Disclaimer: This blog post is all opinion based & a story of my truth. I am in no means a professional. If you are struggling with anxiety or other forms of mental health, please seek help or assistance elsewhere. Thank you.
Sleepless nights. Racing thoughts. Tingling hands. Feeling like your hearts about to explode at any moment. A silent battle with your mind. “I’m good enough!” no you aren’t. “I have friends.” Are you sure about that? “What did they mean when they said that?” They hate you. “I can reach this goal!” But what if you don’t? An annoying voice inside my mind making me question my entire existence. What did I do to deserve such turmoil?
I’ve never been diagnosed or felt that I needed to get proper help because my personality hates reaching out for assistance in any form. I’ve also felt like I’ve had the strength to conquer it on my own. I’m not saying those who do seek help are weak or lesser than. On the contrary. I think the stigma around such obstacles is silly. And I’m here to set the record straight you aren’t alone. And however you manage your anxiety, that’s your truth. So here’s mine.
Looking back, I can pinpoint such feelings as early as elementary school. Although on the outside I was a very outgoing & bubbly child with tons of friends, my mind would tell me otherwise. I’d get nervous & upset in social situations. Too much attention made me cry. I’d clam up & be seen as the quiet one when my anxiety was acting as shackles keeping me from being myself. My perceptions of people would be altered where I felt like they were laughing at me instead of with me.
With every new age, my anxiety took new forms. When I would overcome one thing, a new one would take its place. No matter my abilities, there was a bit of self sabotage that would coexist. Testing anxiety was another obstacle. I’d study my ass off & know the information like the back of my hand. But as soon as the scantron hit my desk, I’d freeze. My mind would go blank. The constant doubting of my abilities was rather crippling.
This constant struggle of not feeling good enough all because of that annoying voice. From my experience, I’ve learned to keep a positive attitude through it all. On days I can barely get off the couch & eat my feelings I see it as a time to rest & recharge. On days my anxiety is causing me to be active , I take full advantage & see it as a time to be productive. There’s a sense of balance & being understanding to my feelings. I’ve developed a routine & ways that help me cope.
I joke that I’m like an infant in the sense that I need my sleep & I need proper nutrition to stay well balanced. Everyone’s bodies are different. And society thinks we all have to function in the same way. But I think we just need to do what’s best for us mentally. And we all will find routines that fit our lifestyles. I used to feel ashamed that I needed more sleep than the average person. I never could just wake up abruptly in the morning & go about my tasks. I’m more of a gradual riser who takes her mornings slow. I take in each step of my routine & almost create this meditative practice. If I don’t eat enough throughout the day, I will become so hangry & irritable. Vitamins have become my best friend in fighting my exhaustion & stressful personality.
Being a female with hormones makes anxiety feel even worse especially during my time of the month. I remember being told I could take anti-anxiety medication one week out of each month before my time of the month & then wean off of it when it was over. I thought that was the most ridiculous idea in the entire world because I thought the withdrawal would mess me up even more. So, instead I rely on vitamins like B-12, vitamin B with stress complex, iron & a regular multivitamin. I also treat myself to lots of self care during these times. I allow myself to take naps, soak in the bathtub, eat well & exercise. These strategies have done me wonders. And I’m proud to say I can manage it on my own naturally.
Alcohol was a huge cuprit of me repressing back to old behavior. In high school I had my worry wart mentality. But for some reason when I went to college & started going to parties & socially drinking ( as many of us do) , I started to feel different. Some of my most embarrassing moments was when alcohol was in the mix. Crying fits & getting so fed up you scream outside at the top of your lungs (because the Uber went to the wrong house) were just a few. And of course these were told to me after the fact because obviously I was a bit blacked out. You could easily say these experiences were typical college milestones. But to me, it was a wake up call to get it together.
I’m not opposed to drinking if you do it in a responsible manner. And I still do occasionally. All I can say is it’s different. I’m more in control. There is no longer this pressure of being someone I wasn’t. Or rather I clearly couldn’t be. I remember coming home one night after a night out lying on my bed, heart racing trying to go to sleep. I thought I was going to die. I guess this is what a panic attack feels like. And at that moment I said I needed to make a change.
Reluctantly, over time I began to understand myself more & as I matured, I gained this sense of control. I truly believe being fully aware of my struggles & accepting them was what helped me get through those said moments. Instead of just brushing it off, I’ve always had the mentality of bettering myself & becoming stronger with every experience. I’d write down my feelings, talk it out & sometimes showing some tough love when it was needed.
I also feel my anxiety has stemmed from a lack of understanding of who I truly am or rather a disapproval of myself. Instead of just accepting myself fully & taking people’s judgements with a grain of salt, I’ve taken those words & feelings to heart. I’m a rather sensitive person. And from each experience & with age, I’ve learned to have more of a backbone & confidence in my journey. Everyone goes through obstacles, makes mistakes & choose paths other people may not understand or even judge you on. It’s your own story for a reason. And I’m slowly learning to know my worth despite my setbacks. Through mindful practices, I have learned to look my anxiety straight in its face & tell it to go to hell.
In no means am I perfect. Who really is? I’ve accepted this is something I will always battle. Whether it’s planning about the future, making decisions or simply going about my day to day life, I will always have this little voice questioning every move. And I will always be telling that voice to go away. I can say I’m nowhere near where I was in the past. And I hope I continue to find peace. Focusing on gratitude , communicating my feelings, including regular self care & just simply being kinder to myself have been just a few tactics that have helped me throughout the years. One of the reasons I started on my minimalism journey was the overwhelming feeling clutter brought to my life. At my most anxious times, I thought buying more & new material items would be that cure. But it’s not. Strong relationships, communication & tapping into your feelings are what will make all the difference. And ever since I started living with less, that sense of peace & calmness has replaced the anxious feelings I had before. Minimalism is far more than a clean aesthetic. It’s my weapon of choice in this war against my thoughts & worrisome ways.
I truly hope my story has inspired at least one of you. I was hesitant to share it of fear of being judged, looked down upon or seen less than anyone else. But I think those exact reasons are why I wanted to share my personal journey. Why should we feel ashamed of such obstacles when plenty of us have gone through similar circumstances. And even if you can’t relate, why should you judge someone when you’ve never walked in their shoes. If you are reading this & resonate with my story please let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your experiences & how you cope with whatever battles you fight. Supportive communities are what will truly make us stronger.
Love you all.