Unfortunately, too many of us know the ugly reality of anxiety. Your heart races. Your head races. Your chest tightens, and you’re certain that whatever terrifying thought is running through your head is about to come to fruition.
I believe that knowledge and understanding aid in recovery. Once you can recognize the signs of anxiety – you can ride out the feelings with minimal damage.
Here are three truths about anxiety that no one talks about – but when you know them – you can begin to gain control over your fears.
1. ANXIETY IS NEVER REALLY CURED
- Before you become depressed and quit reading, hear me out. This truth is actually helpful. Many of us go into “fight” mode when we’re feeling anxious. After all, you can’t go into “flight” mode when you’re in your own head, even though some of us might like to. Once you realize that anxiety is a feeling that will pass. It is a feeling that doesn’t put you in danger, it’s just uncomfortable, you can relax and wait for the wave to subside. Anxiety is a feeling that needs to be managed and controlled. Just like with anger or sadness, you learn how to cope – you’re not cured for life. You find tools to help the feeling, and when it passes, you can breathe again.
- While I’m sure some would say they’re “cured,” most learn to manage. Once you stop fighting, and realize that some days are harder than others, anxiety loses its control over your thoughts. Your tools for making anxiety attacks much less frequent and much less intense will give you control over your anxiety, instead of your anxiety having control over you. Your tools may consist of:
- Diet change
- Memorizing Scripture/Prayer
- Talking to someone who can tell you when your thoughts are irrational – and trusting them when they tell you they are!
- “Thought-stopping” before a thought gets out of control
- Realizing your triggers and managing them before anxiety begins (stressful work environment, too much caffeine, lack of sleep, hormones etc.)
- Research supplements that are helpful for anxiety. My absolute favorites are L-Theanine and Magnesium Glycinate (I love the Kal brand too).
2. ANXIETY LOOKS A LOT LIKE OCD
- I think all of us occasionally have tendencies that mildly mimic Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but we often don’t realize that anxious thoughts can fit into that category. If you do some research on OCD, I believe you will be surprised and encouraged. You can see this play out when you have unstoppable terrifying or horrific thoughts that just repeat over and over and over – and it feels like you’re losing control. Obsessive and compulsive. Recognizing when your thoughts first start into this repetitive pattern will lead to calming yourself more quickly.
- There are normal functioning men and women suffering from these thoughts just like you. Anxiety is given much less power over you when you realize that you’re not alone, understand the condition, and can find tools to get help. This brings me to my next point…
3. DR. GOOGLE ACTUALLY CAN HELP ANXIETY
- I know what you’re thinking…The last place to which a person suffering from a panic attack should run, is the internet. I agree, a chronic worrier shouldn’t be googling “tumors.” However, when you start researching the symptoms of anxiety and obsessive compulsive thoughts, it helps to snap you out of your fears and bring you into the reality of anxiety. You can try some healthy techniques until it passes and move on with your life. It shifts your thinking from, “Wow, this is a really scary thought. What if it comes true?,” to a much healthier, “Wow, I’m feeling all of these symptoms that look just like a panic attack. Maybe my thoughts are irrational and this will pass.” Awareness and recovery tools are essential to living a life free from the worst of what anxiety has to offer.
I have never been bashful about my struggles with anxiety. There was a time in my life when I was in a pretty deep hole. I wondered if I would ever climb out of it. I don’t live with the idea that I am “cured.” I honestly think that makes me more vulnerable, causes me to ignore my self-care tools, and sets me up to not recognize my triggers.
I am in a very different place than I was years ago. I still struggle with anxiety at times, but it’s different. I don’t lose control and I can usually recognize anxiety for what it is – uncomfortable and irrational.
I cling to my faith extra during those times and it helps me through it.
Do not drown in the ugliness of anxiety – there is help and encouragement from learning and understanding. You can take control and heal. I would love to encourage to you if you’re struggling. Contact me here.