when i first started trying to draft this post in december, the intention was that it would be a list of goals and resolutions for the new year. however, as i started thinking about and gathering my thoughts about those goals, they all generally centered around my struggle with anxiety. so, the resolution post has been scrapped in hopes that by sharing my anxiety it will be therapeutic for me and maybe helpful to someone else struggling with the same things? also, this is a bit long, so now’s your chance to run.
here we go.
i have always been a worrier. but in college the worrying i would do every once in a while, settled in and took deep root in my senior year when the plan i had for my life started to unravel bit by bit. you know when you’re riding the tower of terror and you know you’re about to freefall but you don’t know when its going to happen? thats how i felt for the better part of 2010. every time a plan i had fell apart or didn’t work out the way i thought it would, i would white knuckle cling to the other plans and routines in my life, essentially missing my entire senior year of college.
a lot of my new anxiety subsided after graduation when i moved home, started dating a new boy, and settled into my new routines of working at starbucks and church and mentally preparing to move to raleigh for seminary within the year. alas, that plan changed when i realized that taking on a bazillion dollars in student debt would never really balance out with a children’s ministry salary. i will never forget the day i decided not to go to seminary. my mouse was hovering over sallie mae’s apply button, i called my dad, and he said, “are you really sure you want to do this?”, i said “nope”, exited the screen and wiped my hands clean of that dream.
changing my career path was the last door the anxiety monster needed me to open. i can’t really remember a time since the day i decided not to go to seminary that i haven’t felt that pit of my stomach, about to free fall feeling. don’t get me wrong, forgoing seminary was one of the best decisions i’ve ever made. however, it was a plan-a big plan-and plans are my security blanket. without a plan, i had nothing to shield myself from anxiety.
its important to note that through all of this, i didn’t know that the way i was feeling was anything beyond worry and just general side effects of being a little type a. it wasn’t until my first panic attack in 2013 that i started googling anxiety and what it actually means to deal with anxiety day in and day out. i’m pretty functional within my anxiety. i’m very self aware and i’m able to recognize times when i’m in my “anxious brain” and do things to try and calm it down. the things that work best for me are journaling, taking deep breaths, and doing something completely mindless (my current favorite is playing skip-bo on my phone). i make sure to exercise 5-6 days a week because i know that the endorphins help A LOT (“exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people just don’t shoot their husbands!”) and i take this sleep aid so that my brain is forced to shut down at night. i’m also very thankful to have a husband that is willing to let me vent and get out all of my anxious thoughts (because saying them out loud and hearing how ridiculous they all are often helps) as well as an amazing group of friends that do the same.
i’m aware that this is a pretty left field post for someone trying to get a foot in the door in the world of style blogging. though i consider myself pretty functional within my anxiety, i have also allowed my anxiety to take some of the best things in my life from me (including my dream job), and its trying to creep in and take this blog from me before i really even get started. so, i’m doing what every self conscious anxiety filled person does and i’m putting all of these thoughts on the internet for the world to see.
because at the end of the day, my goal for 2017 is just to not let anxiety win.