Anxiety and I have known each other for at least 20 years, so I have invariably learned to manage it. For a long time, the beast went unnoticed/undiagnosed and my coping mechanisms were just considered oddities. It is only now with my familiarity with my anxiety can I look back and see that those oddities were indeed my anxiety manifesting.
As I have gotten older, my anxiety has also grown and transformed. With more and more life responsibilities as an adult, the pressure the sheer number and magnitude of things I have to be anxious about have grown, making it seem worse because I am confronted with it more regularly.
Anxiety’s effect on Relationships
There are good times and there are bad times on this nervous path. For example, when I travel my soul is free, I don’t even take my Xanax with me when I go because I know I won’t need it. When anxiety seeps into my relationships, it is exhausting and contentious. Especially as the person gets closer to me and we have to adapt to my coping mechanisms. It is hard for them because when it’s not in your own head, it is hard to understand the irrationality.
On my end, it can be hard to spend time with loved ones because I feel like I am burdening them with my looney toons or simply that I am more difficult than a “normal” person.
Know thyself- Dealing with Anxiety
I’ve taken a variety of approaches to deal with my anxiety, from pretending it doesn’t exist, to medicine, to just acknowledging it and letting it rock. Right now I’m in the latter. I am happier than I’ve been with my other approaches because I don’t beat myself up thinking I need to fix something that is broken.
It is allowing me to get to know it better by understanding my triggers, my feelings, and my thoughts that surround moments of panic, my racing thoughts at night, and all the other anxious thing my body likes to do. I find this approach beneficial because having had anxiety for 8/10th of my life, I don’t think it’s going anywhere. Anxiety has also informed so much of my life and decisions it is as much a part of me as my blue eyes. And you guessed it! I have worked very hard every single day to be cool with this part of myself!
There is not a miracle nor a cure, but I am happy trying to accept this part of myself. I am more in touch with my body and work hard to live a life that allows me to manage the beast on my back and turn it into a friend. My lifestyle has adapted around my management techniques and now that I have turned these practices into habits, it’s easier. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my proclivities, much to the dismay of those that have to interact with me on a regular basis and I can be knowingly irrational, but I am learning to express what I am feeling and thinking.
Some of the biggest changes I have made in my life to manage the beast:
- I’m more likely to watch what I eat and drink because of the effect it may have on my greater system.
- Live at a slower speed and don’t do as much so I don’t stress myself out.
- Take time every day to do at least 15 minutes of yoga to keep my body happy with some gentle movement and space to breathe.
- Make sleep a priority. I get grumpy and can’t handle life as well when I am tired so I make sure I get my sleep so I can keep my cool.
- Try to get to know my anxiety through my soul’s ligh. What it like? What it doesn’t? When it comes up? What helps keep it away? If certain people cause me to freak out, etc.
- Once I have a working idea of what makes it tick, I worked to remove the cause and reduce my triggers. It took a hot second but I am healthy, happy, and feeling better.