Anxiety is NOT a Character Flaw

Hey #strongbabes – guess what? It’s almost 2017!

It’s only natural that this time of year would cause many of us to pause and reflect, as we venture forward into the New Year.

This post is for those of us who, despite trying this year, still feel like they aren’t good enough. This post is for those who have trouble seeing all they have accomplished this year, because their mind is clouded with self-doubt. This post is especially for those who struggled with mental illness this year and aren’t sure how to move forward.

I need to tell you something.

Mental illness might be a part of you, but it’s not all of you. And your anxiety, your depression, your eating disorder, your bipolar disorder – it’s a condition – not a character flaw.

There is nothing wrong with YOU as a person. If you could, for a moment, separate yourself from your diagnosis. Because it is simply a label for something you are going through.

I have anxiety. But I am not myself anxiety. I’m not even anxious every day, or all the time. It’s just something that comes over me occasionally, like a wave. And like many of you going through something similar, I help myself as best I can and wait for it to pass.

I’ve heard so many of my friends before say that they feel “defective” because of their mental illness. Like they weren’t born right; like they were a mistake. And I’d be lying to you now if I said I never felt that way, because I have.

“What’s wrong with me?” I’d ask. And then I would gently say to myself “nothing is wrong with you, you are just having a hard time”. It’s a place that took me a long time to get to. But I want to see you guys get there too.

And if you are there, don’t be afraid to give a hand up to someone else in need. The next time you hear someone beating themselves up for their mental illness, remind them that there is nothing wrong with them. Remind them that their mental illness is a condition, not a character flaw.

Remind them that they are perfect, perceived flaws and all, and just as they were always meant to be.

Thanks for being on this journey with me.

 

Upcoming stuff I am SUPER EXCITED about

Hello all you wonderful people!

I decided to try something a little different today in my blog post – a video! Yup, this is me!

 

I think subconsciously the goal was to see how many times I could say “Super Excited” in one video (Hey, I can laugh at myself!). Honestly though, I’m feeling good and I just wanted to share the positive vibes with you guys!

If you enjoy the video, feel free to like and subscribe!

You can also find me on Instagram if you want to connect! I post there every day.

Thanks for being on this journey with me!

Things my anxiety has told me (that are complete and utter lies).

If you have anxiety, you will likely be able to relate to this post so hard.

If you don’t, buckle yourself in because from the outside looking in this post will take you on quite a wild ride!

The mind of an anxious person is an interesting, albeit terrifying place. I know that when I’m feeling anxiety I sometimes have thoughts that have no basis in reality whatsoever. But in the moment, they feel so real.

Thankfully when the feeling passes, I am able to distinguish between reality and what my anxiety wanted me to believe.

Okay so here we go! Things my anxiety has told me… that are complete and utter lies:

 

“No one likes you”

“You’re going to die with regrets”

“You’re going to die today”

“You’re going to die soon” (this one is especially ominous)

“Your whole family is going to die”

“Everyone that you love has never loved you”

“People think you’re a freak”

“You’re ugly”

“Your whole life is spinning out of control”

“You can’t do anything right”

“You’re worthless”

 

It hit me a lot harder than I thought it would writing that. It’s such garbage. At the same time, I acknowledge that it came from a place hidden deep inside of me, fueled by fear.

Sometimes having anxiety is like having a really mean person inside your head that just pops out and verbally abuses you from time to time. So even though I don’t believe any of those things to be true about me, it still is hard to deal with in the moment.

I’m not ashamed of who I am, and I’m not afraid to be vulnerable. I have anxiety and most days you would never be able to tell; other days it is incredibly difficult.

I feel like I’ve come so far just by being able to acknowledge that when I feel anxious I am going to have false thoughts, and that I don’t have to give in to the monster.

Where my anxious people at? Feel free to share any of those fun irrational thoughts in the comments below.

We’re in this together!

Obstacles: Keep the faith and face it.

It often seems like just when life starts going perfectly well that something awful happens. We try so hard to make sense of it – we think about how much better life would be if it had never happened. In our minds we undo it all. Or we ignore it entirely, completely surrendering the idea that we might have any sort of responsibility to it at all.

At the root of it all, we’re afraid.

We doubt ourselves and our ability to overcome it. We become riddled with anxiety, or we cope by either distracting ourselves or denying the obstacle entirely.

