Everything is going be okay

Anyone who have ever dealt with anxiety can tell you, it isn’t like the movies, it isn’t always the sweaty, fall to the floor, rock in a corner sort of thing. It is often the feeling in the pit of your stomach, the nausea, the thoughts racing, the headache, the command in your mind that you just have to paste a smile on your face and act the part until you can fall apart in private. It feels like the end of the world, when rationally, you know it to be a bump in the road, something you will survive (you hope).

“It is very hard to explain to people who have never known serious depression or anxiety the sheer continuous intensity of it. There is no off switch.” -Matt Haig

This week was the start of school, which is always a time of great excitement in our house, we are lucky to have amazing teachers and fabulous schools; but this year means two different schools and schedules and with two parents that work, that means planning out routes and after school activities and making sure everyone gets dropped off and picked up at the right time.

I was doing just fine until IT hit. The punch in the gut feeling, the nausea, the worry clawing away at my brain...how was this all going to work? How would I manage everything on the days where I was responsible for all the drop offs and pickups, I knew in the back of my brain I could do it, there was time and with cell phones I could always call my eldest if I was running late, but the anxiety wasn’t letting me listen to the rational facts. It feels scary and overwhelming when you are in the midst of an attack, even embarrassing, but you use your coping skills and/or you take your medication and you call your therapist and you wait for your brain to simmer down.

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
-Corrie Ten Boom

Some tips to add to your Anti-anxiety arsenal:

1. Plan things during the month that bring you instant peace.
For me personally, that is a monthly massage, I know, it is a definite extravagance and when I was younger I was lucky if I could afford maybe 2-3 massages a year, but no matter how many you can afford, it is worth it. I lay on the table and I feel instantly calm. I have been going to the same massage therapist for years, so I trust him implicitly, but when you are trying to find someone you can trust, ask for recommendations or do your research online. You can and should let a massage therapist know what areas you are comfortable with them touching and which ones are off limits. You can ask them to let you know what area they are going to touch next so you feel in control and if for any reason you feel uncomfortable, you can and should tell them to stop.

2. Find a “security blanket.”
When you are out living your life you don’t always have the ability to slink off to a dark room and ride out the anxiety. Let’s be honest, it usually hits at the most inopportune times anyway, so what is something you can do to help while the medication kicks in or just ride the wave, so to speak?

I put into practice a breathing technique that I might have learned in yoga or perhaps through a youtube video, not really sure, but wherever I picked it up, it seems to work. I breathe in slowly through my nose, hold the breath and then let is out through my mouth. I think it is the focus required to do this that helps. My heart rate comes down in a few breaths and that immediately makes me feel less panicked.

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” -Amit Ray, Om Chanting and Meditation

3. Distract yourself.
Finding something to do with your hands distracts your brain, it is like patting your head and rubbing your tummy, it is hard to do both at the same time. Cross stitching, making pom poms (pinterest tutorials), coloring books, puzzles are all very soothing, it engages our brains but doesn’t require massive attention, I think of it as going from high speeds on the highway, to coasting on a back road.

“Anxiety's like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you very far.” - Jodi Picoult, Sing You Home

The bravest people aren’t those who have their life together (seemingly) but those who are open and honest about their messy and not quite put together lives. The people who are struggling, but still get up everyday and fight until the day when life doesn’t seem so hard. We all struggle, we all have our issues and crosses to bear, we are all scared, some of us manage to go about life in spite of this with a stiff upper lip and others, we wear our hearts on our sleeve. Neither is right or wrong.

“It’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.”
-Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

You are all brave beyond measure,
-Team SG

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Everything is going to be okay

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