Anxiety

Anxiety, is a very sensitive subject with many.  It has a wide spectrum of its debilitating effects on those lives it touches.  It has been a hot topic item with those around me lately and so I wanted to shed my own light on it.

In my own personal experience anxiety stems from my own fears and insecurities.  For instance, when my boyfriend and I had our first summer together he had a week where he was gone to be a camp counselor.  Despite knowing how much he loved me this week apart caused me a large amount of anxiety.  Add to the fact he would be traveling with one of his camp counselor friends who was a female – enter self-doubt!  I had anxiety about the trip because I lacked confidence in the fact I was loved.  I had anxiety about the trip because of my own insecurities from my past relationships.  My boyfriend was not the cause of my anxiety; my past and my own self-doubt were.

When I can realize my anxiety, and recognize it is occurring I choose to take a good hard look at myself.  I ask myself why am I anxious?  What is causing this?  In doing so I might realize that it is because I am having to present in front of a huge group of people.  This makes me uncomfortable and is causing me to be anxious.  It may be the fact that I haven’t said what I truly have felt in my relationship with a friend or my boyfriend.  Holding in emotions can be a huge anxiety trigger for many because we keep our emotions in so we are not judged.

Anxiety also comes from our environment and from those people we surround ourselves with and the people we follow on social media.  I believe to a certain degree that everyone is empathic and can pick up on other people’s energy that surrounds them.  I know that I am empathic and am capable of being drawn in by the energies of those around me.  Have you ever been in a good mood and then encounter someone who is very stressed out?  Do you sometimes start to then feel stressed out and you don’t know what’s causing it? It is huge to recognize what is your own and what is not, I have had to ask myself some days is my anxiety my own or someone else’s?

I also make it a point to follow positive influences on social media or individual’s I feel bring value to my day to day.  As feelings of self-doubt cause anxiety for me I do my best to surround myself with individuals who are “real” in their posts.  What do I mean by “real”, I mean an individual who will post the good with the bad and can share even when they aren’t “perfectly posed” because let’s be honest real life isn’t like that.  Even in my own group of those I interact with daily I have those who I can reach out to when I am having anxiety.  They will then ask me the question of is it yours? If it isn’t let it go, if it is why are you having anxiety?

Being active in any way can curb anxiety whether you choose weightlifting, horseback riding, running, yoga, walking or any other form of activity.  There have been many studies conducted that physical activity helps with anxiety and depression.  I used to weight lift and currently my go to is Yoga, when the weather is nice in Maine running might be on my list.  My go to physical activity, especially when anxious, is not always the same.  It depends on what my body is craving, sometimes it’s a run or walk no matter the weather because I just need a change of scenery.  I will state though; my anxiety has never been helped by digging through social media or on my phone.

If I am unable to be physically active when I am having anxiety another practice I have put into place is being more thankful.  I will take a piece of paper, or in my planner, and write down what I am grateful for in that moment.  For this year I actually purchased a Five-Minute Journal that I write in every morning and every night.  If I have anxiety at any point in the day I remind myself of what I was thankful for that morning.

It is also okay to just take a day and sit with yourself and utilize these tools.  There are days where anxiety just breaks you down and gets overwhelming.  I had one such day when this occurred and it made me realize I needed help, I needed third party to talk to because talking to my family and boyfriend just wasn’t cutting it.  Sometimes that is what it takes and its ok to admit to needing to speak to someone.  It took me a while to recognize this, and that it was okay to see someone.  I bought into the fear that I would be judged for seeing a therapist and that those around me would be heavily concerned if I began seeing one.

Anxiety is real, it can be debilitating and frustrating.  My post again, is here to hopefully speak to you the reader in recognizing you are not alone.  If you follow my social media I try to be very honest and “real”.  There are many out there who also suffer silently with their anxiety and don’t have a fix but I hope that my post may help them in no longer being silent.

