I pray that this post finds you all doing well! It has been a busy week for us and some changes are coming soon in our world, so I’ll be writing about all of that soon! This is one of those posts where I was really “hashing out” some things, personally. I wrote for about three hours and then realized that it had gotten ENTIRELY too long! The result is that I ended up with two posts in one, as I simply divided it into two separate posts.
There are things about writing, especially writing a blog where the things that I share are forever on the internet, that I find very difficult. It is hard for me to go through the process of writing; the getting your thoughts down on paper (or a screen in this case), making the thoughts coherent and making them flow in a way that makes sense, etc. I’ve heard it said that a lot of writers don’t like the writing process, but they love having written. The end result, the ability to express one’s self through the written word, the written word coming alive and creating a picture story in your mind, the remote possibility that it will help someone else; that is why I hash through the process of writing. It is extremely difficult for me to hit the “publish” button and put all of this out on the world wide web; especially in a world where it is common place for people to verbally assault other people for sharing their thoughts or beliefs. However, I know that there is power in sharing one’s struggles and I believe this statement to be true:
This statement gives me hope. For one, it reminds me that I am not the only one that struggles. It lets me know that I am not alone. It gives me comfort in knowing that I am not going through these things “just because” or worse, for no reason at all. That can be a paralyzing thought; there is no real reason or purpose for the struggle; that we just have to struggle, then we die and it’s only after our death that we don’t struggle any longer?! Who wants to live life like that?
It is the fact that MY struggle just might help someone else, either to not struggle like I have, or at least to give others hope, that they too can make it in this life, even with struggles like anxiety and depression and PTSD, that causes me to write, and to click “publish,” and let you all in on my world.
One of the other difficult parts of writing is that while I DO want to share MY thoughts, MY experiences, MY struggles with my mental health, etc. However, my story is not always JUST my story. There are other people in my life, that are a part of my story and my experiences. So, while I do want to share my “stuff,” I try very hard to make sure that I don’t tell too much of someone else’s “stuff.” Their story is not my story to tell, so I do try to tread lightly in that area.
I am currently dealing with some symptoms of my anxiety; racing thoughts, fast heart rate, the feeling that my skin is “crawling” or that I am crawling out of my skin. The main symptom, right this second, is that I feel almost like I am watching myself from outside my body, my body and my brain feel like they are working in slow-motion and they do not seem to be working together. I’m hoping that I can get some of the thoughts out of my head and written here, so as to find some peace, and quiet them.
Sometimes, when I start experiencing symptoms of anxiety, I can pinpoint what triggered it. Maybe I was in a crowded space, like church or a grocery store. Maybe I was asleep and had a crazy dream that triggered it. Maybe I was in a position where I was about to have to “put myself out there” like a job interview or speaking to a group. The point being that sometimes, I KNOW why I’m feeling those symptoms of intense anxiety. In those situations, I sometimes have the opportunity to simply change my environment or do something else that I know helps calm me (I crochet A LOT! In fact, I found a blog/website called “crochet away the crazy” and it spoke to me on a deeply personal level; not necessarily the blog, but the name of it! Lol!) If I’m at Wal-Mart and start feeling overly anxious, I can leave. If I’m driving, I can pull over. If I’m at home, I can make my room dark and quiet and be away from everyone.
Sometimes, I start experiencing symptoms of anxiety for what appears to me, and those around me, to be “no good reason.” It appears to be random and come out of nowhere. These are the times that I get the most frustrated with anxiety because in my head, I’m thinking completely logically and I’m fine, but my body is still freaking out and exhibiting those symptoms of extreme anxiety. I can tell myself all day “You are fine! Nothing/no one is going to hurt you!” etc. Anxiety does not care. It is not logical. You cannot reason with it.
Today is one of the days where anxiety seems to have come out of nowhere and for no reason. I woke up, made coffee, had an amazingly wonderful time with Brian, reading our bibles and praying together before we started our day. It was beautiful, and much needed for both of us. I drove him to work, came home…nothing “happened” that should cause a physical level of anxiety. It’s 10:30 am here, and I am SO exhausted already. I know that there is no reason I should be this exhausted; I’ve slept great the last couple of nights, I took a nap yesterday, I went to bed at a decent time… I think maybe I’m the kind of tired that sleep doesn’t help. Do you know that kind of tired? Your body isn’t necessarily tired, but everything in you is tired… Like your soul is exhausted?!
Here are just a couple of things that I have found that work for me, in a lot of my battles with anxiety. What works for me, might not work for you, but it is certainly worth a try, right?!
I often use instrumental music with no lyrics to help rest my mind. A dark room works best for me, so after I make my room dark and cozy, I lie in bed and turn the instrumental music on and lay still with my eyes closed. I try to focus on one instrument; I played the flute in middle and high school, so I usually try to pick out the flute and just focus on it. There is something about trying to focus on that one instrument that causes it’s music to stand out more than any other instrument playing. I’m not 100% sure on the science of it, but it actually does help ease the anxiousness. If I’m not careful, it will calm me SO much that I go right to sleep!
My doctor told me for years that exercise is the best anti-depressant, and yet the most under-used. I have recently found this to be true. When I stay in my pjs, don’t shower, don’t eat, don’t leave the house, don’t DO anything productive…those are the HARD days. Those are the days where the dark & twisty voices get loud. The days where I get up and exercise, and eat, and take care of my body, are typically the days that I experience the least anxiety and I feel the best overall. Believe it or not, I have MORE energy throughout my day, when I start it will exercise! I do my workouts with Camp Gladiator! They are an amazing group of people who genuinely want to see people get/be healthy and live a healthy lifestyle. They are popping up all over the place, so check it out!
One other thing that I do to help fight anxiety is to keep my hands and my mind busy. I crochet a lot; because many of the patterns are very repetitive. Once I get the pattern down, all I have to do is count stitches. Instead of letting my mind dwell on the anxious thoughts, I simply count in my head as I crochet. “1,2,3…1,2,3…1,2,3…”
If I can muster the energy, I will start in one spot, of one room, and try to declutter/clean/organize it. Sometimes I kind of get “on a roll” and will be able to keep cleaning for a while. Sometimes, all I can do is five minutes on that one spot.
As I’ve been writing this, I’ve noticed a trend…Dealing with anxiety is SO much about just listening to your own body, taking cues from it, and taking care of yourself in the best ways you know how. There is no “cure all,” no “magic pill,” no “secret formula.” We all just do what we have to do. We do what works for us; not anyone else. Be kind to yourself. Show yourself some grace. If you’ve had a “bad day,” whisper to yourself “I shall try again tomorrow,” and keep going! 😘
In His Grip,