Suddenly I’m feeling alert, too alert, The tightening of the chest, the shortness in my breath, the trembling of the hands, my body feels at unease, all while my mind is racing fast with 1000 thoughts, the nasty little inner dialogue has crept in, BREATHE I remind myself, you are ok, you are safe – just take a second to just breathe.
For me anxiety is something that I have struggled with for a long time, not always understood and was once really embarrassed about.
I NEVER acknowledged it let alone talked about it, I did not want to be perceived as weak or incapable.
So in turn I pushed those feeling aside and pushed harder filling my days with things to do, tasks to accomplish simply so I could feel LESS – but it what it did was fuel my anxiety MORE until I could not ignore it no more – it wasn’t going to let me ignore it any longer, I experienced my first a full blown panic attack a few years ago, it was out of the blue, on a warm sunny day while I was happily singing in the car to my favourite song – I felt like I couldn’t breathe, my heart was pounding, I thought I was dying, having a heart attack.
From then on I knew it needed my attention. I owed it to myself to help myself, to own what it was, to learn to manage it and to take back my POWER.
With time and using various techniques I have learnt to manage it, speaking to someone to learn more about it has helped and I know now I can work through it, and so I no longer bottled it up. I’m not completely free of it but now I am much more aware of the triggers and the things or situations that can cause it to rear its ugly head.
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, she turned into a butterfly.”
Today I acknowledge it, admitting how much it has been eating me up lately hiding behind my smile, trying to tell me I’m not enough, that I can’t do it all, that I’m not worthy.
I had a cry, it felt good to release it – I sat with the emotions and let them flow. It’s uncomfortable but worth it I promise.
It made me realize all the triggers id been ignoring, all the work I was doing, the underlying trauma still there that I don’t like dealing with and the direction I want to take next.
The speed of life can feel hectic at times, in this fast-paced world, social media constantly at our fingertips, life – its easy to get caught up – forgetting we are allowed to pause. Be still. Reevaluate. Take time to heal.
Anxiety is actually normal, it is hardwired into to us so it will never be something that will be completely gone forever, its useful and needed in life to save us from certain situations or dangers – but sometimes we hold on to it, not understanding exactly how to let the body and mind relax. Keeping that in mind we can learn to manage it, it is not something that we cannot learn to control.
Despite working on it – Some days are just plain tough and that’s okay, there are going to be days that you don’t have it completely under control but cut yourself some slack and don’t take it personally. Be gentle with yourself and try replace your negative thoughts with ones that are more positive.
Remember you are not alone in this – so many these days suffer from anxiety, seek support from others when you need it, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Reaching out shows strength and also demonstrates bravery for speaking out.
I don’t have the answers, it may be something I’ll always work on, but I do know this; we are not our anxiety. I’m not alone in it and neither are you.
Take one day at a time.
Don’t ever hesitate to reach out for help if you need it, either to a professional, friends or family. There are many resources you can access online and over the phone too.
Black Dog Institute –Anxiety Help and Support
Australian Psychological Society – Find a Psychologist
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help now, call triple zero (000).
You can also call Lifeline on 13 11 14 — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.