When I decided to start writing this blog a couple years ago, I really thought about it for awhile before I actually published anything on the world wide web. And I talked on the phone about my plans for this blog with someone who had been blogging online for about 4 years (cuz I didn’t know anything about it).
She said to find something that you would never get bored talking about. Blog about something you’re really good at.
I said “The only thing I’m really good at is being anxious. In fact I’m an expert at it.” She told me she had battled anxiety in her past too and it was horrible….
And she asked me, wouldn’t it be depressing to focus on anxiety all the time?
Then it dawned on me, hey I don’t know this person at all, why am I telling her this? She must think I’m nuts. “Oh Yeah- me too, oh my god that would suck. Yeah, I’ll think about something else I’m really good at and focus on that….”
I think back to that conversation now and kind of chuckle..
Wouldn’t it be depressing?..Is this blog depressing?… You know what? I have had just the opposite experience. Actually putting it all out there, what I go through and think for all the world to see (well whoever wants to see it anyways, lol) has been incredibly helpful and life-affirming for me. It has been instrumental in my personal journey of anxiety recovery.
And speaking of depression…
As a lot of you know depression and anxiety go hand in hand. It goes like this- first you get anxiety, then it tangles itself into your life and mucks everything up and holds you captive. You live like this for any length of time and soon enough you start to get depressed. Who the hell wouldn’t?
I have to say, in the past 2 years the depression part has not really been a problem for me. As soon as I started seeing some progress with my anxiety, the veil of sadness really started to lift…
Anxiety is not something I asked for, but I guess I was hard wired for it. It is what life dealt me and this blog is my story of how I am dealing with it- or not dealing with it, depending on the day (or the season, or my mood).
It is something I have been dealing with almost every single day of my life since I was a very little girl.
Whether you have been struggling with anxiety and/or panic attacks for months or years, one thing is true: being anxious absolutely affects every area of your life and can consume your thinking.
I remember for example getting ready for my wedding. I had the usual pre-wedding jitters and concerns like any bride. I had a lot of fun with my husband as we made centerpieces and planned everything for our big day.
But unfortunately, anxiety was part of the planning too.
I had to regularly see my psychiatrist to be able to deal with the anxiety issues surrounding the big day:
-Would I be able to walk down the aisle without panicking
-And how about the ceremony, how could I get through that?
-And oh my god what about the receiving line? I can’t even talk to people.??
-Etc etc etc..
My anxiety was 100% managed pharmaceutically back then so the basic plan was to just make sure I had enough medication on board to prevent panic attacks that day. And of course we would have a champagne toast before mass anyways…Even knowing all that beforehand, I still had a ton of anxiety.
And I have been a bridesmaid myself 4 times in my life. Each one of these times I had to deal with the hugely conflicting feelings of wanting to do right and fit in and be a good friend while at the same time doing everything in my power to not show I was anxious and practically dying on the inside. And making sure I had enough medication coursing through my bloodstream to keep me from making a spectacle of myself.
So for all the events in my life, big and small, whether I liked it or not, anxiety always loomed large in the background.
It turned me from outgoing and joyful in elementary school to silently tortured, desperate, drugged out and suffering in high school and college.
It affected my relationships with friends, it made me a whack job when I was single and dating, it made me a complete wreck in college, it made me a very very frightened new mom, turned me into an angry wife…And so on..
You name it, anxiety was always there.
So yeah, I totally get that anxiety sucks and it ruins your life and sure, I wished a million, billion times that it would just go away. But it never did. Did yours?
But now I thank God I started this blog. It has made me feel accountable for my actions and what I do about getting better. Hopefully it helps you too.
So yes I do focus on my anxiety recovery. I focus on it every day. Not in the sense that it’s defining me anymore, but in the sense that I am now in control of my life. I am learning to be my own safe person.
Whereas before everything I did was at the mercy of anxiety, now I know just how strong I am. (Of course I forget it a lot but I remember sometimes too ;)…)
I know that I can use all the anxiety self help tools I have learned to make my life wonderful, serene and satisfying FOR ME.
Nothing depressing about that!
Yesterday I posted The Top 10 Reasons Why Your Anxiety May Never Get Better. I did that for a reason. I thought maybe somewhere, someday someone may read it who needs to hear it.
And… I was guilty of all 10 of those excuses in my life. Years ago if you told me I would get better one day I would have laughed in your face. Despite that and all the thousands of other excuses I have convinced myself of over the years, I am getting better.
Slowly but surely…
The beautiful thing is, I get comments and emails and people talk to me on Facebook and share that they are getting better too!
That is pure joy!
I started using Facebook recently as a way to connect with other anxious people, not really knowing how it would go. I don’t use it to catch up with friends (cuz I really don’t have many real life freinds as you know) and I only have a small family.
But I wondered, would other people want to talk or share about their anxiety with me?… I know anxiety is usually really personal and private… Most of us struggle alone and suffer alone…
To my surprise and delight, a lot of people really do like to connect and share! Its nice to have conversations with other people who suffer with anxiety, who really “get it”. It feels really good to support others and to have you guys support me when I feel like crap too!
In case you are interested the page is Self Help for Anxiety & Panic Attacks. You have an open invitation and are always welcome! (And if it’s not your thing, no worries, I get it )
It’s really nice to know I am not alone on my journey and that my experiences are not unique.
Absolutely nothing depressing about that!
So that’s the ramble for today. I know you have to get back to your busy lives and so do I. Thank you for taking a few minutes to connect with me. Have a wonderful, anxiety-free, panic-free day!
I wish you peace,
ps.- I realize that everyone who reads this is in different stages of dealing with their anxiety. I know many are really, really struggling, and I know how horrible it is to live that way. And I tell you from my heart if I can get better, anyone can get better. That is why I put together my free newsletter. If you haven’t already, you can sign up here.