Anxiety is Real; What Does Anxiety Look Like and Tips for Coping with It
Yes, anxiety is real.
Anxiety…isn’t that the word of the century? It seems to be all we hear about. It’s a big struggle in our society. The scale of anxiety seems to go for miles. There are all types and intensities as well as medications and treatments.
Yet, it seems that we still can’t be open enough about it. I bet almost everyone has suffered, is suffering, or will suffer from some type of anxiety in their life. It’s a real thing and can really affect someone’s life.
I mean, we all have anxieties, but sometimes we are unable to control that anxiety. Anxiety is just our minds way of protecting us.
Growing up, I remember always over worrying about things, being paranoid, and getting super anxious. However, there was not a lot of information about anxiety growing up, nor was it a thing people talked about or discussed, so I thought everyone thought that way.
Looking back now and talking to family, I know that I struggled with anxiety. I also had great parents, siblings, and friends who loved me, which helped keep a lot of my over thinking, over analyzing and anxieties at bay. It makes a world of a difference to have a support system. I was functioning, just…anxiously. Well…
My anxiety has been heightened since becoming a mother.
Anxiety comes in all forms. I usually feel the most anxious when I’m alone with my kids.
Most of the time I don’t know what brings it on, but it’s this heavy weight/burden that I can feel on my chest and I can feel my heart racing. When my daughter was an infant, I would cry as soon as my husband left each morning and until he came home each night. I just didn’t want to be alone with her. She was very colicky and cried all the time, which only added to my anxiety.
Anxiety also comes in all intensities. Some people have major panic attacks where they’re disoriented or can’t breathe. At first I would just cry and cry and freak out when I was alone, begging my husband not to leave each morning.
I just wanted “out” and would often think of running away from my life. (This goes hand and hand with depression). Now, mine is more of an inside panic. You can’t tell just by looking at me that I’m struggling, and only those closest to me know that I become more irritable and on edge. Sometimes I lash out. I just get a rush of emotions that become very overwhelming and frustrating:
I feel emotional and like I can’t control my emotions; I lash out and cry over the simplest of things.
I feel irritable and frustrated.
I can feel my heart beating really fast.
I just want to run away from the situation.
I feel like I have no control of myself and that I’m not myself.
I feel like I have to be doing something to occupy my brain.
I fidget like nobody’s business.
I shutdown and I feel defeated.
Before this, I didn’t know what anxiety was, and I was sure it wasn’t something I could possibly have. However, about a year after having my daughter, I sought help. I was able to speak to a therapist and psychiatrist about my anxiety and depression, and was given medication. At first I couldn’t take the medication, I felt like I should be able to just make this go away; I was in denial. It wasn’t until later that I decided this was something I needed to accept and work on. I know that I am not the only one who has struggled with anxiety or new anxiety levels since becoming a mom. Know you are not alone, and that it’s okay! My anxiety has definitely improved over the past couple of years, and here are some tips and tricks that continue to help me today:
10 Ways to cope with Anxiety:
Validate your Anxiety! When I was first prescribed medication for anxiety I didn’t take it. I still struggled with the idea that I had it. It was just recently that I started acknowledging it, and it has made all the difference. Don’t go feeling sorry for yourself, but recognize that it’s real, seek the help you need and kick its butt! Also, don’t let someone make you feel inferior for something that’s very real to you. Now, there will always be those few people that fake it, or over dramatize it, which makes it impossible for the rest of us to be taken seriously. Unfortunately those people are everywhere, and they just need Jesus.
Mindset is everything.
I am not saying that you can just wish away anxiety. What I am saying is that your attitude about the situation makes a huge difference. One of the ways I calm myself down is by asking myself questions to create a certain mindset. I talk myself through the situation. What’s the best case scenario? What’s the worst? What will happen if this happens? (More to come on this later).
Therapy does wonders.
I saw a therapist for about a year when my daughter was 1. I was like; why didn’t I do this earlier? It can help to talk about your anxieties to a person
“Speaking as a completely objective third party observer with absolutely no personal interest in the matter”. #NameThatMovie?
They can also help you develop strategies to create a good habitual mindset to help with your anxieties.
Medication goes hand in hand with therapy. It helps to have them together. Don’t be afraid to take medication if you decide it’s the best choice for you.
5. Support Group.
Build a support group around you. Don’t be afraid to let your family and friends, or people you trust know what you are struggling with. Go to them for comfort in hard times and let them help. Remember that there are people who love you and care for you. You are not alone.
6. Love. Love, love, love yourself.
Accept that you are you. You are flawed, but you are also amazing. Your anxiety doesn’t define you and it is not who you are. I find the quicker I am to love myself and forgive myself for hard days, the easier it is to face it when it comes again.
Seek love, direction and counsel through a loving Savior. Pray to Him. He is there to help and bring you peace even in the hardest of times. He loves you. There have been many days when I have prayed for help and guidance on what to do. I ask him everyday for help. He has definitely been there for me.
8. Bad days.
Accept that you will have bad days. You just will. Anxiety is not an easy battle, and some days you will lose that battle, and that’s okay. Try to remind yourself that it’s okay to have a bad day. Don’t feel defeated. You can try again tomorrow.
Be aware of what triggers your anxiety, and avoid those things. You won’t be able to all the time, but you can, do! For me it usually happens when I’m alone with my kids, so I plan for it. I know the times I’ll be by myself and I prepare. We try hard to plan in advance so nothing catches me off guard.
10. Lastly, Laugh at yourself.
Ya’ll my husband is one of my biggest supports when it comes to my anxiety. One of the ways he helps me is by making light of the situation. He laughs at me everyday for little things that I worry about. He knows that it’s real worry for me, but laughing at yourself can make all the difference.
Don’t take yourself so seriously!