Dear Anxiety, you need a holiday!
How are you today?
I am doing a bit better.
Let me start by thanking you for 700 views. We are growing, and I am so grateful for all your sweet and supportive messages!
Today’s article is dedicated to our beloved anxiety! What would we do without it?
1. What was causing my anxiety?
I have always been an anxious introvert but it was still manageable until 2018, that's when things got worse but I already wrote about this in other articles, so I won't get into more details.
Anyhow, I had other coping mechanisms in order to deal with it. Some of you know about my ‘talents’. I am a polyglot, I do speak fluently 4 languages or maybe I just like to believe that, the fifth one is getting quite rusty, and I am trying to learn Turkish too, at least I was, I don’t really have so much time for this now but I will be back at it.
I played volleyball for almost two years, handball for four years and practised Shotokan Karate for almost five years despite my knees just getting worse and worse. I always had the best grades in my class, teachers liked me, you get where I am going. In High School I had a breakdown, still had great grades, but I was sick of constantly trying to be the best, memorizing useless stuff, being called a nerd that doesn't want to have fun or being asked why I got an A instead of an A*.
But, the truth is, I don’t like to call myself ‘talented’ because I know I tried to be an overachiever. I tried to please those around me, I was terrified of being rejected and abandoned, I didn’t want to be alone, so I did everything to have something that could make people stay and like me. Did it really work? Nah, those weren’t the kind of people I needed in my life. They constantly underestimated me, made me feel small, called me a ‘freak’ or told me that I am 'too much'. I don’t regret being so invested because obviously, all those years of hard work are helping me now but, I regret the fact that I didn’t know when to take a break and ask myself if I am okay and I didn’t know how to stand up for myself.
Inside I was slowly dying but on the outside, ugh, the fake confidence that I had my whole life figured out. Do you know how hard it is to pretend that? It was exhausting when I was a teenager.
What caused my anxiety? Well, everyone has always had freaking unrealistic expectations from me, like I wasn’t allowed to fail! I didn’t know back then that not everything is achievable and I definitely shouldn’t try to only live up to someone’s expectations. They don’t define me, and they don’t define my worth. I am my own person, and I am happy with that!
2. How to deal with emotional numbness.
I have felt numb for years, it’s curious that I don’t even remember when it happened the first time.
I tried to google it to see if there is a definition for this and surprise ‘Emotional numbness is a defence mechanism employed by the mind to avoid intense and overwhelming emotions such as fear, hatred, jealousy, and grief. When you go emotionally numb, you lose the ability to feel and experience your emotions on a psychological and emotional level. In this sense, emotional numbness is often clinically connected with dissociation, which is the disconnection from one’s memories, identity, environment, body, or senses.’
In other words, you are tired and your mind is exhausted. We fight so much in order to prevent this, we try so much to be what other people want us to be that we end up snapping and losing ourselves.
This is a cost I am not willing to pay ever again.
How do you break this circle of darkness? I know you feel safe in your comfort zone, avoiding people and going out but please don’t think that this is your life now because it’s not. Things can get better. It’s hard to change but it’s not impossible.
Let me share with you some tips that have helped me:
-make a list with 3 goals that you want to achieve in a week (go for a walk, try a new outfit, walk slower, sit on a bench for 10 minutes and just look around, etc).
-keep a journal, write how the idea of doing something made you feel, add how you felt while doing it and afterwards. It is a great way to monitor progress.
-start your morning with positive affirmations. On YT there is this channel called ‘Unlock your life’ and it has great videos or, just write a small list and repeat those affirmations when you lie in bed with your eyes closed. Take deep breaths and say them slowly but out loud. Pay attention to how they make you feel!
-try some light exercises, feel your body moving and connect to your inner self.
-keep a diary.
-look in the mirror and say at least one thing that you appreciate about yourself.
-if you have someone that you can trust, try to discuss this subject even a bit, it will make it easier. If you don’t have anyone around you, please, write to me. I know I am not always online or the website isn’t working but you can leave your email address and see when I reply, you don’t have to write down your name.
-how to deal with panic/anxiety attack: look around you and focus on something, take a deep breath and try to feel the ground under your feet, it helps you control the intensity. Focus on your breathing!
-drink a glass of water whenever your thoughts are trying to sabotage you.
-listen to piano/guitar music and take a bubbly bath, it will make you feel better. Also, pamper yourself!
-try to read every day at least 10 pages.
3. Show kindness to yourself.
Please remember that this isn’t a race. You need to have patience. Life isn’t a straight path, you will keep having ups and down and remember, when a door closes, another will open and if it doesn’t, then you kick it until it’s open! Happiness comes from within and your goal should be your peace of mind, not to please those around you.
Small progress is better than no progress so please, celebrate every victory and be proud of yourself!
You will get there! I believe in you!
I hope you find some of my tips useful and if you think this post could help someone else who is struggling, please share it. Let’s help each other somehow.