Hello friends! So I have been doing some self reflection and learning about anxiety. As someone going into the mental health field, I somehow missed the mark on anxiety so far. I’ll be honest, I brushed it off when my husband told me he has always suffered from anxiety. After all, my husband is the most contagiously wonderful person to be around. His personality is what drew me to him, and his dimples… When he walks into a room he immediately becomes the center of attention. He has that loud confident voice, and the perfectly timed jokes. People just love him and want to be around him. I, on the other hand, am quiet and shy when I first meet people and it takes me some time before I open up. However, my husband will tell you his life story from the first day you meet. He has that, if they judge me that’s their problem kind of attitude that I admire. But I will leave an event rethinking every conversation I had, and every comment I made, wondering if I had said the wrong thing, or if I could have said something funnier or wittier… So needless to say, when my husband told me he has taken medication for anxiety, and it’s been a struggle for him, I BLEW HIM OFF!
I myself stigmatized anxiety and I realized that in my head I had this picture of someone who suffers from anxiety, with the stereotypical symptoms and he just didn’t match that picture in my head. But as I learn and grow, I realize that anxiety is so incredibly common, that many of us don’t recognize it as such. And it has become so widely accepted to let anxiety dictate choices in our lives, that we don’t think it’s that big of a deal. And on top of that I learned that it has had it’s hold on ME!
So let me first say, if someone tells you they have anxiety or if YOU believe you are suffering from anxiety, that does not mean it’s chronic, or long-lasting. It just means that this season of life, you are contending with this mental health struggle. And it means you can learn to cope with it, and recognize what anxiety looks like for you.
But, I’m not going to tell you how to cope with anxiety, at least not yet. I am still learning and have a lot more studying and research to do before I share with you coping strategies and things of that nature. I will, however, be sharing with you what I discover, and we can try them together, because I need to get my own anxiety under control.
I want to share with you the habits of mine that I have discovered, both big and small that made me finally face the fact that I’ve got anxiety and I need to get it together!
- Being self-conscious: People like to label this as “fake.” But I STRUGGLE with worrying about what people think of me. I don’t just hope to make a good impression, I analyze my every interaction with others. From how loud I chew and breathe, to how I talk and look. I sit in the very back of my classes at school, and to this day, I replay interactions I’ve had with students and teachers where I could have made better impressions or replied with wittier comments.
- Being “sensitive”: While this may just be my nature, it’s also a major sign of anxiety. Small things can hurt my feelings, and little things can make me frustrated. I mean there’s really no other way to sugar coat this one… I’m sensitive.
- Overthinking Past Conversations- I know I already mentioned this, but this in itself is a sign of anxiety!
- Overthinking/Overanalyzing- I overthink EVERYTHING. One of my greatest pregnancy meltdowns was at a grocery store trying to figure out what to make for dinner. I have a picky husband, and I struggle to this day, with planning our meals. Honestly trying to figure out what to cook for dinner, wanting to impress my husband, and really wanting to grow my cooking skills just leads to a perfect storm of anxiety!
- Obsessive Behavior-So this is what I learned my netflix habit is classified as…. I have 3 or 4 netflix shows that I watch OVER and OVER and OVER. Literally on repeat, and I rarely ever watch anything new. This is like my therapy because it just gives me a sense of peace. And I usually have one of these shows on at all times, but I don’t usually pay too much attention to it. So this is my weird obsessive behavior that is also a sign of anxiety. Now someone tell me I’m not the only one who does this!
- PANIC ATTACKS- So these are far and few between, but I will get a panic or anxiety attack, and to be honest it starts out like a tantrum… It’s usually when I just feel like the world is on my shoulders, or that my world is turning upside down. It starts as a frustrated venting session, and ends with incoherent sobbing and attempts to breathe normal.
As I sat typing these out, I mean it seems pretty obvious these are signs of anxiety. But I feel confident that this anxiety I feel is only for a season. And I believe that God has bigger and better plans for me. After all I am a mommy, and I want to learn the best ways to cope with seasons of anxiety so I can not only share them with you, friends, but share them with my son!
Do any of these signs look familiar to you? Anxiety can look very different in each person who suffers from it. So if you are struggling with anxiety, but don’t share these signs, it does not mean you should be blown off, or forgotten. And I am on a journey of diving into the world of anxiety and not only what the world of psychology has to say about it, but what God says as well. I am eager to learn and share with you what I discover! Please feel free to share with me what you discover as well! And if you feel bold enough, what anxiety looks like for you!
“Not everything that weighs you down is yours to carry.”