Never in my life did I think anxiety would be a crippling force for me. I always identified with my birth sign, Taurus the bull. For most of my life I saw myself as someone who has been overcoming obstacles since the day I was born because I was a fearless bull.
Until I wasn't.
My mom was a prescription drug addict & my dad suffered from un-diagnosed PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) as a WWII war hero. The combination presented a very colorful & often hard childhood. Yet in spite of this I was an honor student & overall great kid. Never once did I get in trouble like most kids & even with my parents issues I was able to maintain a strong relationship with both filled with love.
I really believed I had it all together regardless of my childhood. I could not have been more wrong.
At the age of 23, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis & this is when anxiety started to become a noticeable issue.
Google's definition of anxiety is: "a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks."
I really had no idea I suffered from anxiety until it became so great I swore I was having a heart attack. When anxiety got so bad my heart would feel like it was going to beat out of my chest, I could not catch my breath & my body temperature would elevate leaving me to see this as symptoms of a physical issue not mental.
This was not my truth. My issues were 100% psychological.
Looking back & as early as I can remember I suffered from anxiety. Anxiety comes in many forms with phobia being one & this gal has the same phobias since childhood: I am afraid of heights & closed spaces.
I also lived on 'edge' most of my childhood into adult life which is another sign of anxiety. Almost fight or flight since birth is how I would describe it. When your mom is a drug addict you never know what each day will present & on top of that having a violent father meant mom's actions would trigger his frequent outbursts of violence.
I also suffer from OCD & have since early childhood. I maintain being a neat freak who cannot have things out of place. When I was a kid my part of the bedroom was organized every morning, my drawers neat & orderly plus I had many personal 'routines' that need to be adhered to or I simply lose my mind. All signs of anxiety yet I had no idea. In fact I was praised by my parents & grandparents for these 'honorable' traits as a kid. Like most kids my sisters were messy & always forgetting stuff yet my parents would often tell me how proud they were of my anxiety driven behaviors which often left me far removed from normal kid activities.
Last but not least I lived with crippling irritable bowel issues from childhood until almost the age of 30 & never once did a doctor share the trigger might be psychological.
You see my friends anxiety has been my partner for most of my life since childhood yet I had no idea.
When life got crazy & Multiple Sclerosis became my life partner anxiety became a much harder thing to ignore. Anxiety now meant a life driven by fear resulting in a feeling that I was going to die from a heart attack.
I was so overwhelmed it became impossible to function & Xanax became the answer.
Doctors instructed me on days that I felt 'overwhelmed' to take Xanax so I did. This resulted in several days a week for long periods of time living on Xanas yet my habits, behaviors & thoughts did not change. Xanax simply made it almost impossible for me to 'get worked up', but did nothing to manage my fears.
I did not question that Xanax was a nothing more than masking symptoms & really was not aware of the fact that Xanax was not the right answer to resolve anxiety.
Today beyond being an extremely neat person I no longer have anxiety in my life or take any drugs for the treatment of anxiety.
What changed? How did this happen?
- I woke the fuck up is what happened.
- I took ownership of my damn life is what happened.
- I know who I am is what happened.
- MS no longer defines me is what happened.
By living a conscious life I have been able to make choices outside of the cultural & societal norms that involve changing the way I treat my person & my body. Using food as medicine is a great example of this. Being a Wahls Warrior following The Wahls Protocol created the space for my brain fog to lift enabling me to wake up.
A daily yoga & meditation practice have also fueled this journey with years of psychotherapy & community support added to my conversations around consciousness.
Anxiety in any form is crippling to many who experience it. I see more & more struggling with this in their lives. I would ask you to 1st look at mindful ways to get moving & consciousness regarding food to be the 1st few steps you take. It is hard to make changes & control negative behaviors when our body is not given the proper foods & love it needs to be the best version of itself.
Community support is always a great way to achieve any goals especially when stress triggers are present as with most anxiety outcomes.
Rome was not built in a day & consciousness takes time to change this narrative. Stay present, stay with it and believe you too will overcome anxiety in your life. Simply treating it with medication is not the only answer. Owning your life & your actions sets the stage to offer a life free of anxiety with many tools in your 'Bag of Tricks" to kick it to the curb for good.
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Consider joining the tribe & lets get conscious together. Community matters my friends.