Anxiety: You feel like you are breaking, but you are not broken!
I sit here and write this post with muddled thoughts.
Clarity is far off in the distance.
The closer I try to get to it the further I am from it.
I see things through a frosted lens.
Unable to absorb it all.
Unable to connect all of the dots.
Like my head is living in the fog.
A state of fog.
Because of this haze, I sit here judging myself.
My self worth.
I sit her with anger, frustration and shame.
Wishing I was stronger.
Wishing I knew better.
Wishing I had better control.
Wishing I wasn’t weak.
Wishing I wasn’t lazy.
Two weeks ago was when it all started.
When the space started to get smaller.
The air started to get thinner.
The restlessness attacking my skin like when a tattoo artist starts goes to work. A needle in constant motion. Picking at my skin. Without a break. Without rest. You start to feel the heat on your skin. Your pain threshold starts to get lower.
And then the panic starts to come.
Slowly at first.
Then like a hurricane it comes and turns over everything in its path.
Complete and utter destruction.
Leaving you broken and wounded.
Breaking into a million little pieces - all scattered about.
And you have to find a way to pick up the pieces.
To put yourself back together again.
To try to feel whole.
I want to give anxiety context.
I want those of you who live with anxiety to be nodding your head with understanding.
And I want those of you who have no idea what its like to think…….oh…..so…its like that….I had no idea!
I know from experience what it is like to stare off into space when someone mentions anxiety.
The word did not have meaning to me.
Before it became the devil I dance with.
I simply could not understand.
It was not apart of my life.
I know how hard it is to try to understand something that has not been personally experienced.
Watching from the sidelines instead of being amongst those in the fight.
It is not a wound that you can cover with bandaid and a kiss.
It is not a visible scar on the chest with a tale of heroicy.
No. This is one of those wars waged on the inside
A battle that always ends with some kind of emotional warfare.
A war that no one can see.
Leaving you as the sole survivor.
So here I go…trying to give anxiety context.
What it is like for ME.
Anxiety to me is like the weather.
It is never the same from day to day or moment to moment.
It is always changing and is never constant - but it is always present.
Hidden or sleeping in the deep recesses of ourselves.
But always present.
You can attempt to predict its next weather pattern.
But like the weather man we are almost always wrong.
Unpredictable and ever changing.
Sometimes all it is, is extra weight on your body. A blanket you have to carry around everywhere you go.
It is a million tiny black ants crawling all over your skin that you cannot scratch away. The itch scratching away the calm parts of you.
Sometimes it is a ball and chain, seeping energy from your body with each and every step you take. Unable to break the chain. It is with you. In the mall. The grocery store. In the rocking chair. It sleeps with you.
It is the sight of a light in the far distance begging you for its attention. You can see it. You know there is something there. But you have no idea what or why it is calling for your attention. And there it remains. In the distance. Unreachable. Your attention always being dragged to it knowing you cannot find it’s source.
Sometimes it is a fast heartbeat. A quickened pace. You can feel it in your neck. In your wrists. You can feel it get stronger. It pulses through your body with the urgency and vibration of a new electrical current.
It is sweaty palms and shaking hands. Insecurity oozing from your pores. Broken confidence tainting every thought. Unable to stand proud in your power. Pushing you into a corner of insignificance.
Sometimes it is a dry mouth. A quivering voice. That hollow voice within. Wishing to be free. Unable to speak your truth. Paralyzed by repercussions. It keeps you frozen. Complacent. The truth rotting you at the core.
It is the raise of your voice. A yell. A scream. With no root cause. Anger biting anyone in its path. Gnawing at all of the raw parts of yourself.
Sometimes it is a wave just passing over your body. Reminding you of its presence. Of its power. Taking you away into the current. Pushing and pulling. Coming and going just like an oceans tide.
It is a nagging thought like a child tugging at your clothes the whole day. Tugging at your brain. Distracting you from every task and chore.
Sometimes it is an uneven heartbeat keeping you from dream land. Tossing you around in your bed like a paper bag in the wind. Unsettled and tired. Oh so tired. But unable to sleep.
It is the same threat repeated over and over in your head. Like a broken record. Each repeat festering deeper into your brain baiting insanity to come out and play.
Sometimes it is the tears on your pillow and hours in your bed doing absolutely nothing for reasons you cannot explain. Not having the energy to do even the smallest of life’s tasks like shower or make food. Energy being expelled with each tear. Draining you into a sleepy haze. But sleep still does not come.
