For a long time, I felt alone with my anxiety. When I was at my worst in 2011, I felt like no one could possibly understand what I was going through. Feeling like I couldn’t complete even the most basic daily tasks, I took time off from work to try to manage what seemed like a downward, uncontrollable spiral of my life. That time was a pinnacle moment when I realized that I would have to admit to myself that my body wasn’t normal and that I would have to commit to working on myself, every single day, moving forward.
It took me a long time to get a grasp on how to cope with my anxiety. Note that I don’t use the word control. Even now, I don’t know if I will ever be able to control my anxiety quite as well as it controls me. Over the years, I have learned how to cope, and really, sometimes it feels like coping is the only thing I can do to stay alive.
Looking back on the last few years of my life, I have experienced so many ups and downs. I honestly don’t recall a day where I didn’t have a flicker of anxiety. It just always seems to be present, whether it’s dull like coal embers or burning rage like a fire inside of me. But those high peaks of anxiety always ended up revealing a beautiful, vast valley of happiness. All I had to do was learn how to climb the mountain, handle the intensity of reaching the peak, and enjoy my journey onwards.
Anxiety really is a gift in a way. It helps us to remain aware of our bodies. We are so closely in tune, that we immediately know when something is off and when it’s time to regroup and refocus. We know how to treat our bodies right and we definitely know when we are treating our bodies wrong. With that, we are constantly striving to be our best.
I’ve found that so many more people around me now experience anxiety too. When someone talks to me about it and explains how they feel, it’s comforting on both sides to know that we understand each other. One of the hardest things to do is try to deal with anxiety on your own with others who don’t quite understand. They need to be able to sympathize with the fact that you think you’re having a heart attack or when you’re self diagnosing diabetes. They need to be able to talk you off of the ledge with words of encouragement instead of saying “just stop thinking that”. Having the right kind of support from the right kind of people is such a huge factor in learning how to cope with anxiety.
Just don’t get stuck. Try things and then try new things. Remember that some of the old coping mechanisms may no longer work. You’re not doomed, you just have to go exploring. Get in touch with yourself. Find your roots. Eliminate negativity and love yourself.