After living with an anxiety disorder for 31 years I have found that acceptance was the best decision I ever made. I wasted so many years wishing I had any other affliction. Wishing I was someone else. Cursing myself for being the way I was. However, over the last two years I have stopped being so hard on myself and have finally learned that I am ok. My anxiety doesn’t define me. I am not just an anxiety sufferer. I am a woman with anxiety. I am a woman first. I am so many other things! A writer. Teacher. Wife. Learner. Adventurist. Artist. And so much more. I cannot define myself solely based on my disorder.
I have also learned that , I cannot wish it away. It is part of who I am, and like it or not, it has molded me into the woman that I am today. So, I have learned to accept it. I accept that my life will not always be easy. There will be days when I want to hide away from the world, or days when I don’t understand why I am afraid. I will be frustrated, angry and anxious. That is the hard truth. But on the other side, I will emerge stronger! My anxiety will no longer tear me down. It will build me up even taller. It is part of who I am, and I am finally able love all of me.
Why are we so afraid of mental health? Why is it such a taboo topic in our society? Maybe it is because it is an illness in the brain and that is something we associate with crazy? Maybe it is because it is something we don’t fully understand and that ignites fear. Or perhaps it is because we feel like it is something we cannot control?
Whatever the reason may be, a shroud of darkness lingers around whenever mental health is discussed. I, myself, have had those types of connotations about mental health, however, I now see it in a different light since I have been going my own understanding of my anxiety disorder. Yes, mental disorders are scary and can mess with the chemicals that influence our emotions, choices and thoughts. However, I believe it is time for us to stop being afraid of what we don’t understand and work towards gaining knowledge and understanding of the inner workings of mental disorders and mental health!
I have written before about a time when I stood up for myself and how proud I was of me! Well, I have another experience in this area to share with you. As many other anxiety-ers (I am trying out this nickname) I am a people pleaser. Whenever there is conflict I expect anxiety to tighten her grip around my chest and come along for the ride. However, today I had a mini conflict with a co-worker where I was able to walk away from the situation, professionally, and return to said co-worker after I had regrouped. When I went back to talk to her about the incident, I remained strong yet professionally. actually all worked out well and things were smoothed over and there is no more tension.
From this situation I learned that it is good to stand up for myself, as long as it is done in a mature manner. I did not attack my co-worker, I actually had apologized for the part I had played in the situation. It was wonderful that I could tell her how I was feeling without experiencing any anxiety! Wow!
My personal goal is to continue standing up for myself and no longer being a door mat! It is ok to be strong.
Living with anxiety can be a difficult task. Honestly, there are very dark days when we feel as if the world is falling apart. As if we can never feel tranquility or complete happiness. It can feel like we are in a large scale theater show were we must carry out the actions and say the right lines, yet we have no feeling behind them. We can feel trapped in an endless cycle of fear, panic and obsessions.
However, it does not last forever. Though anxiety cannot be cured, it can be trained. We can learn and transform ourselves into masters of our illness! It takes a lot of hard work but it pays off! The darkness does not have to win. First, we must admit that we have a problem and then we can find a path to follow on the road to wellness!
I never thought I could live happily with anxiety! I never thought I would be at peace with my anxiety. Finally, after 29 years of life, I am able to accept myself for who I am! 100%! Anxiety and all!
Having anxiety and being a good wife can be difficult. I know my anxiety can make me appear selfish. I get caught up in my own fear and worry and in the process forget about his needs. This has happened in the past so I am working to ensure this doesn’t become a regular occurrence. I want to be sure that my husband’s needs are met, however, I learned that if I do not take care of myself first, then I am in condition to be Wife of the Year.
When I was lost to anxiety last year I saw no one else. I felt nothing but anxiety and could think of little more. My husband wasn’t even on my radar. During that time we drifted far apart, and the worst thing about it was that I didn’t even notice. I was so wrapped up in myself that I lost sight of him. He was going through a lot in his life as well. Starting a new job, working towards his masters degree, and learning to manage his own anxiety while holding a position of leadership. I didn’t bother to reach out to him to support him. I only thought of how anxious I was.
I may sound a little hard on myself, however, it is reality. I don’t want to sugarcoat my behaviors. I think I needed a little Come To Jesus Talk. When I finally realized I needed help, and I got the help I needed was able to overcome my anxiety with the support of my family. It feels good to be able to help serve others instead of being trapped in my own anxiety.