Fear

Every corner I turn I feel as though this world is coming up with a new way for us to be fearful, uncertain, scared, and worried.  We live in a world where terrorists are active within our lives.  We have social media constantly reporting on events that are happening within our own country that we never thought we would see happen.  We have TV shows that people get so enthralled in with criminal activity and conspiracy that our brains begin to fear what we see.

Even if we take it down to just us, just ourselves as an individual can you look at yourself and state what you fear? What you are afraid of? I find when we say what we fear most it is almost always tied to the amount of control we have over it.  When you are afraid of losing the person you are in love with it is most often because they have their own free will, they have their own emotions, and you have no say what those may be.

I can say, after much soul searching, a lot of the fears or uncertainties that I have are because I have no control over them.

With my boyfriend, there have been many times when I have been afraid of “losing” him or uncertain of how strong our relationship is.  I have been afraid because despite him choosing me, and choosing our relationship on a daily basis there are days when I know I can be a handful, my choices or actions may not be the best; because of those I fear that he’ll turn around and one day say “Nope, I’m done”.  It is tough to face these fears and uncertainties with him because while we have been together he has been in graduate school the whole time which is its own monster.  One of my biggest uncertainties has been despite being together the whole time, things change when school is over, how do I know we are strong enough to go thru those next steps too?

Despite my fears he has always been there to comfort me and tell me there is nothing to be afraid of.  When we hiked Mt. Katahdin two years ago and we hiked along knife’s edge (the name is NOT misleading) he stayed by me the whole time.  While I crawled on all fours across it and cried he was there lending his hand and encouraging me and telling me I could do it.  His reassurance, support, and comfort have always put my fears and uncertainties to rest.  I will admit some help from my therapist never hurt. J

From these fears and uncertainties I have also determined a fear of letting go.  I am afraid and uncertain of letting go of control, letting go of the thoughts and emotions within the situation.

I fear heights because let’s face it, you fall you fall, there is no going back.  Even tied to a carabiner I’m not exactly the most comfortable, it’s why I’ve never gone skydiving.  Free falling thru air, even if in tandum, no thanks!  I have no control over it, all these factors in these two situations are entirely not controlled by me this causes me to be afraid.

When I cut off my hair last year I was afraid to show everyone.  I was afraid of the judgement, the comments, and to put myself out there. It is scary to put yourself out there for all to see because again you have no control over their thoughts, their reactions or responses. Tying it back to our relationships, have you been afraid to be honest or voice your concerns, thoughts, feelings, or opinion with your significant other, your parent/s, sibling/s or friend/s.  It’s scary to do so!

One of the biggest things I am afraid and uncertain about is death.  For the last..ten years or so I have gone thru some nights where my mind just spins, I think of death, I think of dying alone, I think of those around me dying.  My mind just keeps going to the point where I have broken down to tears and have had panic attacks.  My mind has kept me up well into the night with these thoughts.  It wasn’t until I started talking about this fear with my parents and having a discussion that I have begun to cope; I know it is a part of life, I understand it happens for all of us.  What is driving this fear is my lack of control over when, where, how, and with whom.

I bring fear up not to be negative, sad, or doubtful.  I bring it up because despite fear I work every day to acknowledge it and be happy. Am I perfect? Definitely not, there have been many days where I have let it rule, I break down and cry and feel lost.  I know I’m stronger then it but it can be consuming.  When we give into our fears we not only are afraid but we can become angry, nervous, sad, frustrated, uncertain, etc.

The difference that I have found is in acknowledging my fear.  If I acknowledge I am afraid, if I acknowledge WHY I am afraid, and state what I can or cannot do about it I am better able to handle it.  Again, this is not fool proof and works often but not always.  Sometimes your fear or uncertainty needs to be talked about and brought to light so that those who you care about and are in your life can be aware.  I also have a therapist that I see to discuss these with as well because these fears or uncertainties are sometimes best addressed with her.

I share all of this and put myself out there in a very public way all because I have spent a lot of time recently being afraid, uncertain and scared for many reasons that have been out of my control.  So, as I stated earlier I decided to share, be open and honest about some of my biggest fears.  Hopefully this will help not only just myself but others in their journey to let go of their fears and uncertainties.

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