Sometimes it is anger so deep and so volatile it roars through you and out of you in a rage you never could have anticipated or bare to be a witness to.
And then there are the times when you feel the wave starts to overtake you. Pulls you under. Pushing you down. Suffocating you. Filling your lungs with water. You can’t breathe. You can’t find air. You are pulled down so far you have no idea which way is up or out. Your heart pounds so fast. Out of your chest. You wonder if you are having a heart attack. It is all consuming. The lump in your throat cannot be swallowed down. Your body quivers and goes ice cold. You shake and you break.
Break under the pressure of it all. Breakdown. Break a part. You feel like you are left lying on the bottom of the ocean floor, shattered, while the waves crash above your head and the air is stripped from your lungs. It feels lifeless and all consuming.
That is what anxiety is like for me.
Different all of the time.
Wearing so many different suits.
But always present.
It makes me feel broken.
Yes, still, now. In this moment. Even as I write this to you I feel like a part of me inside is broken.
Like I am not whole.
Because I have this thing I live with.
Because I have this thing that can come and invade my life without a moments notice.
The worst part is it can happen anywhere.
In a car.
In the grocery store.
At a family birthday party.
I never know why.
What triggers it.
What pulls me down.
Or how long I will be down for.
It is an unknown beast that I am still trying to figure out and defeat.
But I re-learn after every episode that there is nothing wrong with me.
Anxiety is a real thing.
It happens to me.
It happens to others.
And I have to find my way through it.
If you live with anxiety……
There is nothing wrong with you!
You are not broken!
You are an incredible human who lives with hard shit.
Really fucking hard shit.
Anxiety is a life sucking force.
I get it. I feel your pain.
But like all things in life…….Pain is temporary. Pain passes.
And Anxiety does too.
It comes and goes like weather storms.
But when the storms hits remind yourself that YOU ARE NOT BROKEN!
A More In Depth Look at Anxiety:
A great article that puts a microscope on Anxiety and covers:
Signs and symptoms of Anxiety
Different types of Anxiety Disorders
When to see a doctor
Medical Causes of Anxiety
Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:
Feeling nervous, restless or tense
Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
Having an increased heart rate
Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
Feeling weak or tired
Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
Having trouble sleeping
Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
Having difficulty controlling worry
Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
Anxiety / Panic Attack vs Heart Attack:
The very first time I had an anxiety attack I honestly thought I needed to go to the hospital for my heart. I remember thinking how does someone in her 30’s have a heart attack.
Well it wasn’t a heart attack it was a panic / anxiety attack.
But since it felt like that I thought I would put the symptoms of each here so that if it happens to you for the first time you can tell whether this is a moment that will pass or a moment that you do need to call for an ambulance.
Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms:
Pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to your neck, jaw or back
Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain
Shortness of breath
Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness
How I personally reduce my anxiety:
No more coffee: Coffee is a drug to me. I am completely addicted to it. Depend on it. Crave it. Need it. I have had to drastically reduce my caffeine consumption since anxiety and I became best friends. Now in the morning I drink a powdered blend that is 70% Chicory and 30% Coffee. I may have one real coffee in the afternoon, out for a date or at work but I definitely do not do it if anxiety is hanging out with me that day.
No socializing: I don’t post on social media. I don’t write blog posts. I don’t maintain my regular dates. I don’t call people. I tune in and tune the rest of the noise out. I focus on what I need in moment and ignore everything esle.
Rest. Rest. Rest: When anxiety is covering me in a blanket or putting my heart through a stress test that I am sure to fail I need a lot of rest. I watch way too much Netflix and I do the absolute bare minimum. I rest until I am forced to do something like pick up my kid or go to work. I give myself the space and time needed to vacate my brain and body.
No alcohol: I have started to become dependent on the drink. To get me through a shift. To get me through a fight night with my husband. To calm my nerves. I just need a drink. But it is actually do so many other things that are hindering me from moving through and past my anxiety. So now I have to remove that crutch and get through the heaviness without self medicating.
Emotional purging: I used to think crying was a weakness. Now I see it as a way for my body to cleanse and purge the emotions that are deep within me. I look at a good cry now as a release. You have to find an emotional purge that matches the emotion you are having. Sadness = cry. Anger = burn energy with fitness. Scared = find your safety and cuddle up tight with it.
