Lately, I have been thinking about what it looks like when someone experiences mostly invisible illnesses, like anxiety and depression, and feels suicidal. Depression and anxiety are not always visible. People have expressed to me their surprise that I have dealt with chronic anxiety for a long time. But it's true, and I guess at some point I became really good at always acting like everything was fine. (Note: this post contains a trigger warning.)
Living with Anxiety
How often do you think of anxiety as your friend? This may sound like a strange question, but I believe the way we relate to anxiety plays a significant role in how we experience it. Cultivating a positive relationship with anxiety can be an important part of recovery, but it's also really difficult to do.
Staying grounded is important to anxiety management because anxiety affects everyone at some point. I once read something that said that we experience anxiety because of focusing on memories or worrying about things that have not yet happened. I know that, for myself, this tends to be true. I have often found myself worrying about things I need to do the next day, or going through "what ifs," second-guessing social interactions due to my social anxiety, or stuck in thoughts about things that have happened in the past.
Have you ever noticed that movement, whether through running, walking, or yoga, reduces your anxiety? Exercise is known to improve our health, but I've benefitted immensely, particularly from yoga in times of stress. For me, yoga is the perfect synthesis of meditation and exercise.
In recent years, I have become very interested in learning more about how what I eat affects my mood and mental health. More specifically, I have found it helpful to learn about how diet can affect anxiety.
Let's face it -- anxiety does not exactly go hand-in-hand with confidence, high self-esteem, and security. I have always found that when I am anxious, I feel less confident, and vice-versa. Now that I reflect on when I was younger, any lack of confidence and insecurity I felt were often associated with my anxiety.
As an anxious person, I have found that decision-making with anxiety can be very challenging. As a matter of fact, decision-making can seem like a daunting task, regardless of how major or minor the decision may be.
Years ago, I learned about the benefit of using meditation to cope with anxiety, but I did not really give it much thought. That was until I realized that I was already often doing it when I was experiencing tremendous anxiety. Meditation has been an incredibly beneficial tool in my anxiety-coping toolbox. You may find that it is valuable for you and that it helps you in several ways.
In my life, I have become accustomed to experiencing anxiety. Depending on my current life situation and the experiences I'm going through, it might be worse, or it might be better.
Losing my ability to focus is a symptom of anxiety that I often experience. Anxiety is a physical response to a stressful situation, and when we experience anxiety, we experience an increase in stress hormones which makes it more difficult to concentrate.