Dealing with Anxiety

Nothing is permanent in this wicked world — not even our troubles
– Charlie Chaplin

The definition of anxiety is knowing your thoughts are irrational but unable to stop yourself from thinking+believing them anyways. For as long as I can remember I’ve been overly aware and anxious about others looking at me or talking about me. Even back in elementary school I would be nervous about how I presented myself and wary of what others thought of me. A couple massive fluctuations in my weight, caused by thyroid disease and pregnancy, have made the majority of my anxiety about my physical appearance.

I know all the things to say and the coping mechanisms to use I have a bachelor’s in psychology for Christ’s sake. Does that stop mental illness? Nope. Does it help me understand it better. Absolutely. My anxiety works in that my mind is my own harshest critic; and there’s nothing anyone could ever say about me that’s worse than what’s in my head. It’s basically like a dark cloud in the corner or your mind that you have to build up the other parts of your mind to overcome. I also develop physical symptoms in shaking, rapid heart rate & breathing, difficulty catching my breath, elevated body temperature & sweating, and eventually crying.

Doctors tried me on every drug there is. And while they can be life changing for some, pharmaceuticals just aren’t for me. It got to a point where I was like a medicated zombie. I’ve learned that the only medicinal substance that works for me is marijuana. Thank God I live in the great state of Massachusetts! Birth place of a nation and a revolution, first to legalize gay marriage, first to sign universal healthcare into law, first to adopt green practices into law, and one of the first 5 states to legalize recreational marijuana. Sorry I went on a little tangent there lol. But anywho… MJ slows everything down – my heart rate, breathing, racing thoughts, etc., but doesn’t make me seem over medicated like pharmaceuticals.

Herbal medication is only one small part of coping with my anxiety. I use a variety of coping mechanisms. I practice mediation with deep breathing and positive mantras. Specifically gratitude. I take long deep breaths and thing of all the positive things I’m grateful for – like my family, my health, my friends, the beautiful place we live, the travel we get to do, etc., – and I find that the good always overshadows the bad. I go to yoga. oh my God yoga yoga yoga yoga yoga. I found yoga about a decade ago like some people find religion. I have never identified with or felt spirituality until my first yoga class. It’s important to my soul on a core level. I journal, well I blog which is my version of journaling, to get all my anxiousness out and then reflect on it. And when all else fails I hold my baby boy…and the rest of the world melts away.

Don’t worry if people think you’re crazy. You are crazy. You have that kind of intoxicating insanity that lets other people dream outside of the lines and become who they’re destined to be.

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