I need to preface this post by letting you know that I am not a doctor, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a therapist or counselor… In fact I have no expertise in anxiety at all except for the fact that I experience it personally. With that said, I feel I have something to share on the subject. My intent in sharing is two-fold: (1) to help you and/or your loved ones feel a little more “normal” in their struggle with anxiety, and (2) to start a healthy conversation about potential natural remedies to help calm your anxiety. What’s the saying, “misery loves company?” Well, maybe anxiety loves company too.
Quick PSA: It is possible (and in fact, quite common) for that person who seems to have it all together, who seems to handle things with grace, who seems to have nothing to complain about…to struggle with anxiety. Everyone, let me say it again for those in the back, 𝐸𝑉𝐸𝑅𝑌𝑂𝑁𝐸, faces daily struggles you know nothing about. OK, on to my two cents and personal experience with anxiety.
Anxiety is a non-biased offender. She doesn’t care about the color of your skin, your age, your education, your religious or political affiliation. Nor does she care how much or how little money you make or how seemingly great your life is going. She won’t think twice about barging into your life unannounced on a Mack truck. She will come and go as she pleases and provide little, to no, explanation for her behavior. Frankly, she’s a real B. But here’s some good news…regardless of her hold on you, as you read this post, “you’ve made it through 100% of your dark days!” (That’s one of my fave quotes from Robin Arzon @ One Peloton) Carry that badge proudly and loudly, and use it to fuel you to continue to persevere knowing you are not alone.
Anxiety barged into my life about a year ago. I think most who observe my life from the outside would say that I don’t have much to complain about. And admittedly, comparatively speaking, I don’t have much to complain about. I am happily married. I have 3 healthy kiddos. We live a lifestyle that allows us to spoil those 3 kiddos. I followed my passion to become an entrepreneur and am so blessed to earn an income while being present for my family. I truly have received countless blessings. But…you knew there was a but…my life is far from perfect. My life includes hardships, heartache, pain, stress, worry, conflict, and well #2020 stuff, that only my close circle really hears about. Given how my life looks on the outside, many are surprised when I share about my anxiety.
I didn’t recognize Anxiety when she first so rudely forced herself into my life. I was just stressed; I had a lot on my plate; It would pass — all excuses I told myself. I lived in denial for months. But one day my heart raced faster than ever, I couldn’t catch my breath, my palms got sweaty and I started to feel jittery. When I shared that experience with a friend, she reminded me those were all symptoms of Anxiety. Thank you, friend. That’s the day I finally admitted to myself that all those weird feelings and physical reactions were a result of Anxiety. That is also the day I apologized to those in my family who I know struggle with Anxiety because I realized I completely underestimated and downplayed Anxiety in my head. I hadn’t given her nearly enough credit.
Today, here’s what I think about Anxiety. I think she will visit all of us at some point in our lives. I think she’ll latch on to some more than others. I think she’ll bring some a stronger wrath than others. I think she’ll come when you least expect her and I think you’ll ignore her for a while like I did. But I also think we should scream her name from the rooftops. “I live with ANXIETY!!” “ANXIETY is always with me!!” “Thanks for the invite, I’ll bring along ANXIETY!!” I think we need to erase the stigma of Anxiety. Instead, we should learn to use it to give others, and ourselves, more GRACE. We should use it as a tool to understand each other better. And we should work to educate ourselves and our loved ones that living with Anxiety is not uncommon and it does not have to define you.
So, as with most things in my life, when I recognize a “problem” I get to work to fix it. I understand that I am fortunate to live with Anxiety so far without the aid of prescription drugs. I am not so naïve to think that everyone is so fortunate. I know medication helps many people. If you are happy with that remedy and it is working for you without negative side effects, then you do you. However, it is important to me to try to live through my Anxiety without involving prescription drugs and using natural alternatives for a remedy, for as long as I can get away with it.
Here are some ways I’ve found to help calm my Anxiety:
- Exercise. Consistently finding time to move my body helps relieve Anxiety. It doesn’t necessarily have to be strenuous exercise. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) agrees: “Psychologists studying how exercise relieves anxiety and depression suggest that a 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute workout. Some studies show that exercise can work quickly to elevate depressed mood in many people. Although the effects may be temporary, they demonstrate that a brisk walk or other simple activity can deliver several hours of relief, similar to taking an aspirin for a headache.” See Exercise for Stress and Anxiety, Anxiety and Depression Association of America , https://adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety (last visited Oct. 22, 2020).
- Giving in. Sometimes I just have to give Anxiety some time to take over. I now recognize and can feel the build helping me better sense when it’s time to just give in. This could be in the form of simply a good cry, or it could look more like a rolled up in fetal position full-on breakdown. I’ve even doubled down and had a good, all out cry during exercise. Ya’ll the release of pressure is glorious.
- Confronting Anxiety head on. I find that when I am honest with myself and others about Anxiety, it loosens her grip and takes away some of her power. Being realistic and honest about your expectations for yourself helps. If you feel your Anxiety won’t let you make that appointment, have that conversation or confront a particular issue today, then don’t. I’m not saying avoid things forever, but being honest about where you are on each given day is important. Listen to yourself.
- CBD. I discovered a certified organic CBD tincture that I trust and it helps. It is not a cure for Anxiety (or anything). But I find CBD releases some pressure, lifts a weight off my shoulders and lightens my load a lot. When I used to find myself reaching for a glass of wine, now CBD brings that sense of calm the wine once provided. The calm provided by the CBD lasts longer, feels better and doesn’t dehydrate me or keep me up at night. I still love wine….I just don’t feel I need wine each day anymore. And that’s a really great feeling. You know I like to research, so I did my due diligence on CBD before using it. If you’d like to hear my tips on how to choose a trusted CBD for you and your family, check out this blog post.
- Counseling. Nothing can substitute for a good therapy sesh. Licensed counselors are God sends. If you struggle with Anxiety, depression or you’re just not in a good state mentally, SCHEDULE A THERAPY SESSION. Many counselors, psychologists and therapists are covered by most insurance these days. Here’s a link to the ADAA’s database of licensed mental health providers that specialize in anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD and related disorders.
- My Faith. There’s a saying, “Let go and let GOD.” Five powerful and freeing words for someone struggling with Anxiety. There’s another saying “God only hands you what you can handle.” That one is total BS, in my opinion. I have not seen anywhere in the Bible where it says God will only give you what you can handle. In fact, God gave many people more than anyone could handle. The only thing promised by God is that whatever he hands you, with trust and faith in Him, He will lead you out of it. So, when God hands you Anxiety, sometimes the best course of action is to “let go and let God.” Reminding myself that He has control, not me, and placing my trust and faith in God also takes away some of Anxiety’s power over me. I created a list of 14 Bible Verses that help me in times of worry and anxiety. You can check it out here.
I am a work in progress. I do not pretend to hold all the answers. I do not pretend to know a perfect remedy. I do not pretend to understand what season you are living through. But I write this post with the hope that you will hear my experience and find some peace in knowing you are not alone, it is okay to feel the Anxiety you feel, and you are capable of getting through 100% of your dark days!
P.S. What natural remedies have worked for you?
Please share in the comments so we can start to erase the stigma of Anxiety.
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