Coming down from anxiety

anxiety

I have this distinct memory from the middle of last year. I was talking about anxiety with someone I was working with, who also happens to be a close friend. She was sharing her experience with it and asked if I had ever felt it.

 

I said no and 100% believed that to be the truth. 

 

Looking back, my anxiety at that point was at peak level.

 

I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty calm and cool sort of person. And I am… on the outside. But I’ve come to realise only recently how much I internalise. I literally stress inwardly and never realised that anxiety isn’t something you do, rather something you feel.

 

The things that started to unravel anxiety for me

 

  • My naturopath gave me this herbal mixture ( I fondly call sludge) for my nervous system and I could literally feel it calming me down.

 

  • I’ve been making time to write and meditate daily and I now notice on the days I don’t, that I feel tight and stress-y in my chest.

 

  • A long conversation with my counsellor brought up the fact that I never really show anger, instead I bury that feeling inside, which made me start to question… what else am I burying?

 

  • A rebirthing session (conscious breathing that brings up all your emotional crap that you haven’t dealt with) the other week was actually physically painful as my body released 30+ years of stuff I’ve been holding. Afterwards I sobbed for the sadness of it all. The next day I woke up pissed off with life and everyone in it. (yep it felt like PMS on steroids). 

 

  • Though I was hesitant at first, (the needles freaked me out) acupuncture has literally been melting my anxiety away. I’m so zen afterwards I can barely form sentences.

 

  • I’ve noticed that Eamon can be quite anxious about things, especially when it comes to school or social situations with people he doesn’t know well. Unlike me, he is excellent at voicing how he is feeling. I’m doing my very best to not teach him to silence that voice.

 

  • It wasn’t until I came down from my super anxious state that I could actually even feel and recognise anxiety in my body. I had to give up coffee (SOB!) and get honest with myself about the fact that it just creates more anxiety. It makes me feel restless and unsettled, like I constantly need to do more or something bad will happen. (Not logical I know, but that’s how it makes me feel). 

 

  • My anxiety definitely gets worse when I let life get too busy.  If I don’t have space to do nothing I can feel it starting to build in my body and my mind starts racing, it’s like i can’t catch a single thought.

 

Things I’m doing to manage my anxiety.

 

A morning routine.

I know I feel better if I write and meditate every day and the only way this happens is if I get up before everyone else. It doesn’t always work and sometimes Rory joins me, but it’s definitely helping. (Speak of the devil, Rory has just arrived on the couch next to me as I type this. It’s 5.40am, dark and cold. I’ve already meditated, written in my journal and done some really gentle yoga. It feels like I’m already winning the day). 

 

Being more mindful of food. 

It’s funny I’ve spent most of my life looking at food from the perspective of ‘will this make me fat, or not’. (actually that’s not really all that funny, I feel quite sad that I’ve wasted so long feeling that way).  Now I ask ‘how will this make me feel’. Things I know that make me feel worse – coffee, actually am slowly coming to the conclusion that all caffeine is not working for me. Gluten also makes me feel yuck. And… I think it might also be time to break up with my beloved red wine.

 

Support

Once upon a time I didn’t even go to the Dr. when I was sick. Now I regularly visit a naturopath, acupuncturist and a counsellor.

 

I turned off the noise.

I have a love/hate relationship with social media and I think this is true for so many of us. I still use it of course, you are probably reading this on SM after all. But I needed all this noise to not be in every minute of every day. So I’m trying to be a lot more mindful of the scrolling. Instead, I ask before I go into Facebook or Instagram ‘what am I going here for’ and then only doing that rather than being lost in the black hole. But its not just SM that was creating noise for me. Podcasts and audiobooks were also filling up my brain and every spare minute – so I’m trying to stick to fiction instead, things I read or listen to because they’re enjoyable NOT things that will teach me something.

 

Time for ‘pointless’ creativity.

I’m always creating. But I’d forgotten how to create without a purpose, there was always a reason to it – whether that was for the blog, to share on social or even just something to give to a friend. I’d forgotten how good creativity is when there is no point. I’ve been trying to make time each week for more of this, at the minute I’m getting back into jewellery making (my 14 year old self is loving this) and teaching myself to write with brush pens.

 

So that’s me and anxiety in a nutshell. I’m not sure if this is always obvious to others or whether, like me something you slowly learn to identify in yourself? Do you have anxiety? How did you come to realise this and what do you do to help it?

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