Unfortunately, today is a very, very anxiety-filled day for me. I think it all stemmed from a bad dream I had last night. I woke up to a 3:15 AM alarm feeling so out of sorts. It took a while to really get my barrings and separate my dream world from reality. It really set my mood for the day, and since then, I definitely haven’t been feeling my best.
There is a topic related to my anxiety that I really want to talk about and share today, but it’s a little too close to home and a little too obvious to put on the internet right now, so that post will have to come later on when some things in my life are a little different.
So, I thought sharing all of the amazing things my battle with anxiety has taught me would be perfect for a day like today.
Focus on the positive, right?
- You will never truly understand someone else’s story. Ever.
Before my battle with anxiety, I was a much more judgemental person. I won’t sit here and pretend that I’m perfect or that I’m a saint. I’m not. I still have my judgemental moments and have to remind myself of what’s acceptable and what is not. It does happen. But, something my anxiety has taught me is that you don’t have a clue what happens inside someone else’s world unless you become that person. I will never understand the power of another person’s demons, and they will never understand mine, no matter how similar.
Anxiety has taught me to treat people with more patience, more compassion, and more kindness. Quick story; I was at work one morning a few weeks ago, and a coworker and I were talking about the stressors of work. One of our other coworkers suffers from anxiety, and it is very, very evident. The coworker I was talking to said “at least you can handle it. I can’t handle this stuff with my anxiety, and so and so definitely can’t! She’s a nervous wreck.”
I didn’t say anything, but that comment really got to me. Just because I handle one situation doesn’t mean I can handle another. I really wanted to explain to her that she doesn’t know my struggle and doesn’t know what my anxiety is like for me on a daily basis. Little does she know, I was sweating, shaking, feeling faint, and gasping for air in the bathroom during my pain attack at work today.
Check out: 8 Anxiety Sufferers Share Their Stories
- Life really isn’t that bad Anxiety is known for making us believe that the end of the damn world is near whenever something sets us off. But, when your head clears, and you can take a step back and look around you, you realize how much you have to be thankful for and how amazing life really is. Experiencing one extreme can make it really eye-opening when you get a chance to experience the other.
- Mental illness is not something to be ashamed of There is obviously such a negative stigma around mental illness. You think “mental illness,” and you think “crazy, sociopath, institution, padded room, and straight jacket.” Yes, those things are definitely appropriately associated with the term because unfortunately, that is the extreme that some suffer from and that is heartbreaking. But remember, there isn’t just one type or one level of mental illness. It is different for everyone, and it is by NO means something to ever be ashamed of.
- I can take care of myself I definitely lean on some of the people in my life and sometimes too often, but in the moments that I haven’t been able to, I’ve learned that (when necessary) I really can rely on and take care of myself and that is an amazing thing.
- To love myself I’ve mentioned before that the key is surviving anxiety is loving yourself. It really is! My anxiety stems from fear of abandonment, fear of getting hurt, comparing myself to others, and feeling lost and behind in life. I’ve realized that all of these things can be settled with self-love & care. Practicing self-love & care has transformed my relationship with myself and has helped me to be more gentle, patient, and compassionate with myself during my struggle.
- I have to come first Going along with self-love & care, I’ve also realized the importance of putting myself first and building myself up. It’s important to remember that you can’t give parts of yourself to those around you until you’re whole.
- Not to be selfish It’s easy to take the self-love & care and putting yourself first ideas to an extreme, and it can end up hurting you, and I’ve experienced this for myself. I’ve taken it to a level where I’ve become a hermit and quit caring about anyone around me. It’s affected relationships with my friends, my family, and others around me, and my “uncaring” attitude is by no means intentional, it just happens when I take it too far. Make sure to find a healthy balance.
- Having a busy life is so important I’ve learned that I do better on my busiest days. When I have a lot going on with my friends, my family, or even myself, it’s easier to distract myself from the thoughts and fears when I’m doing things that make me happy with people who make me feel good! Staying busy is key!
- I am SO strong Realizing my strength has been the best lesson of all. We each struggle with our own battles on a daily basis. Speaking as someone who struggles with a mental illness, I can definitely say that it takes more strength than I could have ever imagined just to get out of bed and function like a normal human being on some days. During this journey of finding my own strength, I’ve come to learn that no matter what is thrown at me, I can overcome anything.
What has anxiety taught you?