As I sat, eyes drenched in tears and body paralyzed, I knew my anxiety had reached an unhealthy level.
As I sat, five hours later, scrunched up on the floor, alone in my dark bedroom, I knew I was defenseless to the siege of my thoughts.
My senior year of college was both an amazing and tough time for me. I was excited to start a new chapter of my life, but at the same time, I was anxious about what the future had in store. There were so many unknowns. I was leaving behind all my friends, the city I had grown to love, and a college that held so many wonderful memories for me all to pursue something I wasn’t sure I was passionate about. All these unknowns pushed my anxiety to levels I had never experienced before. And by the time graduation rolled around, I found myself on two separate occasions, lying on my apartment floor, desperately trying to breath, as tears streamed down my face.
These anxiety attacks lasted hours on end.
To be honest, I don’t know why I feel and think everything so deeply. I don’t know why every little thing I experience chimes like a million bells inside my head. I so deeply wish I knew, but I do not.
Every emotion, every experience, every little thought pulls me deeper into the untouchable depths of my mind.
There is no diving suit, no oxygen tank, and no equipment advanced enough to pull me back up. I am sinking. Its as if an anchor is attached to my foot. And I can’t call out for help, because if I do, sudden death is sure to follow. As soon as I open my mouth to shout out for help, water will enter and all oxygen will be lost.
There is no return.
I battle daily with thoughts that constantly scream I am not enough. I battle daily with thoughts that tell me I am not doing enough, or trying enough, or being enough.
I feel like I can’t please anyone and that my best is never good enough. There is always something that can be done better. There is always someone out there doing more than I am currently doing and therefore my existence is pointless. And I battle frequently with feeling that my life is no longer in my own hands.
I look at others who live their lives so freely with envy. Why can’t I be more like them? Why does every little thing affect me so greatly, yet they can brush it off as if it is just a piece of lint on their shirt?
I wish I could be carefree.
I wish my thoughts didn’t control my life.
But they do.
For me, the world is overwhelmingly loud. With all the stimuli that exist nowadays, my thoughts run rampant, as if a wild horse that has just been set free from his chains. There is no way to calm them; to attempt to restrain them is a job that can’t be dealt with by one person alone.
And the more life I experience, the more I can’t escape the feelings of utter helplessness. It is as if each day walls are closing in around me, blocking me from the life I want to live the person I want to become.
My thoughts are the wall closing me off from the outside world. My thoughts never stop. I can’t silence the horrible things they whisper in my mind. My thoughts are what hinder me from being who I want to be and living the life I want to live.
And do you know how frustrating it is to recognize what is preventing you from living the life you want to live, yet not knowing how to overcome it? It is as if you have the key within your hand but do not know to which door it belongs.
I so badly wish there were a surgery to remove my brain from my head, so that for just a brief moment in time all the voices would cease…. so that for just a brief moment in time I could get some peace. But unfortunately, there is no such thing.
There is no escape from my own mind.
But I am not here to completely discourage you. My purpose for this post is to let you know that you are not alone in how you are feeling. Anxiety is awful. It can truly feel as though it is taking over your life. But I want you to know that there are ways to confront it. Maybe you can’t remove it from your body, but there are strategies that can help you nip it in the butt.
So drum roll please, because below I am sharing with you some of the tricks I’ve discovered over the years that help me cope with my anxiety:
Creating a playlist, whether it be calming instrumentals or intense screamo, is a great way to silence your mind. Listen to songs you know will help calm you and/or inspire you. I absolutely love music and the ability it has to completely change your whole vibe. I love how any one song can instantly transport you to a specific mood or memory. Music is powerful. So yeah, this is my number one tip for easing your anxiety.
Journaling is a great way to sort through your thoughts. When you journal, you are able to write out your thoughts, releasing them to the world and clearing up your mind. I purposefully wake up 30 minutes earlier in order to read scripture and journal. It is my calming time. Journaling truly helps me gather my thoughts and feelings before starting the day, allowing me to start the day with a clean mind and good headspace.
Hike…or do any outdoor activity.
I cannot rave about hiking enough…or even just taking a walk. Getting out in nature, alone with your thoughts and fresh air, can truly put your whole body at ease. These hikes often help me put my life into perspective. I realize that no matter how big a problem may seem in that moment, it is nothing compared to the beauty that surrounds me.
Man oh man, this one is really important. A good workout can help you sweat out all those bad toxins! All you need is a killer playlist, some headphones, and a kick butt attitude and you’re already 3 steps ahead of your anxiety.
Enough said. This is my safe place and my husband can vouch for this.
Well there you have it, my tips and tricks for coping with anxiety. And it should be mentioned that these are just things that have worked for me, so if you have any tips of your own, please leave a comment and share them below 🙂 I love hearing how other people overcome their anxiety.