I’ve had it my entire life… but, of course, I didn’t know that. That is just the way my brain has always worked. Anxiety is defined as, “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” Yes. That. Every single day. Anxiety creates more stress. More stress creates overwhelm.
I was nervous… to the point that I was worried that others would notice I was worrying – with almost every single interaction I had with others. I’m not kidding, and I’m not exaggerating. This was my life.
I worried about worrying. Then, of course, my face and neck would turn bright red… and I knew everyone else knew. Guess what I did next? I worried what they thought about that.
I knew I didn’t want to feel like this all the time. But, I didn’t know what to do about it.
I tried to control people or things outside of myself. When that didn’t work, I shut down… numbing out with food or alcohol or screen time. Turns out, those things are only a temporary fix. The stress, anxiety, and ultimate overwhelm always came back. Numbing was not my solution.
I finally sought medical help for my anxiety. I got medicated. It took a while working with my doctor to get the right dosage. But, I didn’t like how it made me feel. It just numbed me out ALL THE TIME… I certainly didn’t feel the anxiety anymore, but I also couldn’t feel that creative energy that I loved so much either. So, I stopped taking the meds. [Interesting fact: when they tell you to ween off those meds, they mean it. I stopped cold turkey, and I experienced “brain zaps” which are electrical shock sensations inside your brain… craziest thing I’ve ever experienced.] Meds was not my solution.
I realized I was looking for a sense of control or security in my life. I kept looking for it outside of myself, and it wasn’t working. I tried a more natural approach. I used a cognitive/behavioral approach to understand and handle my anxiety. I also added some supplements to work on my stress/anxiety from the inside out. Turns out, these two things in combination were my solution. I was thriving and (finally) able to enjoy my life – choosing to live in the present moment instead of reacting to what was happening around me or worrying about all the “what ifs”.
Then, Nathan got his diagnosis. Our entire lives changed. For over a year, I spent my days in survival mode – not sleeping, eating whatever was convenient, not moving my body, and all sense of routine or normalcy was gone. My self-care went to the wayside, because Nathan was the only priority. That was my new normal – until he was gone.
When I no longer had him… when the storm of that year finally passed and it was quiet (oh, so very quiet)… when I realized my kids only had one parent left… I looked at what had happened to me physically and emotionally.
My physical body suffered from the chemical imbalances that were created by that stress. I had so many things I needed to get back in order. But, I knew, if I didn’t get my anxiety/stress/overwhelm under control, I wouldn’t be able to solve any of the other issues. And, I was going to do this during the most unimaginable grief of my life.
So, I started focusing on what I could do in each moment, and I started taking my supplements again. Within a week, I was able to function again. I was able to sleep again. I was able to find my way through the brain fog that kept me from making a decision. My therapist noticed the change. My health coach noticed the change. I noticed the change.
I have a long journey ahead of me. Ever day is still a struggle. But, I have a fighting chance, because I am choosing to manage my anxiety again through supplementation and cognitive/behavioral awareness. It is the first step in recovering my health. And, I’m so thankful I found those things before my world fell apart. Because, I know in my heart they are helping me stand back up and put the pieces back together.