Anxious about anxiety?
I have spent the better portion of my life dealing with an anxiety disorder. It is really tough and sometimes debilitating. Other times it invigorates me and helps push me to be an overachiever.
The reason I am revealing my struggles publicly is because so many people come to me privately. It isn’t easy to admit my weaknesses and I have the same fears of everyone that I will be judged. There is much more I could discuss, but I am only dipping my pinkie toe in the “lets air my dirty laundry” blog series.
Today I read a really great blog called “30 things to stop doing to yourself”.
I usually don’t click-through to these types of blogs on facebook, but my anxiety levels have been high and I wanted to see what someone had to say. I have to admit, I am guilty of A LOT of the areas the authors recommend avoiding. Granted this is the type of over general list that will apply to literally everyone. Kind of like horoscopes… people are constantly saying, “OMG my horoscope is RIGHT ON.” Well of course it is, the generalizations are open to interpretation and as selfish creatures we can find a way to apply anything to ourselves. That being said, I saw a few gems on this list and thought I would write about it since anxiety seems to be a trending issue in many friends.
Mike has been very helpful for when I am panicking. He knows I need to talk through my anxiety, sometimes repeat myself over and over again until I can get to a calm place. He constantly reminds me feeling anxious isn’t necessarily negative and everyone deals with anxious thoughts. He is right to an extent. We encounter anxiety when great things happen to us, like moving or a new job or getting pregnant. However I have found my anxiety tends to escalate when it is revolved around negativity. Two things the author suggests to avoid are :Stop trying to explain yourself to others and stop trying to be everything to everyone. Both areas I am very guilty of and definitely lend themselves to my troubles. I feel an inherent need to explain everything I say or do in hopes I am always coming across in the best light possible. I am terrified of saying the wrong thing or disappointing someone. Often this fear keeps me up at night worrying I have upset the people I love most. I believe this goes hand in hand with wanting to be everything to everyone. It is so hard to accept our weaknesses and stand behind them. Conversely, it is easy to admit a failure and explain the reason why you failed. For me it is excruciating to allow a failure to be a known deficit in my character and then have the confidence to own it.
Stop worrying so much and stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen are probably the two areas I am most guilty of. For me, I worry obsessively about what I don’t want to happen. Doing this causes me to collide with the worst case scenario which is typically terrifying! After all, when is the worst case scenario appealing? The problem with this behavior is the worst case scenario almost never happens but the anxiety and fear wastes minutes/hours, even days of our lives.
For those of you that struggle with anxieties, take a look at this list. I am sure there are different areas that apply to you and facing them may help reconcile the butterflies in your stomach. After all, number 3 encourages you to stop lying to yourself. What better way to alleviate your stress than to admit to yourself what is most debilitating to you?
I hope my honesty can help just one person realize we all deal with insecurities. In a place where many of us work so hard to have it together its ok to just be good enough for yourself. Trust me, others will love you. Now if I could only take my own advice!