• The Hopefulist

Don't let anxiety rule your life

I had anxiety for many years without realizing it. I knew I was uptight. I knew I took things too seriously and I thought that people were always trying to get one over on me. I felt disrespected all the time. I was mad all the time. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right and so much of what happened to me was unfair.

The second time I decided to go into therapy I was hoping to tackle some issues with my mother but mostly I was stressed out at work. The new therapist I had told me within 15 minutes that I had social anxiety. I thought to myself…social anxiety? I wasn’t anxious when I was around other people. But here is what I did do. When I got home after hanging out with friends, I would go over every conversation in my head and wonder if I said something that had offended someone. If I thought that I had then I would ruminate over it for days, sometimes weeks. I would go back and apologize for it and my friend would usually say, I don’t even remember what you are talking about.

When it came to people I already had issues with, I would make up scenario’s in my head of how things could spiral out of control. Before anything even happened. I guess it was my way of bracing for it. For making sure I was prepared and ready to react when the shit hit the fan. Obviously, this caused a lot of stress. I had numerous sessions with my new therapist and she kept suggesting I go on an anti-anxiety medication. I was anti-medication for most of my life. I didn’t believe you should pop a pill to make your life better. We all had ups and downs and you just had to roll with them. I was feeling a lot of stress at work. I was working myself into a frenzy on a regular basis. My therapist told me she was starting to fear for my health…that she was concerned I would have a stroke or the stress was putting too much pressure on my heart. I admit, the stress was taking a toll on me. I was tired of feeling freaked out all the time. I was tired of lying awake every night with my mind going over scenario’s that never even happened. Or one’s that did.

I finally decided to take her advice and start on the medication. I’m going to tell you that it was a game changer for me. My mental health improved dramatically almost overnight. I no longer thought people were out to get me. I was able to brush things off a lot more easily. I was able to differentiate when a situation was serious or if I needed to just blow it off. And the most amazing thing it did for me was help me sleep. I have had insomnia for over 20 years. I have never slept better than I have in the year and a half since I have started the medication. Maybe that is how long I have had anxiety and didn’t even realize it.

Another thing I realized after starting medication was that I wasn't the only one that had bad and unfair things happen to them. That's just life and everyone has shitty things happen to them. It's how you react to them that makes the difference. It's learning how to not dwell on them. Suddenly I realized the world was not out to get me.

I am not advising you to take any sort of medication, I am just telling you how much it has helped me. I wish I wasn’t so stubborn about it because I could have been much happier years ago. But if you don’t want to go the medication route there are other ways to try to control it to some extent. I have just finished a book called the 5-second rule by Mel Robbins and she says her rule can help you control your anxiety. It’s a great book that I recommend highly. I got it from the library, so you don’t even have to pay for it. It’s a quick read too so get on that.

Just know that however you decide to handle your anxiety don’t let anyone else tell you how to handle it. As the article pointed out, people would tell someone with a broken leg to walk it off. It’s the same thing. We don’t have control of our racing thoughts and can’t just turn them off. In fact, trying sometimes makes it even worse.

Just know that you are not alone. Do please try to figure out something to bring the anxiousness and panic under control in the best way you see fit.

It’s Hump Day! Think about how you handle situations today. Do you think it’s something you could use some help with? Then go get ya some! And make today your best day yet!

Please check out my website. It’s your one stop spot for everything “The Hopefulist”. Hopefulist.com.

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