A few months ago I took one of the hardest steps I’ve ever had to take and admitted I need help with my anxiety. I made the call and surrendered myself to the fact that it’s ok to ask for help. If anything I actually proved to myself how brave you really have to be to do that. You only really know once you are on the other side. (*she says patting herself gently on the back and rewarding herself with a double shot caffe latte)
You see, never in my wildest dreams did I think that making that call would result in me finding out so many things about myself and my behaviour that I didn’t know before. That in receiving therapy, I would be able to make sense of where my anxiety stems from. Never in my wildest dreams did I anticipate my life being so effected by a trauma that happened well over 12 years ago. Like most people, I thought I had dealt with our hijackings (yes two!) and had moved on. And for the most part I really think I have. But through talking to my therapist and opening up about the traumatic things that have happened in my life, we have begun to make sense of my problem. And when you are able to begin making sense of the problem, you are able to look at things through a different lens and understand why our bodied and minds respond to things the way they do. I mean there’s really no rocket science in that theory now is there?
So what’s my issue?
In a nutshell, we have come to realise that my main cause of anxiety is not having control over things. I’m not talking about trivial things like who has control over the TV remote or trying to control the situation to work to my advantage when we decide what restaurant to go to. No I’m talking about the big things – not knowing when I’m going to die or if something bad will happen to my kids, the feeling that life is so fragile and I have no control over tomorrow. It’s a feeling that can be debilitating at times and overwhelming almost constantly. In an attempt to feel half normal I asked my therapist “Is it normal for moms to feel like this ALL the time and worry about their children?” And she very gently explained that it’s not. While most people will worry about these things from time time, I have a wonderful knack of fixating on them. I obsess over them, almost as a way of preparing myself for the worst.
The second thing that has been brought to the surface, is my constant self-doubt. (Did you know this is one of the most prevalent issues in people who suffer with anxiety?) It’s the feeling that I’m never going to be good enough, that feeling that everything I should be proud of, I brush off saying its no big deal, that I have no real contribution to the world outside of my kids.
From there we realised that a large part of the issue of self-doubt comes with managing my expectations of myself. I’ve become so good at measuring my success by how much I do in a day or how much approval I get from others. I measure the quality of my day by the things I have achieved rather than the memories I have created or the special time spent with my kids. As much as I try I can’t seem to grasp the idea of doing nothing.
Where to from here?
I’m going to be seeing my therapist (Gosh I never thought i would ever be saying those words!) for another couple of sessions although she has already given me so many tools to deal with my anxiety. Besides making a conscious effort of letting go and not being too hard on myself, I have started to keep a book that I write in any time I feel the negative and critical voices popping up in my head. I was told to keep it strictly positive – not a single negative comment is allowed in it! So I have begun to record it all: the accomplishments I’ve achieved in my life thus far, the things I have to be grateful for and even the small things that have made me happy throughout the day. It’s been incredible!
Other things that have helped me
- I have been put on a very mild dose of anti-anxiety meds. I’ve been so apprehensive about it but with in-depth conversations with both my doctor and therapist we agreed that a minimum of three months will be worth a try. And so far so good!
- I make sure I get enough sleep – I try to be in bed by at least 10pm.
- I run every day. It’s really the best thing for me as I clear my head and release all those endorphins. Best stress reliever my far.
- I try to stick to as much of a healthy eating plan as possible without sapping the joy out of life all together! I try to incorporate as many super foods into my diet as I can as I believe there is a strong correlation between food and mind. Goji berries, pineapple, hemp powder, chia seeds, flax seeds and all that jazz!
- I stretch before bed and do breathing exercises and try to avoid looking at my phone – Such a hard habit to break but I am determined!
Guys any tips that have helped you would be mostly appreciated. Share below! ♥