Pushing Onward and Leaving Anxiety Behind

The past few weeks have been very busy and stressful at work (outside of working with my students, which is the best part of the job). Last week was particularly stressful because I had so many items on the to-do list and not enough time to complete them (isn’t that everyone’s struggle?) Now, this week I have been able to reflect on the previous week and realize that even though I was in the middle of high stress, I was almost anxiety free! I honestly did not think that I would be able to have stress without anxiety. Just a few months ago I was anxious about going to the store, and I couldn’t even fathom running around a school and leading meetings. It is so freeing to no longer be tied down by the weight of my fears and rationalizations that accompany the disorder.

Healing is possible! 🙂

Anxiety healing allows us to live a full life!

Over these past few months, I have seen drastic changes in all areas of my life. First, my thoughts are so much clearer since they are not clogged up by the endless cycle of anxiety! Literally, all I could think about for months at a time, was anxiety. I know my husband, who is always so patient and understanding, was tired of hearing me talk about how I was so anxious. Since I have been taking some medication the chemicals in my brain are balanced out and I am able to focus on thinking about everything else! 🙂

I also have been having a lot of stress at work, but the positive kind of stress, and I have not had any anxiety! I have been given a lot of more responsibility and I have been leading my own department, planning lessons for other teachers, and mentoring. I am thriving in my career! I love feeling like myself again and living out my passion every day! Teaching!!

Last year when my anxiety was pushed into overdrive from a birth control I was taking, I never thought I would be normal again. I thought anxiety would always control me. I never imagined I could take control, and steer my life in the direction I wanted.

I do not believe that taking medication should be the only solution to anxiety. However, there are times when it is necessary. During those times, it is important to learn other coping skills, in addition to the meds, to help curb the anxiety. One of my good friends, who is a counselor, told me that medication allows our brain to become balanced enough so that we can use our coping skills instead of continually focusing on the panic of anxiety. That really was a great explanation. Also, exercise helps a lot and can help refocus the brain. Yoga has helped me learn how to breath through stress and it has really opened up my chest, which always tightens when my anxiety is high.

I full understand what it is like to be stuck in the darkest moments of anxiety. To feel panic rising through the body. I know what it is like to not be able to focus on the world around you because you are too terrified and stuck in your own thoughts. I have been there, and I’m sure I will be there again. Just remember that there is hope. Anxiety does not have to control your life! You are free to live the life you want. Anxiety Free (or well…under control) 🙂

I’m Me, and You are You.

There are many times in my life where I wished that I could be different. I wished I could be fearless and reckless. Be able to shoot off into the wild and not care about what would happen next or what consequences would follow. However, as I have grown older, I realize that very few of those adjectives describe me. But guess what? I’m ok with that. Actually, I’m more than ok. I am great with it! I love right where I am. I love me.

Perhaps you are wondering about the name of my blog, The Persistent Platypus, and why I would have pick it for the title. I chose those words because they simply explain who I am. I chose the platypus because it is such a unique animal. One of kind actually. I also feel that I am one of kind. I chose persistent because I have continually worked to overcome an anxiety disorder. Throughout the course of my life I have had to learn how to learn how to cope with my anxiety so I could continue to live adventurously.

As I thought about what I should write in this post, I wrestled with using the term, “ANXIETY”, because of the negative stereotypes and stigmas that are attached to it. Many people think, “Oh no, she has anxiety, she is going to have a mental breakdown and go crazy!” This is not anxiety (although, there are days when I feel that way!) Simply put, anxiety is when a person’s brain is overly sensitive to stressors. Often times situations that people without anxiety shrug off, people with anxiety struggle with (myself included).

As I have done more research and discovered new coping skills, I have been able to live my life loudly. I have been to quad ride out into the open desert. I have climbed (ok, not climbed. Driven.) to the top of Pike’s Peak, which is 14,114 feet tall! I stood at the edge of the Grand Canyon (not exactly the very edge, I do have anxiety after all!). I have been able to see so much even though I live with anxiety. The point is that I HAVE anxiety, but I am NOT anxiety.

I wanted to share my story with all of you because, as a person struggling with anxiety, I noticed that there is an uneasy silence about this topic. There are 40 million people in the United States who struggle with it, yet it seems that no one wants to talk about it. There is a lot of fear surrounding it, because it is something many people to not understand. Let me just say now, you are not alone! 40 million is a huge number. Can you imagine how much we could change about the stereotypes for this disorder if we all stood together proudly, if not slightly nervously, and said we have anxiety? It would be crazy powerful.

For all of you who share this struggle with me I want to shout out: It’s ok that you have anxiety. Your life isn’t over! You can live adventurously!

I hope you continue to read my posts and come along on this journey with me, and remember, fill today with adventure!