I don’t really know how to write about anxiety. Or at least every time I try – I get stuck. Or I go off on a tangent. It’s such a vast topic and so many people experience anxiety at varying levels. I Myself know what extreme or severe anxiety feels like. Or at least, I can tell you what it felt like for me.
Anxiety has been a part of my life for a long time, but it showed up in a much more severe way in the summer of 2015. I started having really intense panic attacks. So intense were the panic attacks that I actually went to emergency a couple times because I had no idea what was happening to me. It was way beyond scary, and I literally felt like I was dying. I had experienced anxiety before this, but never to this level. My body was telling me that enough was enough. Enough distractions by means of partying and drinking. Enough denying my trauma and childhood wounds. Of course, I didn’t want to listen. I was in denial for a long time. But when the body speaks, you need to listen. And I did. I entered into what would be the biggest transformational journey of my life thus far. What happened over those years until now is a long story, too long for this page. What I can say tho, is that where I am today is a miraculous place far more powerful and in tune with My True Self than I ever was before. I am literally living my dreams, with them coming true right before my eyes. And I am a part of it all. Here for it all. Embodying it all.
Mostly everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their lives, but sometimes it is hidden very well. To the outside world, you may appear to be doing “fine”. People also experience anxiety differently in their bodies. For me it shows up as racing, terrifying thoughts, feeling dissociated, feeling disconnected, feeling intensely afraid. Tormented with worry of the worst happening to me. Feeling as though I might faint, collapse or stop breathing. Feeling afraid that I might not wake up. The worried and racey thoughts aren’t rational, because anxiety doesn’t speak logic. It speaks it’s own language, unique to your own worst fears. My chest feels tight and everything around me seems amplified in a loud speaker. Panic. It’s like I am part of a video game but I don’t know how to play. Everything seems to be moving too quickly and noisily around me. It can feel extremely awful to say the least.
If you experience anxiety, it is likely you will become more aware of when it comes on and what your triggers are. Self care to the max. Seriously, your today influences your tomorrow. How you take care of yourself today will set you up for a better tomorrow. I’m not perfect, and sometimes I binge on a bag of potato chips and reality TV. I know it’s not the “healthiest” choice, but sometimes we do need a little distraction. The key is knowing when you are distracting and not allowing yourself to fall in the hole for too long. If you know someone who is experiencing anxiety or panic attacks, PLEASE – do NOT tell them to “just relax”. Telling someone to relax when they are having a panic attack will likely only make it harder for them. Instead, I encourage you to be a support by letting your friend/partner/family member know that you are there for them. MOST IMPORTANTLY – ask THIS: “How can I help?”. You may assume you know how best to help someone with anxiety but they might need something different. Sometimes when I am feeling anxious I want to be hugged or soothed. Sometimes I want to be left alone. Alone while also knowing my partner is not far away. Sometimes just having someone notice and see that you are struggling helps. Sometimes a good cry helps. Sometimes talking it out helps. Sometimes visualizing your favourite calming place helps. Sometimes meditating helps. Sometimes journaling helps. Sometimes eating helps. Sometimes a big mug of tea helps. Sometimes changing environments helps. The take-away here is that the person experiencing anxiety usually knows what will best help them through it. So – listen and be there.
Over the course of my journey of healing my trauma and my wounded little bunny self, my anxiety levels have lowered substantially. Although I still do experience anxiety and sometimes still quite intensely, I now have the tools to manage it much better. There IS HOPE. My healing has not been linear by any means, and it doesn’t always make sense. But it has also brought me the greatest gift I didn’t even know I was missing – Myself.
Mostly anxiety is your body’s response to trauma. It’s that simple. Which is actually not simple at all. When you are healing from trauma, it can be difficult to separate the past from the present. I don’t know if you can ever entirely separate them out. Because a “trigger” will put you right back in the past. It will trigger those past memories – responses or feelings that didn’t get to be felt at the time. Trauma is messy, and it is beautiful because we can become these incredible human beings in spite of it. Because of the work we choose to do. Because we begin to lead with our hearts, not our heads. Here are a few things that have helped me along my path that I need to consciously come back to again and again:
- SUPPORT. You cannot heal without support. The right kind of support that encourages and lifts you up. Support that is consistent and accountable. You cannot go it completely alone through this. Find your tribe, your trusted team.
- TRUST. Support builds trust. Trust in yourself, trust in others, trust in the Universe, trust in your body.
- PATIENCE. This is essential for healing. You will need it from others and most importantly from yourself. When you are patient with your self you are also being compassionate. Don’t expect an overnight transformation – learning the important lessons that you require to heal and live an extraordinary life takes time. So give yourself more time than you think you need. The process is the healing.
- SELF-LOVE. The more you practice the first 3 steps, the more self-love is cultivated. Find that place within yourself that knows how awesome you truly are. How amazingly unique and strong you are. Keep believing it. You will sway and falter sometimes, but you will learn to come back to that self-loving place sooner.
- ACCEPTANCE. No matter how crazy the shit storm, how long the dark lonely nights are, accept that you are learning. Acceptance doesn’t mean complacency, it means changing your perspective about your situation. It doesn’t mean “fuck it, I’ll do nothing”. It means accepting where you’re at – being honest with yourself and going from there. One step at a time.
- GRATITUDE. If you need any help in accepting your situation or changing your perspective, gratitude is a sure-fire way to do it. We ALL have something to be grateful for. We can all tap into that place of appreciation and gratitude. Make a list, say 3 things to yourself that you are grateful for every morning. Whatever works for you and shifts you into that perspective of abundance, will create more of the same. By appreciating what you have, you actually open yourself up to receiving more goodness.
Blessings to you all! Let me know if you have any questions about anxiety and I will answer them to the best of my ability!❤️