When a obstacle comes your way in life, I want you to remember one simple thing: this is so much more than an obstacle. 

It’s about more than staying positive, or not letting anyone down. It’s about more than getting through the challenge because there is no other option. This obstacle is actually…

…an opportunity. 

And until you are able to see your obstacles as opportunities, you will maintain a victim mentality and continue to struggle. In your mind, I want you to have faith, that this has happened for a reason. Even if you can’t see it right now, even if it doesn’t make any sense right now, there is something good that can come from this unfortunate event.

This is your opportunity to grow. If you continue on through in your comfort zone of things going ‘perfectly well’, you will never be in a situation where you are so strongly encouraged to better yourself. Doesn’t the best come out of us when push comes to shove? Don’t we create new strategies to deal with these changes? Perhaps even have the chance to see a whole ‘nother side of ourselves?

When something ‘bad’ happens it is so easy to slip into that victim mentality. It is honestly and truly the first place my mind goes. My automatic thinking goes “why me?”. But I always challenge that automatic thinking. I know the more I face the fear of the challenge in front of me, I change that “why me” to “try me”.

And in that moment, I don’t know the how, but I know for sure that facing it only makes me better.

So I want to challenge my readers today – the next time an obstacle pops up in front of you: Keep the faith and face it. This is your opportunity to show the world what you’re really made of.

Have a great day everyone, thanks for reading!

 

Coping with Anxiety – What Works for Me

Hello lovely readers – wooh! 3 posts in two days! I must be on a roll.

Truthfully, I am making this blog a higher priority in my life. There is no time to wait to pursue our passions- only here and now! There is so much I want to share, and I know it’s up to me to make it happen.

So here I am, sharing it.

Today I wanted to open up about how I cope with my anxiety. If you have been following me for a while then you might know that I have made the personal choice to not take any medication, but instead to use particular strategies and natural remedies to help me cope. This is a personal

  • Sleep. I used to be such a no-sleep warrior. I still have guilt sometimes about going to bed early, especially when I don’t feel tired or feel like there is something else I could be doing (what can I say – I like to be busy). Yet I’ve found that being tired is the biggest trigger for my anxiety. I try to get at least 7 hours a night, but 8 is ideal!
  • Taking magnesium has been a big one for me. Since I started taking magnesium a few months ago regularly, my mood in general has improved. Anxiety can be a symptom of magnesium deficiency, and I think that I have noticed this to be true with me. If I forget to take it for a day or two, I can definitely feel it. I have been taking it before bed instead of in the morning – often I find I would forget to take it in the morning, but I seem to remember to grab a couple capsules when I am taking my other supplements at night!
  • Refined carbs are a no-no for me. They do something to my blood sugar, and the end result is always the same: me feeling anxious and upset. That means no white rice or pasta, no cake, etc. I opt for complex carbs like brown rice and sweet potato, which don’t have the same effect on blood sugar and as a result don’t trigger my anxiety when I eat them!
  • I have a great self-care routine that includes regular baths, Netflix chill sessions, time in nature, and exercise at least 4 days a weeks. All of these things keep my stress low and help pump happy endorphins into my body.
  • Since last year I kind of made the subconscious decision to be full-disclosure about my anxiety. My family, my friends, my coworkers, and anyone who follows me on social media knows I have anxiety. We are all touched in some way by mental health issues, so why not talk about it? Sharing my experience with anxiety has made me realize not only how common it is, but it has also allowed me to connect with people in a whole new way. I have no shame about my struggles, it has absolutely made me who I am.

 

As we are all individual and unique in so many ways, I cannot say that what has worked for me will work for you. But I do see the benefit in sharing ideas about what has helped us in particular – if only for the chance that someone else might gain something!

I don’t always use these coping mechanisms perfectly. I am, after all, only human. That being said: I still have panic attacks, although less and less frequently. I still have anxiety. I will always have anxiety. It will never go away. But I’m learning more and more how to deal with it and what works for me.

What helps you guys when you’re feeling anxious?

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EDIT: I have learned so much and come a very long way in learning other techniques in dealing with my anxiety since writing this post – if you are interested please check out my other, more recent posts on anxiety simply by choosing the ‘anxiety’ category on the right side bar!