Reflections | Identifying + Managing Anxiety
A few months ago I posted about anxiety in my stories on Instagram. I was BLOWN away at the responses received. The full spectrum of vulnerability, people sharing their stories…the intimate details, the causes, the experiences, the frustrations and overwhelming debilitation that often pair with anxiety. Usually, high engagement makes me feel so happy… it gives me the feeling that I’m connecting deeper with the people who often only capture a visual reel of our life- high engagement means we’re all connecting, right? However, this one made me feel heartbroken. I’ve been reflecting on the post and responses since. Writing this post has taken much time. I want it to satisfy the questions you had for days after and offer something of value for whoever reads this- a special thing to behold as it’s a poignant experience, topic, feeling.
I thought I’d start with a few bullets that might be relatable about myself and then move into some of the things you shared. I don’t have all of the tools for coping or resolving but sometimes knowing other’s experiences can help us prepare well or to feel companionship.
I was raised in a home where things like anxiety, depression, big emotions were all taught to be “a choice,” never a symptom or something to engage in. It was engrained fully that these were choices.
In my experience, anxiety doesn’t always feel BIG. Sometimes it’s just resting and present fully and consistently. Like the hum of a fridge- not even fully recognize it until there is relief from it.
There are physical ramifications of anxiety. This looks different for everyone. These visceral reactions are a response to all that’s happening inside. This can release in several different ways. The scale ranges largely but can start at unrelenting worry that leads to the most intense butterflies in your stomach and continues onto uncontrollable trembling or further, please don’t miss it or bypass any stage without addressing it.
For me, the onset of feeling anxiety is usually based around the unknown.
Not being able to control an outcome.
Ignoring smaller signs of my mind and heart needing to process something in a healthy way.
Feeling like something big is underway and I don’t know where I or the ones I love will land.
When I feel like my actions are going to affect another.
I was recently talking to someone near to me when she mentioned that her husband really struggles with anxiety, has his whole life. Sometimes experiencing a physical response, but that he’d never said anything to anyone because it can feel embarrassing. This resonated with me!
Over the past ten years I experienced thankfulness that “anxiety” became a trending, flippant, word because I was able to say it more often in public settings and see where people landed. They either laugh along and didn’t notice or they ask if I really have anxiety, to which I obviously laughed and refuted. Me? No. I just say that like you know, “oh anxiety, it’s a phrase…” But the truth is I struggled with it for years before I acknowledged it and then denied it space for another 10+ years before I really had to identify it and start learning about tools to overcome it. To manage it… to find freedom from it.
acknowledging it, 1/2 of the battle.
staying acutely aware without obsessing over it, another tool.
Acknowledging when I begin to worry about future things and reeling myself back to the present time, works like a good pinch.
Worrying is unproductive. No good fruit can come from worry or do a productive thing. Engraving this in my mind helps.
You shared these tools of your own to cope throughout the experience…
Listing truth vs untruth
Stop what I’m doing to create space for stillness allowing me room to focus on what is causing the anxiety.
Put the phone down and get out side for fresh air, a walk with my dog, fit in a cardio workout.
Take control of my thoughts and test them against what is known to be true.
Getting balance of hormones.
Remember that I’m not broken, I’m intrinsically good and the anxiety is a layer hiding my true self.
Remembering that anxiety is rooted in fear and lies. Holding on to truth to overcome anxiety.
Nourishing my body with the right food.
Diffusing/Applying Essential Oils
Breathing exercises, running, being intentional with relationships in my life.
Remember constantly what I’ve overcome.
Trusting in life, the universe, God that everything will be and has thus far been fine.
The constant that I’m reading throughout your responses is that it’s based in what we don’t know, what we cannot control, what we deeply care about but are stressed about. I think it’s all to common that we allow our thoughts to be consumed with a way to control one thing when we cannot control another which can so often lead to the spiral.
I encourage us to be present minded.
Stick reminders around the places we dwell and in our phones that bring us to a present time. That quickly remind us of the truth that we know are sure footed. And as those truths adjust, move on or change in our lives we find new truths.
Keep working hard friends. Create space for self care. It’s so much more than a facial or a golf day, it’s about resetting our hearts and minds to be healthy and whole. Remembering that we’re not alone and that there is nothing new under the sun are steadfast truths that offer goodness and grounding.
Gladly Embrace The Truth.
I hope you feel companionship and wholeness. I hope you make time to pursue rest and peacefulness. We deserve it and the ones we love do too.
All for now. xx -k