With the current intensity of recent world events. Where new normals have been prescribed daily, if not hourly. When walking through the grocery store is like doing a cameo in a B-grade Sci-Fi apocalyptic flick. It’s no wonder that my anxiety has been cranked up. Not to mention that we happened to be midway into some moderate home renovations. Including the sanctuary of our bedroom. For a small moment in time I literally had no environmental safe place. The outside chaos and the inside of my home was unbuttoned.
Nevertheless, she persisted.
And I did. But I won’t pretend it was pretty.
It took me many years to identify specific traits and behaviors as anxiety. It wasn’t that I was in denial. I guess I never gave much thought to why I was the way I was. I assumed I was built that way. Mental health and well-being was not discussed growing up. Somehow I found strategies to handle my anxieties, fears, and worries. Some of the coping strategies I employed were not particularly healthy but those mechanisms allowed me to navigate life somewhat normal and successful.
My anxiety, chameleon-like, doesn’t always present in obvious ways. Tricky little bastard. It can creep in or stomp in unexpectedly. The better I get to know myself: My triggers and tender spots, my fears and insecurities. The better equipped I am to identify and properly address my anxiety.
For me anxiety can be any of the following behaviors or emotions:
- Poor concentration or focus
- Constantly “doing” or moving
- Organizing and checking off lists because my brain is in a wild frenzy of thoughts
- Losing my temper
- Being extra sensitive
- Feeling inferior, unliked, unworthy
- Poor sleep quality
- Feeling like I want to jump out of my skin
When I am caught up in my own head I will react. Typically my reactions are exaggerated responses to a perceived harm or hurt. I lash out like a frightened animal pinned in a corner. There is no calm rationale or adult reasoning. There is just protect and defend mode.
As an enlightened adult who is learning to do better this dinosaur brain response doesn’t fly anymore. No one in my life deserves the wrath of my anxiety, including me. It is my sole responsibility to take care and address my issues and do better.
I cannot justify by using the excuse “My anxiety made me do it.”
How do I handle myself when my anxiety gets riled up? These are the healthy ways that I cope and talk myself off the ledge.
- Exercise or run
- Head to the beach
- Talk with a trusted friend
- Take a CBD sub-lingual supplement
- Listen to an audiobook or podcast
- Look myself in the eye in a mirror and tell myself that I am ok. I am safe. I will take care of myself and my inner child. My childhood is not happening again.
- Seek out a hug or snuggles from Mr. Reinvention or Little Bit Reinvention.
There are plenty of not so healthy choices I make to “deal” but I am really trying to do better for me. I am committed to providing myself with the best life experience possible. I am committed to becoming my best version of myself. I am committed to showing my daughter healthy lifestyle choices and coping mechanisms.
I used to hate my anxiety. I felt it made me weak and incapable. But I accept it now. It facilitated my survival. Anxiety has also given me a unique and highly specialized skill set to connect with other humans. I value that immensely. I recognize and own that I am in control and that I can shift my internal gauges and successfully quell and tamp down my anxious tendencies. I can utilize my tools and knowledge to identify and address when and why I am feeling anxious- if I choose to.
Are you someone who identifies themselves as anxious? How does that impact your self image? How do you handle anxiety?