My Journey With Anxiety
I don’t know how to tell you this but you’re a major stress ball with a lot of anxiety. I know the word alone makes you anxious. Let’s talk about your anxiety and what happens when it does kick in.
I feel like I’ve been dealing with anxiety forever. I was officially diagnosed with anxiety in 2006, my first year in college. I notice as I get older it gets worse and worse. Nowadays I try and avoid situations that make my anxiety worse, however I’m not always able to. I think in my college days, I would just drink to cope with the massive amounts of social anxiety I would get, which would lead to several blacked out nights. That was college Jen. Let me also add, one of the worst social anxiety black outs I experienced also led to me getting my grandmother’s vintage Louis Vuitton purse stolen. Yup... It was a bad night.
There are 6 different situations in which I notice my anxiety is starting to take control of my life.
1. Avoiding social situations
I don’t know exactly when I started avoiding social situations altogether, but it’s something my friends do bring up quite a bit. In college I was someone who was always down to go out, take shots and party until the sun came up. But now days, I don’t even bother trying to come up with a creative excuse. I’ll literally tell someone I’d rather be in bed, Netflix-ing with wine and a bag of hot cheetohs. On the occasion that I do end up “out”, I’ve mentally prepared for at least two weeks. My girlfriends are really good about sending me calendar invites weeks before a big night out so it’s on my radar and I have enough time to put my party pants on. Gosh, how lame do I sound?! Recently, my social anxiety has gotten better. I’ve been the one texting my friends, trying to plan nights’ out so I thought I was slowly overcoming this. However, last week at a blogger brunch, my anxiety kick in bad. I found myself just very out of place, very quiet and getting really nervous. Which I find to be really odd. I think attending blog events really helped my social anxiety, it put me in situations where I needed to put myself out there and really make an effort to engage with others. But hey, I’m only human... I have my good days and my bad.
2. I lose my voice and become mute
Even though blog events and networking has really helped me overcome my fear of public speaking and large social settings, sometimes these environments get the best of me. When that happens I can feel myself shrinking, getting smaller and smaller and I just shut down and stop talking. This is still something I am navigating; I haven’t quite figured out how to snap myself out of it when this happens. I tend to just excuse myself and go home. Although this isn’t the best way to remedy this situation, it’s the only thing I have found that slowly snaps me out of it. I’m still working on this day in and day out.
3. Overanalyzing anything and everything
When my brain goes into overdrive and my anxiety comes at me in full force, I overanalyze anything and everything. Why did this person use an exclamation point and not a period? Why haven’t they texted me back? Oh my gosh, they hate me. What did I do? Maybe I should have said this or that. I was recently talking with a girlfriend of mine and she put things into really great perspective for me. What you are overanalyzing, is it a fact or a feeling? If it’s a feeling that’s fine because you can feel the way you feel but unless you know it’s 100% fact don’t stress over it. I know, I know, it’s a lot easier said than done but unless you know something is 100% happening or gonna happen no use giving yourself an anxiety attack over it.
4. Thinking the world is going to end (not literally, but my brain always goes to worst case scenario)
I think this ties into how I over analyze, but in addition to over analyzing my brain goes to worst case scenario. When that happens, check yourself. This isn’t Armageddon… the world isn’t gonna end. Sometimes I forget how strong I really am. I’m a child of divorce, struggled with bullying and some other things I am not so proud of…so I had to grow up strong, really depend on myself and my choices. Yes, there have been some hiccups here and there but I think I’ve done pretty well for myself and am extremely proud of the person I am. Whatever bad comes, I need to remember that I will survive it.
5. I eat anything and everything
I am an emotional eater. When I’m sad, I eat a pint of ice cream, an entire bag of hot cheetohs and can probably chow down about 3 cupcakes. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an emotional connection to food. When something good happens you go out to a fancy dinner and drink to celebrate. When you experience a heartbreak you curl up on the couch with your bestie and go through a lot of Ben and Jerry’s. I hate how food controls my life, especially because I don’t work out. If anyone has any tips on how to break this emotional connection to food… I’m all ears!
6. I’m mentally and physically exhausted
There are days where I feel just drained. Like I’ve been put through the ringer, been hit by a bus and just been told that I’ve failed at life. I hate this part of anxiety because it makes me feel worthless and for someone who really values their worth, this feeling sucks. The feeling that you can’t do anything right, the feeling where you’d rather stay in bed than face the day. I haven’t experienced very much of this lately but when I do I hate it. I think it’s important to surround yourself with people who continuously uplift you and also find something that makes you happy. I’m lucky enough to have a really close group of girlfriends who have known me for long enough to know that when I get into one of these mental exhaustions they very bluntly tell me to snap out of it, no sugar coating allowed. I also have found some activities that put me in “good moods” and make the day cycle through pretty quick. As cheesy as it sounds, go find your bliss. Do what makes you happy. Anything that stresses you out or gives you anxiety is not worth it. These two things will help snap you out of your mental and physical exhaustion and make you really happy that you’ve carpe’d that diem.
Although I have yet to find the solution to tell my anxiety to kick rocks, slowly but surely I’m finding things that help ease me out of it. You just need to remember to let yourself know that you are strong and you will survive whatever comes.