One of the worst things that I have had the pleasure or displeasure of facing in my life was anxiety. Anxiety can be a crippling thing that can keep us from enjoying our life. In extreme cases anxiety can lead to us not leaving our houses.
For me I would get anxious around my health. For me foods can travel through me and want to get out of me very quickly where I need to find a bathroom as quick as humanly possible. There are some days where humanly possible is not quick enough.
This is where the anxiety would start to happen. Can I go out? Will I be able to make it to the bathroom? Will I get there fast enough? Should I eat before hand? Should I eat there or should I wait to eat until I get home? There would be the thoughts that would be traveling through my mind before I did anything. Just the idea of going someplace would create these thoughts. After these thoughts are starting in my head the next train of thoughts are the deadly “what ifs.” What if I can’t find a bathroom? What if I get sick? What if I don’t make it? What if? What if?
To some the solution would be the simple one. Don’t go out. This was my solution. Just stay in. Don’t go anywhere. Outside bad! Inside Good. Stay home. I only went out, sparingly, and when I needed to. As easy as that would be it then creates a life that is devoid of much in it. No going out. No doing this. No doing that. Sure, it is easier that way. Is that a life one really wants to live?
That option was not something I could just do all the time for my life. My job requires me to travel 100%. When you are traveling for a living there is no option to not go out. You have to go out. It is what you signed up to do. For someone like me, having a job where I needed to travel, was one of the hardest things ever. Trying to get to work some days, was like walking on a floor of fire. I have no idea what that would be like, actually. Walking on fire could be a pleasant thing and feel much better than a day with anxiety. I’d probably take walking on fire than an anxiety attack truth be told.
What does one do in such a situation?
Sure you can just quit your job and find an easier one. That could be something to do. You could also just live in your house and never go out. Without your job you won’t be able to afford you house, pay your bills, or able to get food for yourself. Your relationships may start to fall apart. Which is what happened to me. How many people can give up their way of living, and what they want out of life, for another that can not? Those that are not in these shoes, can not truly understand. They know of it, and may be sympathetic to you, but they truly can not understand what it is like. To be so crippled by anxiety, and fear. That is overpowers you and controls your life. That is the biggest thing with anxiety you have no control. You have no say in what will happen. And with my stomach, the unpredictability of it all, it put me into a place where I had no control over my stomach and what would happen. Could I go here, or there, what if I eat this and it does not agree with me? Without that control one does not feel like they have stability in their life.
It can be hard to be in a relationship with one that is able to enjoy things in life. I have seen relationships fall apart in my own life because of not doing much or really enjoying life.
So what does one do?
They work on healing that anxiety that is preventing them from living their life. To heal the anxiety one needs to understand how anxiety works. Anxiety and anxious thoughts are thoughts that our mind creates based on the circumstances that we have faced in the past and are creating a future that we see based on those experiences that we have already faced and endured.
In other words when things have happened to us that we see as bad or dangerous our mind hold onto it and paints that as the probable outcome in the future. As far as we know we know that to be true. We know what happened as being the only thing that can happen and will happen. That in essence is our anxiety. We become anxious that yesterday will be today and will turn into tomorrow.
It seems simple enough. To stop the anxiety we have to stop the thoughts that are creating the anxiety. How do we just turn off those thoughts? In my experience it is not as simple as just turning them off. For me I learned that those thoughts that get created in our mind do not need to stay in our mind. They can be let go and we can watch as they leave our minds.
How do we just let them go then? For me the first step in letting them go was in the acceptance of what has happened has already happened. Those times of “failure” had already happened. There was nothing I can do to change that. There was another piece of information that I learned in accepting the past. That was the fact that the future does not have to be the past. In other words what happened in the past does not mean it will happen now.
That was a powerful little piece of information to have. The past does not have to be now. What that meant was I had the knowledge that today can and will be different from yesterday and I could mold tomorrow into something better than.
It is a liberating thought to have. Does that mean those thoughts never exist for me? No, I can not say that. I wish I could. But even today, as I talked about yesterday, those thoughts and feelings still exist within me. Anxiety is a vicious thing once it takes root within the mind. Even with many triumphs I have had over the years, anxiety can keep feeding itself within me, because of that one or two times where it didn’t go my way. Even if 200 times did go my way.
There are other things that we can do to help us combat our anxiety and be free from it. Those things are planning what we are doing so we are ready for all contingencies if need be. For me just knowing that today will be different is not the only thing that needs to be done. Because of my health there are other steps that I need to make to help ease the anxiety. Those steps are planning my day out to know what I need for the day.
I cannot plan when my stomach will act up. I can do the things that I need to so I am prepared in case. Such as knowing the route I am going to take. Knowing where I can stop if I need to.
There are other things you can do such as making sure you have a plan or action when going about to help give you peace of mind. When they tell you about ”in case of emergency packages” you can create one for yourself as well for the situations that are in your life. Being prepared helps you to not have the anxious thoughts because you are ready and equipped to face and tackle them.
Then there are other important things that one can do for themselves, and have been what I have been working on for the past couple months. That is changing my life. Changing the foods I eat and consume, eating foods that are more proper for my body, that has drastically changed my life and is helping me get my life back for the first time in 30 plus years. In a later post I will talk more about the change to my diet that I have done and how it has and is helping me live better and be better.