When My Anxiety Gets The Best Of Me: What I Do To Cope
I don't talk about this much here because I don't want to sound like a downer. And to be honest...this isn't something I'm entirely comfortable sharing. However, last week I was sweetly reminded of why I started this blog and it is because of that very reason, that I promised myself to always be open about not only all the "good" that goes on around here, but the "bad" and sometimes ugly stuff, as well.
Last week, I had a major (or major in my books) anxiety attack. Now it's never been "clinically determined" that I have anxiety but after years of learning and researching I'm finally trying to come to grips with understanding my body and it's entirety. To be honest with you, even admitting this out loud, let alone to all of you is extremely hard for me. It instills this feeling of failure inside of me; like I've let myself down, as well as, all of you. But I know that feeling is not from God and despite what I may think and often times experience, I'm hoping that someone out there reads this and feels a level of comfort knowing they are not alone.
I'm not really sure when it started...my anxiety. Maybe it was after I started having kids, or maybe it was before that and I just never really realized it. Thinking back now, there are a few instances that are definitely highlighted from my past that I can now say had a lot to do with my anxiety, and as I've had children those instances have only grown with time. However, I know there are a lot of you out there suffering from anxiety just like me and although "anxiety is anxiety," it can look different across the spectrum for a lot of people. So you may be wondering...
"Well then...what does your anxiety look like?"
For me my anxiety peaks when I am under a lot of stress and pressure. I am a high "doer" so I often desire to go after the things that I want and I won't rest until I have successfully achieved that said desire. However, as great of a quality as this can be, it can also be an extreme evil to my character as well. Having the ambition and drive to go after things can often lead to unnecessary "doing" as well; for example, every time I go into a home decor store I rarely every buy anything because I convince myself I can make it myself. OR when I want to learn a new skill I will become obsessive about it until I have learned and mastered it. ORRR I often think I can take on a lot more than I actually am capable of.
For a while I'm fine. I even do extremely well under pressure. But then one day...I wake up and it just hits me. There's no warning, no sign, nothing. It's just there... like this sudden heaviness is over me from the minute I wake up and I can feel it creeping inside me; it starts in my head, like a fog it clouds my ability to think clearly and clutters my ability to think logically. From there, I feel it spread to my chest, making my heart race; and then like a sudden drop it makes its way deep down in the pit of my stomach, churning the very core of me, making me unable to eat or drink.
"So what happens on the days when you have an anxiety attack?"
The only way I can describe what I'm feeling and thinking on days like those, is to say that I'm extremely "overwhelmed" or I'll say to my husband, "I'm just feeling extremely anxious today." What happens cognitively is I see all the "tasks" I have in front of me as a mother; and it doesn't matter if they are big or small: laundry, dishes, cleaning the house, feeding the kids, clothing them, playing with them, intentionally loving them, etc. And then there's the "tasks" that I have in front of me as a blogger/business owner: emails, deadlines, creating new content, editing, posting, commenting, etc.
It's like I see all these things before me and I can't rationalize how to get from point "A" to point "B." It's all just one jumbled mess. And the more I try to organize everything in my head the more jumbled and frustrated I become. When I can't get out of my head, the worse it becomes. On these days I often lash out, get angry with the kids, break down, maybe lash out for a second time...
"What is the best way for you to treat your anxiety on days like this?"
Like I said, I've not been "diagnosed" with anxiety so I don't take medications (and at this point I don't plan to), so the BEST thing for me to do on days where I feel this way is to literally do nothing. Actually laying down and watching TV has been the greatest way for me to shut my anxiety down because it forces my body to rest and literally think of nothing else than what is in front of me. Also, getting on the floor and playing with my kids helps a lot...which may sound strange but hearing them giggle sort of "jolts" my system in a way. Drinking a ton of water and eating a substantial snack or meal helps a lot too; like I said, I don't feel hungry when I'm under attack but I have low blood sugar normally so when I don't eat I get SUPER HANGRY and can't even deal with life...so eating helps my mind to focus and my body regain energy. And getting fresh air; taking a walk, going to the park or just playing out back with the kids helps to reduce a lot of my anxiety as well.
Anxiety is a real thing and it can dominate your life if you let it. I haven't figured it out nor am trying to claim that I have. These are just real life growing pains and real life solutions that have worked for me. I know that there are many of you out there struggling like me and I hope that we can stand together and help one another.
As always, thank you for allowing me to share my heart on this topic. Please respect that I do not wish to be bombarded with tips on how to best "treat" my anxiety. I only wanted to share on the topic and hope you can understand that. If you have any questions I would be HAPPY to answer them in the comments section below! Thank you!
P.S. Did you see our last flip house update??? We are only ONE week from being done!
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