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Anxiety Support  The "Me too" you've been looking for. An honest and safe community for those seeking comfort and support.

I'm leaving for vacation tomorrow! I haven't been on one in a year and a half πŸ’ƒπŸΌ Even though vacations are a great way to rejuvenate and relax, straying away from routine and your safe place can cause anxiety or distress for some. This is something I used to struggle with in the past, especially when I had panic disorder. I had to acquire tools and techniques to ensure I felt at ease in a new environment. I had to learn what "escape plans" meant, packing little by little every day and getting used to Plan B's and even Plan C's. Over the years I have found what works for me to make sure I stay present and feel prepared for some much needed time away from home. What are some ways you all stay calm and practice self-care when preparing and while on a vacation?

Where all my sensitive souls at?! πŸ™‹πŸΌ

Tag a friend who needs to hear this.

PART ONE: For the better part of the last three months I was struggling severely with my depression. For those of you who know it well, it was the typical carousal of symptoms; flat affect, fatigue, socially withdrawn, hopeless, irritated and just empty- so empty. I woke up everyday hoping the fog had lifted and that I would feel again. But each day was the same slow motion film. It pained me to hold conversations, I was avoiding social interaction at all cost, looking someone in the eye felt like cruel and unusual punishment, I felt a million miles away from everyone around me and I just wanted to be alone all of the time because being alone meant I wasn't constantly reminded of how much I had shifted.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I went through a lot in the last few months. Many of the things would have anyone feeling stressed and sad but the extent to which I was feeling was so much more extreme than that. In fact, I felt like I was incapable of handling any of it. I felt that at any moment I would crumble beneath it all because everything felt heavier than usual and everything felt darker and for the first time in years I felt truly alone in my pain. I wasn't alone, of course not, but there was no amount of company that could make me unfeel the loneliness. My depressed state created an amusement park for my anxiety disorder to run wild through. "You're acting so different." "People think you're a bitch." My anxious brain finally had circumstances to latch onto and I was the rope being tugged from one end of discomfort to the other.
How I coped: 1. So.much.Therapy. I was contacting my therapist almost every other day. I knew I was slipping and therapy was my way of digging my hands in the dirt to keep my grip. For any new followers, I have been seeing the same therapist for 6 years and the day I decided to see her was the day I took my life back. Best decision of my life πŸ™‚ 2. Genuine honesty. I felt awful so I let myself feel awful. There is nothing more painful than a suffering person trying to act happy because they feel they have to. I was just me. I told the people I loved what I was going through and I let that be enough. (Cont. to part 2)

PART TWO: 3. I just was. Every thought, feeling, emotion, pain- I arrived for it all. I sat with it and kept reassuring myself that everything I was feeling was valid. 4. I still put in effort. Despite the ache I met up with friends, spent time with Andrew and family. I went to work. I cleaned my apartment. I listened to positive soul food (@yoga_girl 's podcast does it for me) I took care of myself. I did the things even though it took all that I had. 5. I did some backtracking. I thought back to any diet changes, vitamin changes, medication changes etc. that could have been contributing to my sudden depression onset and that's when it hit me. The same month I started to detach was the same month I started birth control πŸ’‘I went off of birth control in the past because of its effect on my mood, why I thought this time would be any different I have no idea. But I thought back to when I started feeling off and it lined up perfectly with when I started taking the pill. I immediately stopped. For me personally (I am not speaking for everyone here!) birth control does NOT agree with my sensitive system. And ever since I stopped taking it I have returned to peace. I'm here, again. I'm not discounting the circumstances I was going through at the time that made me feel sad and stressed but I am happy to eliminate something that could very well have been making everything a million times worse. Fast forward to today- I did not 'get over' anything, I got through it. It was hard. I felt moments of hopelessness I haven't felt in years. I didn't do everything perfectly. I made mistakes. There were times I wasn't kind to myself out of frustration. There were many times I wanted to give up but I rode the wave- that dark, thrusting and all-encompassing wave. But right now, in this moment, I'm here and I'm so happy to be here! Feeling. Living. Present. And so fucking grateful. In the moments of pain all we can really do is sit with it, be kind to ourselves, and trust.

Right now, in this moment, I am so fucking happy. I almost forgot how good happy feels. Stay tuned for a post on my latest funk and how I didn't get over it, I got through it. (And sorry for my recent absence! Yesterday was my birthday and it's been a heck of a busy three weeks!)

There's a part of me that wants to share this post and include things like "this is all happening for a reason," or "one day this pain will make sense." But I'm not going to do that right now, not today. I don't have it in me to see beyond what is. I don't have it in me to say "I feel like this but I know I won't always." Because right now this unhappiness feels infinite so I'm going to give all my attention to what is instead of what could be or will be. Right now I'm hurting and I'm just going to leave it at that. That truth feels right.
I'm allowed to be angry at the last two months. I'm allowed to be overwhelmed by the awful circumstances. I'm allowed to be scared. I will sit with this but that's all I'm going to do. Sit with it. I don't always have to be hopeful and strong- being either of those takes an energy that I just don't have right now. I am tired. I am lost. I am spinning. I'm crying. I'm broken out. I'm sad. But I can be all these things. Repeat: I can be all these things.
I'm aware of how negative I sound and trust me when I say it makes me uncomfortable to be this vulnerable because the people pleaser in me doesn't want to come off this way. The people pleaser in me wants to finish these sentences with "but everything will be okay!" The people pleaser in me wants to blanket my hurt to hide my mess from everyone else. The people pleaser in me wants to be a 10 and nothing less. The people pleaser in me wants to make sure I go out of my way to smile and wave and laugh even though everything fucking hurts. But this is my truth. This is my genuine. And today I don't feel like pleasing anyone but me. I don't have to be anything but what I am. I am miserable and I am going to let myself be miserable. Does this make me crazy? No. Does this make me a bitch? No. This is the path of least resistance and though it is uncomfortable and new to just be and not worry how others may perceive it, mirroring outward what I feel inward is what I need to do. So I'm going to be sad and feel like shit and not smile because I think I should be smiling. I'm not going to hide the human in me that just doesn't feel like faking it right now. So I am just going to be.

In this moment you may feel hopeless. You may feel sad, empty, fed up, frustrated or alone. That's okay. Everything you're feeling right now is okay. You're okay. Let these feelings bend, rattle and bully you but I promise you this- you have it in you to move through this and come out unbroken. And whatever has caused your brain to detour off track this time- it is not your fault. Say it to yourself: It is not my fault.
Our journeys will be full of detours but we have it in us to prevent derailment. The ebb and flow of recovery can be discouraging. The dips feel infinite and the peaks always feel so short-lived. But let's practice riding the wave of the ups and downs and focusing only on what is and not what could be. All of your attention and love is needed right here and right now. So sit with these feelings, lean into them, lock hands with the discomfort and tell yourself 'I got this. I am so fucking lost and sad, but I got this." Be gentle on yourself. Take care of you. There are no expectations of who and what you need to be right now except yourself- whatever that may look like. One moment at a time.

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