Ask for help: I ask someone to take my kid so I truly do have the space and time I need to process what is happening, how I am feeling and how to go forward. I ask my husband to pick up food so I don’t have to deal with leaving the house, getting groceries, taking the energy to cook something and then clean. Sometimes it is all just too much.
Clean the cutter: A mess causes more stress for me. I really need to put all of the whitings away and tidy up the house for me to begin moving into a new space of healthy emotions. I have never ever moved through my anxiety while being in a mess.
Healthy: Being on my health game is the very last thing I do in anxiety. I am eating things that are fast and easy. I am likely not eating fruits and veggies. I am not moving my body or doing fitness (again, this is an energy thing) and I am likely not taking care of myself the way I usually do (water, supplements etc). But when I fall into this trap my anxiety is heightened. So I am trying to live off of smoothies and soup in this state instead of nacho chips and Cheetos.
Find my oil box: I have incredible tools to emotionally cleanse myself and bring me back to a state of balance and harmony. But in my darkest moments I don’t even think about them. They are just another thing that needs energy and attention. However, they are one of the few things to pull me out of my state the fastest.
Natural Health Tools + Essential Oils I use to reduce and manage my anxiety:
Yarrow | Pom: This nutritive duo was released in September 2018. Before I started using this oil I felt like my anxiety and attacks were completely unmanageable. They happened so often and so frequently I felt like my life was a constant hurricane. I started a daily routine Yarrow | Pom and after a few months of emotional upheaval - tons of crying and releasing - things started to feel like they were coming into place. I had more control and clarity. In fact, until recently, the last major attack I had was in September 2018. Pretty good run I would say. This oil can help with releasing emotional challenges that have been cured alway and bring emotional stability.
Wild Orange: When you open this bottle, it smells like joy (if joy had a smell). When I am dealing with anxiety things feel dark and gloomy. I lack energy and it is hard to do more than just be in my bed. When I do reach for my oils I reach for this one. It helps to pull the dark clouds away. Emotionally this is the oil of abundance and can help us tap back into our child like selves to rekindle the joy in our hearts. I wrote an in depth blog post about how this oil can bring you back to Energy, Joy + Abundance. You can find that post here.
Copaiba: I take this oil internally every single day without fail. When I am in the throes of anxiety I put a drop of this underneath my tongue and follow it with something else like a Peppermint Beadlet since the taste is revolting. This oil serves every single body system and can help calm those anxious feelings. See another very detailed blog post about the power of this oil and how it can mimic the same effects as CBD. Full Blog Post Here.
Lavender: It may sound too simple or too basic. Just to pull out lavender and use it in times of high anxiety. But this oil is so calming and has incredible effects on soothing the body in a nervous state. This oil will reduce anxious feelings, bring you into a calmer state and help reduce stress. I put one drop into my hand, rub my hands together, and inhale through cupped hands 3-7 times. I try to push out the dark thoughts by thinking of things I am grateful for with each inhale. This is a very hard practice to put into place. But when you do this every time you have anxious feelings (even better to do it as soon as they start) you will feel a lot better. If I have the space and time I lay in Shavasana with this oil in the diffuser near me or on my chest.
Balance Grounding Blend: I try to bring harmony, balance and put my body back to a state of homeostasis with this oil. This is another oil I use every single day. I put a drop in my hands and then ring the oil around each wrist. When the anxiety is ragging this oil is in a roller that I apply to my pulse points every 15-30min to help bring me to calm much faster. This oil was created for those of us who struggle with stress, anxious feelings, discouragement and frustration. Inhale its tequila scent and feel the tension seep from your body.
Life Long Vitality Supplements: I am very consistent in taking my natural supplements. This is a supplement pack that is designed so your body is able to assimilate them. They are what I call the game changer. Helping on so many different levels. Every single person who has committed to taking these supplements for 60 days straight has stayed on them. They are guaranteed to give you less pain, more energy and enhance your mental clarity. Side bonus - they help those of us with anxiety be in a better and stronger place to manage our feelings!
Serenity Restful Blend: This blend has so many restful oils in it. It helps to put us in a more calm and peaceful place to help us get a better nights sleep. So if you toss and turn because of your anxiety this will be a great oil to implement into your night-time routine. This oil is a beautiful addition to your day if you need to calm your nerves and find a state of relaxation.