I figured this was best to break it up into sections like this, otherwise y’all are going to be reading a novel and well — I mean, maybe one day 😉 So if you missed my last part 1, anxiety post, you can grab it, here. Today I want to dive in a little, to a way that has helped me the most, especially lately. Then next week I’ll talk about some smaller things that have been beneficial in helping me keep my anxiety under control. Honestly, I think my anxiety has formed over time due to a lot of these things and well in therapy I’ve learned just that. Generally, there are triggers, events or things that happen that trigger your mind to a certain response. Now, I’m not a doctor or therapist, so I won’t go too much into that, but for me personally that’s exactly it. It’s a little genetic, but overall a result of past traumas, experiences and events. Some of them even happy, like the birth of my sweet baby girl, but in my mind something clicked and while, it was the happiest moment of my life, the protector in me came out and I started to worry and fear. Then before I knew it that’s all my mind was doing, was worrying and fearing the absolutely worst, things that were out of my control. So finally, I made the leap.
The leap to therapy. Counseling. Whatever you want to call it. I would say it has helped me enormously in my life and especially with my current anxiety journey.
I think the word, therapy, comes with a bad connotation. I mean, I’ll tell you what — I’ve been in therapy a lot in my life, when I was younger and dealing with baggage from the man who was supposed to be my Dad, leaving, to my eating disorder in high school, to more baggage as an adult and now for anxiety. And every single time I have scheduled my first appointment back, I’ve thought – holy cow, what’s wrong with me or heck, I’m going to therapy? None of which align with it at all. Therapy isn’t what TV portrays it as, it’s not a negative thing. It’s actually, exactly what you want it to be. It’s a person to talk to, hear you out and guide you in the right direction. Someone to take your thoughts, your worries and help you learn how to turn them into a positive thing and cope with them on a day to day basis.
Obviously, everyone’s journey is different, but it’s been so beneficial for me to sit down once a week, share what’s on my mind and have someone break it down for me. Something that well quite honestly, somedays my mind isn’t able to do on it’s on. It’s going 200 miles a minute that I can’t even stop to think, stop to take a breather and let alone stop to get my anxiety under control. I’ve been able to learn simple practices though that bring me “back down to earth” if you will. I’ve learned to in that moment of panic, anxiety and fear be able to stop, take a deep breath, look around me and rather than continue that panic, say things like I’m safe, Blake’s safe, I’m sitting at home, we’re safe, I’m happy and everything is okay. I kid you not, if you had asked me to do that two months ago I would have said, I can’t. When your mind gets in such a panic due to anxiety, it’s almost like you can’t shut it off. That’s the entire problem. You get into this habit of picturing one thing, jumping to the next and all of a sudden you’re imagining the worst possible thing happening, in a matter of seconds. Seconds that you didn’t even realize were happening until your heart is racing fast and you can’t get control of it.
Going to counseling changed that for me.
I’ve been able to sit down each week and go over what things make me happy, what brings me sadness, which ones make me worry and kind of take an hour to relax, breath and focus on me and my needs. Realistically, especially as Mothers we don’t really get time like that to think and take a step back. So this portion of it has been the most beneficial. The power our minds have over us is incredible and we just have to in a way “train” them and remind them that well, this is reality and the place you’re creating in your brain is actually just made up and not real. A few things I have started and found that have worked since going is: meditation, working out and scheduling.
Meditation is honestly just sitting down for 15 minutes, right after Blake goes down for her nap, using apps sometimes (I like the Headspace app) and doing absolutely nothing. Just thinking of happy things, not letting my mind wander to anything unhappy and sometimes, not even thinking, but focusing on my breathing. I was a little hesitant to do this in the first place, but hey it works and I was desperate and now I’m actually a big believer in it, especially in the middle of the day. It brings me back down to earth and it’s been super beneficial to do before I sit down and work during nap time.
Working out, I’ve talked to you guys about this before, you can read the whole post, here. BUT essentially, going to the gym for me is an outlet, it’s a place to literally run my worries and stresses off and it creates endorphins and remember guys, Elle Woods said it best. 😉 HA! BUT seriously, endorphins totally brings out happiness.
Finally, scheduling. I think a huge part of my anxiety not only came from past experiences and events, but constantly feeling overwhelmed. I mean, I literally don’t stop. I go, go, go all day long, like most of you. I wasn’t giving my brain a break and my to do list was 24873825 miles long. It’s like I couldn’t catch up and that feeling of “drowning” is definitely one that’s going to bring out anxiety. So I made a schedule, like a real schedule that I keep to. I got help with Blake and am working on doing so a little more. I’ve delegated work, where I can delegate work. I’ve brought down my workload and rather than worrying about quantity, I focus on quality. I make a list of the top things that need to be done each day, work towards getting those done and celebrate at night when they’re done. I accept the ones I don’t finish and add them to the next day’s list and don’t worry about it. I have a cut off time and that is 6PM, once 6PM hits, I am done, at least until Blake goes to bed and I focus on the things that make me the happiest. It’s just about doing things in moderation, finding time for you and making sure that those things actually happen.
So there you have it, counseling has been huge for me and to me, it’s worth it for this point in my life. It’s not a bad thing. I don’t think it should be looked at negatively and honestly, it’s been really beneficial in my life in more ways than one.