Up until now on this blog, I have been writing about all of my positive feelings and how far I have come. While every thought that I have expressed has been 100% genuine, I feel like not talking about some of my more troubling experiences wouldn’t be right. That being said, it’s time to talk a little bit about anxiety and how it’s been affecting me recently.
Last Saturday when my husband and I laid down our heads, we fully anticipated heading out early the next morning for a King’s Island adventure. The weather was supposed to be perfect, and it happened to fall on our planned day away from the gym. Well morning came, beautiful as promised, but we didn’t end up popping in the car for the road trip. Instead, I ate my cereal and stared at the wall as anxious thoughts raced through my veins. What would I eat? How much will it cost? Will I get a headache? There was no way I was mentally prepared to be plummeting, spiraling, and screaming on a roller coaster in a couple hours time. The sunny 72 degree day was beckoning me to leave the apartment, but my mind was giving it the cold shoulder. Rather than making the most out of the morning and spending time with my husband, I sat on the couch, paralyzed with generalized fear. This anxiety didn’t just come out of nowhere, it had been brewing over the previous few days, but I had been trying my best to act like everything was fine. I thought if I ignored it, then it would just go away. As the minutes wasted by, anger began to compound my anxiety as I thought about how stupid I was being.
I felt like I had been transported into my mindset from a year ago.
After about 2 agonizing hours, my anger swelled enough to pop me out of my misery and I went for a walk to join my husband at a local coffee shop. I told him my thoughts, my fears, and my struggles. I think the first breath I took after finally letting it all go was the first free breath I had taken all day. Noah looked me in my teary eyes and just said this, “I can’t predict the future, and the past has already happened. Focus on the little things in the present that make you happy in the moment. Think about how nice the sun feels and how you are sitting here with me…”. He continued on, but I honestly at this point couldn’t listen super well because I was emotional and so mesmerized by how amazing of a husband I have. How could I have been so foolish? If I would’ve accepted my anxiety when it first appeared, it wouldn’t have conjured up as bad of a storm.
After promising each other that we would have a great rest of the night, we walked hand-in-hand back home. It just so happened that when I checked the mail on the way in, I had a letter written by my grandma waiting for me. It just confirmed everything Noah had just told me, and made me realize once again just how passionate I am about sharing my honest feelings with the world on this blog, both the good and the bad. To top it off, Noah made me vegetarian chicken and noodles to make me feel better.
In order to fully live in the moment and impress upon myself that I am stronger than my thoughts tell me I am, he drove me up north to Ivanhoe’s Drive-in. Even though its extensive list of sundaes and shakes is more than slightly overwhelming and they are perpetually busy, we had a wonderful time. The sheer size and taste of my “cloud” sundae was worth the full hour of waiting.
While I didn’t go on a physical rollercoaster yesterday, I went on a mental rollercoaster that instead of looping backwards, I was propelled into a greater sense of well-being. It may have started out rough, but it ended up being a great day for learning about myself. I thought that to be emotionally/mentally healthy you had to be happy all the time and never worry, but I realize now that that mentality is immature. Having a healthy mind involves accepting who you are and understanding how to be at peace with the fact that you may not always be at peace.
I am an anxious person, and that will never change, but what I can change is how I choose to let it affect my attitude. I will just leave you with these last three thoughts to hopefully spare you spending too much time being frozen in your mind.
- Be honest with yourself and the ones around you. Don’t feel like you need to hide any anxiety or depression. It’s okay not to be okay 100% of the time, and telling someone about it often makes things much more bearable. Often times, people will respond with their own insecurities as well. There is strength in numbers.
- Appreciate the present. Little sparks of energy slowly start a fire, so build a fire for life rather than a fire for self-destruction. Think about the positive things, or maybe make a list of things you are thankful for before you go to bed each night.
- Do the very things that scare you (within reason-don’t go jumping off cliffs or acting reckless, you know what I mean). For example, if you are worried about your diet, eat something that may not be good for you just to prove to yourself that you have the strength to do it and move on. Maybe you are scared of talking to people? Try complimenting a random stranger about something each time you go out for a while.