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anxiety

// Thoughts on Growth \\

I want to say I’ve come a long way in the past two years, but the truth is, I haven’t really.

Yes, it’s true I’ve made some decisions that have helped me stand on my own two feet, and I’ve gotten and kept jobs which I never thought I’d be able to do.

But my anxiety is still holding me back.

The most noticeable place I feel my anxiety kick in, is at the gym. Two years ago, I felt like I could go to any gym and feel confident in myself and my workouts. However, now I can’t even stay in the gym for an hour before I panic and need to leave. It’s a combination of not feeling good about the way I look and the paranoia that everyone is looking at me, judging me.

As of right now, I don’t have to go to the gym because I created one at home. Solved that problem.

But in the long run, it doesn’t really solve anything. I just end up avoiding the whole situation and stay in my comfort zone at home.

I did go to the gym last week just because I had a free day pass, and it was terrible. I felt overwhelmed and uneasy but the most frustrating thing about it was how horrible I felt about my body. I didn’t feel strong. I looked in the mirror and saw a thin, depressed girl. It made me want to cry, so I worked through my sets and left.

Working out at home, I don’t have mirrors, so it’s been hard to really see myself. Going to the gym that day made me realize that I needed to reevaluate my health. If I’m being honest with myself, I haven’t been eating very much and tend to skip meals altogether at work, yet I always come up with some excuse why I couldn’t eat. ‘there wasn’t anything to eat’ or ‘I just didn’t have time’.

So in terms of eating, I’d say I have some work to do. The voices from the eating disorder are still there, louder than ever it seems, and it’s tough to tune them out and push through. They have been affecting my thinking and I know it. There’s no way around the truth, and the truth is: I am falling backwards. 

On the more positive note, and I’ve talked about this before. I feel like my communication skills have greatly improved in the last two years. Mainly because of my relationship with J. He has really pushed me to express myself and say what’s on my mind. At first it was annoying, and I felt challenged by him. But now I know he does it out of love and I know now how beneficial communication really is.

I still have improvements to make obviously, but I have been able to voice my opinions and concerns more easily, as well as my hopes and dreams, which makes everything run more smoothly, especially in the relationship. When we are on the same page and know where one another’s head is at, it’s easier to understand each other, But it’s also been helping at work. Just allowing me to speak up and make my voice known, whether it’s about something bothering me or just letting people know what’s going on during the day.

It’s a bumpy road. Changing. Growing. It’s overwhelming for me, mostly because I feel like I have so many things to work on, I’m not sure where to start. Lately though, I’ve been trying to just keep reiterating that I’m trying my best and everything will work out. If I can keep thinking positively, then I’ll figure things out, I’ll continue to make small changes towards becoming a stronger version of myself.

It truly is all about being more positive, and acting less like a victim.

Anxiety, Life, Personal

What My Anxiety Attacks Look Like

I don’t have normal panic attacks. There’s no rapid heart rate or sweaty palms, or fear of not being able to breath. But I do have periods of overwhelming anxiety. Periods when I don’t know what to do with my anxious thoughts so I sit and cry.

My anxiety is constant. It never goes away. Yes, some days I consider it to be better than others, but unless I’m sitting at home in my comfort zone, my anxiety is on full speed. When I say anxiety, I’m referring to mostly social anxiety, ie. fear around people, what to say, what they might say, what they might ask me, fear of looking stupid or mumbling my words. Basically just an overall sense that other people are judging me and being afraid of those judgments.

But I also have anxiety where I think too much about life: what should I do with myself, I haven’t made any major accomplishments, what if I never do this or that, am I going to have enough money this month, what am I going to wear, buy, do today, etc. And then there is food anxiety: what am I going to eat today, should I have this or that, and noticing what other people are eating and balancing my intake against theirs because in some weird world that puts my mind at ease. Body anxiety is in there somewhere too, obviously.

Pretty much anything there is to worry about, I worry about. 

Most days I can balance my anxieties, keeping them in check in order to preform the necessary tasks that my day requires: going to work, making dinner, going grocery shopping, having conversations with people, etc. Normal, human things.

But I’ve realized that I have two modes when it comes to my anxiety. Want and need. The things that I need to do, such as work and make money, is something that I can do without too much of my thoughts getting in the way. I mean of course my anxiety is always with me at work, but I am able to push it aside for the most part.

Then there are the things I know I don’t necessarily need to do, so those things I’ll avoid like the plague. Parties, social events, family gatherings, walking in public, going places by myself. These are the things that trigger my anxiety attacks because I know I can get away with avoiding them, but I am usually pressured into going either by someone else or by my own guilt.

