You just have to be looking for it.
Lastly, but most importantly, mental illness is not something to be ashamed of. You should never be ashamed to get help and you should never be ashamed to tell others how you feel. This is my first time publicly posting something about my mental illnesses on my social media accounts. Am I nervous? Yes. But, if I can help ONE person realize that they too can kick anxiety's ass every day without shame, then for me, it's worth it. You will be shocked when you decide to tell others about your anxiety/depression/bipolar disorder/whatever it is, how many people can relate to you and how many people will be so compassionate, caring and helpful.
My wish for you is that you will live without shame and that you will openly conquer your fears. Do something today that scares you. Even if that something, is simply getting out of bed.
Until next time,