I have struggled with anxiety since I was a young teen. I have had times in my life where it was almost non-existent, and times when it felt like it was smothering me slowly. I have utilized many different approaches to help ease my anxiety. I have found that what works best for me is working with a psychiatrist for medication, self-reflection and meditation, creative outlets like writing and singing, and professional counseling with a counselor that I have a good and trusting relationship with. All of those things take time and it can be a bit of a hunt to find the right people/techniques for you, but don’t give up!
I recently had a therapist tell me that my anxiety was controlling my life. They told me that it was affecting me, my ability to enjoy life, and my relationships with others. They reminded me that by allowing my anxiety to make decisions for me (like leaving a vacation early) I am affecting not just myself, but my husband as well. Which is true. I didn’t leave the trip alone, my husband came with me because we always have each other’s backs. But he deserves a full vacation too!
Being reminded of all of those things hurt profoundly. It is not easy to recognize your failures and shortcomings. It’s even harder to have them spoken aloud by others and to know deep down that they are right.
While I did not agree with this person’s recommendations on how I fix the problem, I did take away the very important lesson they taught me, and for that I am grateful!
It was kind of like I closed a chapter in my mind. It was a chapter titled “Anxiety: The Boss”. As if a switch flipped in my mind, I decided ‘No More!’
I was done letting my life slip by while I worried about it from the corners of my mind. I was ready to step back into the spotlight of my life and enjoy it!
My diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis this past fall really thew me into a whirlwind of emotions, and rightfully so! I went through (and probably am still going through) a full process of grieving. Grieving for the life that I always had thought I would have, which had now drastically changed in the blink of an eye.
I am still trying to navigate this new world I’ve been thrown into, and sometimes it’s a lot scarier than others. Imagine walking around with a cement block tied to a balloon on a string dangling above your head. You know that eventually the string will break, or the balloon will run out of air and the block will fall on you, but there is no way to know when. So each day you wake up to unknown. Wondering, I wonder what my body will be like today.
It is no wonder that people with Multiple Sclerosis often have anxiety and/or depression! Not to mention the mood changes that can come as a result of MS.
All of these fears have been causing me to want to hide inside. To keep myself safe, and not do anything that might cause me to get stressed out, or sick, or overheated and cause a relapse. But when that switch in my mind flipped I realized that I am OK right now!
I have 95% of my mobility, I just need to remember to take it slow and use railings etc to prevent falls! I have my sight, my speech! I am extremely lucky as far as MS goes.
Yes, my chronic fatigue can cause some nasty symptoms. And I stumble over my numb foot every now and then, but as long as I plan my days accordingly (meaning giving myself nap time😋 and a rest day soon afterwards) I can still do SO much!
So this weekend I did not one, but two things that challenged my anxiety, and proved to myself that my body can handle some fun and adventure!
I saw Taylor Swift’s Reputation Tour on Friday night with my sister. We have been to all of her concerts together since Speak Now (2010), which is one of our favorite “sister traditions”.
After my diagnosis I was worried that I would not be able to make it to the tour this year. Stadium crowds, the noise and the lights can all cause overstimulation resulting in my dizziness and vision issues really kicking in. Not to mention, large crowds can cause claustrophobia for me.
Having that ‘kick in the ass’ earlier this week, I went into this weekend telling my anxiety that I was in control! This is my life, and I am going to enjoy it, dammit!
I had a wonderful time with my sister at the concert and was able to get through my claustrophobia with crowd using some simple breathing techniques!
The next day I went to the Minnesota State Fair with my husband and some of our friends! More big crowds! Again, I proved to myself that I could do it, and it was fun!
All in all, I’m feeling pretty damn proud of myself. I am excited to continue with this positive energy flow I am on! I am so grateful for this change in perspective and the adventures that it could bring!
I am pretty wiped out today, after my weekend of fun! But it’s a stormy day here in the mini-apple and perfect for resting, recharging my spoons, and snuggling with my boys!
Wishing you all some peace, relaxation and joy this wonderful day ❤️ – A