What happens is that I feel like I literally can’t handle the situation or I picture myself not being able to handle it, by typically sitting by myself, avoiding conversation at all costs, feeling left out, feeling misplaced unimportant, forgotten, unhappy, you get the point. So if I know I’ll feel these things, then why would I put myself through them by choice?

That’s always my argument when I’m trying to explain this to other people. Why put myself through a traumatic event when I can just stay home and be comfortable being alone?

So my attacks typically start with me saying I don’t want to go, trying to explain the situation to someone, then my thoughts get out of hand, I start thinking about all of the worst possible things that could happen and how I will feel while being there, and I break down in tears. The thoughts and feelings seem perfectly reasonable and real at the time, but to someone else they seem completely irrational.

I’m just going to end up all alone in the corner and everyone is going to wonder why I’m so weird. 

People will constantly judge me based on what I will say, but more importantly what I won’t say. 

Many more thoughts run through my mind, which then leads to me getting overwhelmed, crying, panicking. Usually two things happen after my attacks: I feel better after getting the fear out and end up going anyway, or I get my way and I go home.

There have been two occasions where my attacks have caused me to completely avoid the situation while simultaneously being in the middle of the situation. Basically, meaning there was no way out of going, and my attack didn’t stop. So I go, say hello or whatever and then stay out of sight for most of the time, in another room by myself somewhere. Sad, I know. And this makes the whole situation ten times worse because it’s embarrassing. I can’t face the party so I hide and then people end up questioning what’s wrong with me, if not to others, at least in their heads. Or maybe that is my anxiety talking again.

Anyways, in the last seven years, this has happened twice, which is pretty good, but disappointing because the first time it happened was back in 2010 and the second time was last week…

So I’m not sure what happened in between those years, I guess maybe I didn’t have to go to any parties or celebrations, or at least ones I didn’t want to go to.

But I’m upset with myself because it feels like shit when I let my anxiety control my life. It also feels like shit knowing that this behavior can really make other people frustrated and angry with me. I don’t like to disturb the peace so when I do, it physically hurts.

In part I can say it’s not my fault, but when it comes down to it, it is. I have the opportunity to push past the fear, be bigger than it, but I don’t sometimes. I just let the thoughts take over and I start sinking without even trying to swim.  

I guess the thing that messes me up the most is that I still haven’t figured out how to deal with these situations. My coping mechanism is still to avoid, make excuses, push the problem away, but we all know how well that works. I have tried deep breathing and it does help, I have to admit. It really does calm me down and helps my mind relax. Drinking helps, obviously. Having a drink allows my mind to chill out and for me to not take things to personally. But drinking can’t be a coping strategy.

The best way to deal with my anxiety, and I hate this answer, is just to fucking face it. Face it head on. Go to the damn parties, gatherings, whatever. Do the thing that scares you.

I hate admitting it, but this method works. It’s freakin painful, but it works. Facing fear is the best way to deal with it. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. But yes, it helps you grow. 

 

Anxiety, Life, Personal

What Are You Afraid Of?

What are you afraid of?

I came across this question recently and couldn’t get it out of my mind.

What am I afraid of?

I am afraid of being a failure, of never being enough. This really scares me. It scares me so much that I will avoid doing things in order to keep myself safe and secure in my comfort zone. I fear any kind of failure. I fear the feeling of failure. I fear the feeling of not being enough, enough for others, enough for myself.

I am afraid of judgement, of people not liking me. I fear that I’ll never be anything that people hope me to be, or that no one will ever like me for who I am. I am afraid of saying the wrong things, wearing the wrong clothes, making the wrong mistakes. People always judge, and that scares the hell out of me.

I am afraid of not living my life. A weird fear, since sometimes I think life is pointless, but what’s the point of life if you don’t follow your dreams? What’s the point of being alive if you’re not actually doing the things you want to do? I am afraid of never reaching my dreams, following my heart, going where my drifter soul wants to go.

I am afraid of being close to people. Opening up to people is so freakin’ scary because there is always the risk that they won’t get you, or they’ll judge you, laugh at you, pretend they care and then leave you. I don’t like getting close to a lot of people in fear they’ll think I’m clingy or annoying. I hate feeling like I’m annoying.

I am afraid of being sad. I kind of laughed when I wrote this one down because I feel like I’m such a paradox. I want to be happy, yet I thrive on things that make me sad. That’s confusing. Maybe it’s because when I am feeling happy, I usually think I don’t deserve it, so I hold onto the things that bring me sadness.

I am afraid of regret. I am afraid I’ll regret things I’ve done, and regret things I haven’t done. Like there’s no win-win. Sometimes I find it odd when people say they want to have no regrets, but is that even possible? I feel like we will always regret something.

Apparently I am afraid of everything. Life is great.

xoxo

 

Life