I want to fulfill all of my husband’s needs and show him that he is truly loved. I am blessed to have a man who always stands beside me, in sickness and in health, and I will forever strive to return those vows. Anxiety or no Anxiety!
**P.S. Those rings in the picture are ours! He picked out the ring and I was so proud of him!**
I have finally made it back to Arizona after 8 or so hours traveling!! It was bitter sweet leaving my family, but I knew my husband was waiting for me. So my emotions were conflicted. It’s hard saying goodbye.
I am proud of myself for handling my anxiety while my flight experienced turbulence! I have to admit: I was terrified! We shook up and down and even sideways! Oh my goodness! I felt like I was the only one stressed, but I only felt stressed out, not overly anxious. My heart jumped up to my throat for awhile, but no panic attack followed! I am grateful for that becauseI definitely wouldn’t want to have one in front of so many people. Whenever the plane rocked around I just tried to refocus my thoughts, stayed positive, and prayed A LOT! LOL!
I am happy to be back home and in the arms of my husband! I missed him
So much over the last nine days, and it feels so wonderful to be next to him again! I had a fantastic time With my parents and brother and I can’t wait until I get to see them again!
Being back in the place where I grew up, I have been experiencing feelings of nostalgia as I look at enjoy the decorations, wrap gifts and watch our favorite family Christmas movies. I am reminded how wonderful my childhood was, and how much love the four of us shared together through the years. I am so blessed to have a family that is exceptionally supportive and loving. It has been an amazing journey to come back home for Christmas and be able to enjoy time with my family WITHOUT anxiety! It is freeing to be able to feel joy spread through all of me, without the hinderance of my disorder. I feel so much deeper and love even stronger!
I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! If this is a difficult time for you, reach out to those who are closest to you and and let them know. Love is stronger then you may think, and it will bring healing. Christmas symbolizes the birth of our salvation and with that, the security of peace amongst the chaos.
I have realized that I have gone a long stretch of time without being bother by my pesky friend, anxiety! I had a mild bout with her about a week ago but nothing much before that and none since I have been on vacation at my parents house! It feels liberating to be able to go days, almost weeks without it! I am loving the freedom of living in the moment and absorbing the joy and emotions of the atmosphere. With my anxiety, I had no room for any other feeling. Now there is plenty of room to experience an array of emotions I haven’t felt in a long time!
Yesterday my father and mother spoke open and honestly with me about my anxiety and all that I have been learning about it. It was an amazing conversation because there was zero judgement or negativity. They were curious to learn about what I had discovered and hear all about my blog. My father even suggested that I can use my experiences with anxiety to write a book! (Great idea dad!)
It felt so good to be able to feel my anxiety was accepted by my parents. It’s a difficult subject to discuss and I’m sure they never wanted their daughter to struggle with the disorder. However, the last time they had seen me (in June) I was a complete mess. My anxiety had taken over and I was very sick. I could tell they were really worried about me because they had no idea it has gotten so bad, and it was easy to make it not seem like a big deal when we only get to talk through FaceTime. I don’t think I kept it from them on purpose, but I think deep down I was ashamed. I am learning, however, that it’s not my fault. It’s a chemical issue. Not a personal one. I think my parents are learning that too. It’s not a lack of good parenting, because they are incredible parents. They are learning, along side me, that anxiety is a chemical imbalance.
It felt amazing to be so healthy and be able to show them how much I have grown. They told me they could see a huge difference and they were so proud of me! It is wonderful that these walls have been broken down and we have bonded over something that was meant to destroy us! We are a strong family!
If you are debating telling your family about your mental illness, take the risk! I didn’t think it would be as easy as it was, and had I known they would be so accepting, I would have told them the extent of the problem years ago! I love love LOVE my family!
I am beyond proud of myself and the healing journey I have been undertaking over the last few months. I hit a huge milestone today! I needed to buy groceries and I decided to go to Walmart, since I needed to pick up my Christmas Cards. When I was ready for check out, I noticed that only 2 lanes were open and there were several hundred people at the store. The line was nearly 15-20 people deep! My natural reaction would be to leave the cart, groceries and all, and sprint as fast as I could back to my car. However, I fought the urge to flee. I waited in line for at least 30 minutes and not once during that time did I get anxious! I couldn’t believe it! All of my dedication to wellness is finally paying off!! Last year at this time there is no way I could have stood in line with that many people.
Remember that if you are in a place of hopelessness, that there is always time to heal. There is time to grow and learn to live with anxiety or depression or any other mental illness. Do not write yourself off! You are strong!