Let It In (Anxiety Update)

Almost everyone who I’ve talked to about anxiety, therapists, counselors, my mum (my favorite person), have always told me, and keep telling me, to embrace the anxiety when it comes. Pretty much any book you read about anxiety will say this as well. For the longest time I didn’t understand what they were saying. Why did I need to let it in? I disliked my anxiety. I wanted it to go away. It made me feel sick, unsafe, scared.

So when I first started struggling I always tried to hide from it, ignore it, push it aside. It was exhausting! Anxiety to me has always been tiring. It feels debilitating. There’s a pounding in my chest that feels all-consuming. Here’s the other thing, every time I feel like I’m over my anxiety, it comes back in full force out of nowhere. I’ve been struggling with anxiety for three and a half years now. It has been a journey. I’m in a better place today than three years before, but I still have anxiety.

The last four days, the anxiety has come back in full force. At first, it made me so angry. I’m so excited for life, so grateful for it. Then suddenly the pain in my chest started, and I hated feeling like my anxiety was holding me back. To me, it feels like a physical force and I don’t know how to get rid of it. It follows me as I go through my day, try to get through my to-do lists, as I try to do the things I want to do in life.

I spoke to my mom and she reminded me to stop trying to fight the anxiety, which was exactly what I was doing. I was trying to ignore it and keep going forward with everything else. But the longer I ignore it, the harder it gets to keep my breathing normal. I also don’t enjoy anything I’m doing because there is this underlying panic to it all. I feel disoriented, and everything takes serious mental and physical effort. Anxiety has never been my enemy. I have to constantly remind myself of that. My struggle with anxiety changed the path of my life and I am happy with where I’m heading, so how can I hate the anxiety then?

Last night, after a whole day of trying to ignore the anxiety, I finally decided to take time and do this ‘feel the anxiety’ that everyone talks about. I put my mat on the ground and laid down with my legs up against a wall. I just laid there. It was an uncomfortable feeling at first. To sit and feel something that in the past I’ve always tried to ignore. I was able to calm down a little. Then I had to do it again this morning. I’m probably going to have to do it again after I finish writing this. I’m starting to see what everyone means though, when they tell me to embrace the anxiety. When I just sit with the anxiety, with no expectations, not accusing it of anything, but just let be, I think I give it my full attention and that gradually helps decrease the panic. A big part of anxiety for me is that I’m always thinking I have no time for it, it’s stopping me from doing other things, it’s taking things away from me. It’s not easy to change this way of thinking. My body naturally tries to cope with anxiety that way but I’m trying to change that. It’s something I need to relearn. It’s not easy, not really fun, but it is where I’m at.

Maybe this is why the anxiety is back, to remind me there still is something to learn. That’s not the point though. For whatever reason, it’s here right now and I’m going to be okay.

Anyways, that is my little anxiety update for now.

It’s still a good life even if it is an anxious one at the moment.

With love,

Vanessa