I envision my anxiety sort of like ‘Fear’ from the movie Inside Out. But anxiety itself isn’t just fear. It’s all of your emotions rolled into one, turned inside out, and exploding like an atomic bomb…So in order to address anxiety, you have to be able to identify your emotions. Which sounds SO much easier than it is. Primarily because anxiety doesn’t come with a warning. It doesn’t come with a label listing out its contents. It just hits you. It overwhelms you. It numbs you. No matter what is going on.
Get a new job? OH cool…what if everyone in the office hates you and OH my God is there something you forgot to do? I need to make this the best, most impressive presentation of my life.
You’re friend’s having a party? OH cool…what if you say something super uncool and weird and what if your hair doesn’t look good or your legs look lumpy because you haven’t been doing yoga as much and then in all of the pictures you look horrible.
Texting an adorable guy – or falling for the one you’re with? EVERYTHING seems like the end of the world when anxiety has his cold, clammy hands wrapped around the situation. Why didn’t he text me back already? The message said it was ‘read’. Why can’t he come over right now – OH my God there’s another girl. Why didn’t he tell me I looked pretty today – OH my God I bet I look horrible.
What will I do after I graduate? What if I don’t get a job? What if I have to move back home with my parents? Then I wouldn’t have a social life or a dating life…but I mean I guess it wouldn’t be horrible because at least it doesn’t matter when I say horribly awkward social things or look like a total rag-a-muffin.
One of the better ways I have seen anxiety describes is the song Intro To Anxiety by the adorable Hoodie Allen [Bob Dylan is and always will be my muse, spirit animal, and songwriting soul mate…do not be fooled by said current rapper.]
“Sometimes I let my ego get the best of me. Sometimes I need someone to take control of me. Sometimes I let my demons get a hold of me. Sometimes I think that shit ain’t what it used to be. Sometimes I wonder why my stress is stressing me. Sometimes I lay awake and I can’t go to sleep.”
What if [enter worst possible situation ever] happens and I [insert completely dramatic and absurd worst outcome other than death]?!?!?
When we worry about these thoughts, and pay too much attention to them, they start to become real in our minds. The key phrase there is IN OUR MINDS..not in reality.
When anxiety overcomes you, it affects you emotionally and physically. We have innate responses to things like this, which is called the human condition (also known as ‘cutting yourself some slack’). Anxiety is a thing for a reason, and it serves a purpose. Anxiety is our body’s response to situations that are threatening or stressful. It keeps us from driving 400 mph, or blowing of your GRE. But the thing it also does is plant these tiny little thoughts in our head – ‘what if’ thoughts. Anxiety is our body’s way of telling us we feel vulnerable and unprepared. But it also spurs us on to make sure we are extra vigilant and ensure that we are equipped to accomplish our tasks and goals successfully.
Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.
Anxiety is something everyone experiences. Its okay to get overwhelmed with anxiety.
It’s okay because it is okay to not always be okay.
Every time we get upset someone is there to tell us it will be okay, and the thing is we know it will be okay, but when will it be okay? Which is forever the thing none of us will know. But you want to know the answer on how to deal with it?
You’ll know what happens in the future in the future. Give yourself time to heal when things get to be too much. Talk to a therapist, a friend. Ask for help with the things you need help with.
It is okay to talk about your problems. It doesn’t make you weak, it makes you vulnerable, but it will ultimately make you stronger.
You’re the only person who actually knows what is going on in your own head and you shouldn’t be afraid of your own thoughts or emotions. Even though some of these thoughts and emotions can be scary, intimidating, or seem like the worst possible thing that could happen. Everyone has rough patches and bad days; days where you feel like you’ve failed and days you don’t feel good enough for anything, but those days will pass.
Remember me talking about sitting on the side of the road and watching your emotions drive by like cars? Emotions aren’t forever. They will pass. We just have to be okay with sitting with these emotions. When we run out into the road and try to stop negative or scary emotions, the car just stops right in front of us…staring us in the face…being in our lives way longer than it would have if we just let them keep on driving.
“Love yourself—accept yourself—forgive yourself—and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.” ~Leo F. Buscaglia
It’s okay to cry, to get frustrated, stressed, or not understand.
These things can happen because your emotional integrity will still be in tact. What is Emotional Integrity? WELL, it’s the mental capability of a person who can take in, perceive, and understand what they are feeling…but it also involves managing your feelings properly.
You can work out your Emotional Integrity just like you work out your Quads!
Think about what happened, or introduced itself in your life. Think about the facts surrounding this fight, assignment, or other stressor in your life. All it requires to cope with your emotions is YOU. You paying attention. You being open to more than one option for your future.
Something that really helped me is to list out your priorities. List out your values, goals, the things that matter to you in your life.
Then when LIFE happens, stop. Think about the things you value. This will keep you living true to your authentic self, and keep you from thinking/feeling one way and acting a different way.
Sit back and observe the cars drive by. Don’t judge the cars on how they look, how new they are, or how expensive they were. Just watch them drive by. Stay on your porch, don’t run out into the road to stop them. Just watch them drive by. Just watch them…they won’t be here forever.