It’s been two weeks since a podcast or post. There was a reason.
I finally found a term for what I am. I am a verbal processor (credit to Jacki Mclenaghan). I need to hear words come out of my body to fully understand what’s going on in my mind. This probably explains why I love public speaking but that’s a tangent for another post….
As the Tuesday of my next podcast approached, I realized that for all the words I wanted and needed to say, I needed some focus. I needed to find my core, my direct path, and my true why.
Talking about anxiety is scary. It places people in a state of judgment (being judged or judging.) It’s uncomfortable. It brings up the past and the possible future. Above all, it reminds us of our own bravery or lack thereof. Sometimes the most brave thing we can do is take a step out of bed, take a deep breath, and face the day like the warrior we are.
Why do I talk about anxiety? Because I know there’s a path to better. I know if I can communicate to one person…one spouse…I have made a difference.
” MY PATH IS HERE.”
Say it. Mean it. Learn to communicate your experience. Learn to listen.
New Podcast this Tuesday!! Subscribe and listen!!
It was a rough weekend. Anyone with anxiety will tell you that when there’s not an opportunity to breathe, and plans fall into chaos, it’s the perfect storm for a panic attack. Such was my weekend. However, it presented me a unique opportunity to reflect on my emotions and why I handle things the way I do.
Have you ever felt ashamed for being upset? As women, we are scared to cry. We are scared we will look as though we are weak, or emotional. I broke down into tears twice this weekend. Within 6 hours. Of course, I had those same feelings of inadequacy. However, I felt strength.
I felt more authentic
I felt more in control
I felt like I could push through
I felt like I was able to communicate my intentions
Always allow yourself the moments of breakdown. Allow yourself time to feel so you can re-build your strength. Even in chaos there will be moments when you’ll be able to see your path.
Today I saw a post from a friend that had a picture of a forest and said “antidepressant” and a picture of pills and said “poison”.
In 2012, I thought I had my anxiety and depression under control. I was working out, hiking, doing all the “right” things. Instead of healing, I was displacing those behaviors and drives into binge eating and then furiously working out to “punish” myself. I was thinner, I seemed happier to people… but MY ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION WAS NEVER ADDRESSED.
Knowing what I know now, posts like these make me cringe. Anxiety and depression are NOT LINEAR. One more time for the people in the back… ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION IS NOT LINEAR. A walk in the forest may make you feel better. You may do it everyday and it may make you feel better everyday but that one simple thing will not help heal, and perpetuating the idea that it will is harmful.
With that being said, it’s important to know that medication is only part of the solution as well. I have tried a myriad of anti anxiety medications that all have side effects that make them worse, FOR ME. However, I have found an anti depressant that alleviates some symptoms, and makes my day more manageable, so I can actively pursue other steps to help myself heal.
I spent a long time thinking medicine wasn’t part of my plan. It may not be part of yours, but it’s so important to know that taking a step back to become more self aware is always key in healing.
Today, I do take medicine. I spend time doing things that are meaningful to me. I try to disconnect and focus on family and friends. I spend time learning how to be more empathetic. I work daily on changing my self talk. I see a doctor. I discuss things with people. I rest when I’m tired. I don’t push myself past my limits. I don’t try to be “the busiest mom in my circle”. I say no.
Take time to understand your feelings. Take time to understand how they are manifesting. Take to time address the “why” and it will help provide a path to better.
I was 16 the first time I had an anxiety attack. I was driving home, late, when my mom called to see where I was. The noise of the phone ringing, triggered an overwhelming feeling of terror. My heart started beating faster and faster. My brain became foggy and I couldn’t think straight. Over the next 5 minutes I would scream at my windshield, cry hysterically, and beg the phone to stop ringing. My reaction was amplified by 100 as my brain tried to warn me of a danger that didn’t exist. I was only a couple minutes late getting home.
I remember thinking that I over reacted. I remember thinking that I was out of control. I remember thinking I wish I knew how to be in control. The reality was that my first anxiety attack I wouldn’t recognize as an anxiety attack for 16 years. I would stumble through life, wondering why I could never gather my thoughts. I would wonder if I could ever get on the right path. I just couldn’t seem to get a grip.
Over the last 16 years, 100’s of attacks later, broken relationships, un-met goals, and dreams I had given up on I have found out that having a choice to change your life doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to make a decision.
When I was 29 years old my father died. Four months before my 30th birthday, to be exact. He had been fighting his COPD for a long time, and been hospitalized for 3 months. So, his passing wasn’t unexpected. It was still like a part of my life had been unfairly ripped from me.
When I was 29 years old, I finally had the nerve to leave an abusive relationship. We had been married for 4 years, but had been together for 8 years. He was an alcoholic, and a narcissist. It was still like a part of my life had been ripped from me.
When I was 29 years old I had my last child. She cried and cried and was the most difficult baby I had. Being her mother made me feel out of control of my life. I felt like I couldn’t be a good mom to my other kids, because I could never predict her. I felt like a part of my life had been ripped from me.
When I was 29 years old, in an attempt to regain control of everything I was loosing, I developed eating habits that couldn’t be maintained. I went to the gym everyday. I got in killer shape. I overworked at the gym to over compensate that I was binge eating in secret. The one thing I was determined to control….I lost control of.
At 30… after the grieving, and the divorce, and my daughter calming down, and regaining 90 lbs…. I started to heal. I started to recognize that I had gone my entire adult life with unchecked anxiety. I started to recognize that all the things that I was loosing , was forcing me to gain so much more. This is more than a door closing and a window opening. This was many doors closing, being trapped in a room with my own thoughts, and clawing my way out though the wall.
At 34, I am learning to love my father in ways I never thought possible. My ex husband is not a ghost of the past, anymore. My daughter is 5, and although very strong willed….we understand each other. I have not lost the weight, but I have developed mechanisms for loving myself. I have learned to manage my anxiety. I have learned my dreams are worth chasing. The weight will go down…it will go down when I am ready. Just like every other part of me has had to heal in time.