Thoughts from an anxious person trying to be less anxious
Hello, today I wanted to write something a little more personal. I really love writing on this blog as I mainly get to write about all the things I like and I get to create a collection of posts that I really loved creating. While I love creating these more positive, fun, makeup/lifestyle posts, I also want to be able to look back on my blog and see my own personal journey as well. So, I thought I would share my thoughts as a person with anxiety who is trying to be less anxious.
To start, I have had anxiety for five years now. I first started to get anxiety during a year where I was facing a lot of transitions. I was looking at new schools to go to, and I was preparing to leave a school I had been at for most my life. To say something that I think will probably help your general understanding of me, I’m not extremely adventurous, I would say I’m more of a homebody, and that I don’t do change well. While these qualities aren’t bad ones, they don’t really make for a year of big transitions to be coped with the best. I am also someone who tends to stress myself out unnecessarily. So, I started to become anxious as I started to see that I was going to have to face this change which would need me to be: adventurous, and deal with change, and I (being me) added a lot of stress as I thought about what this change would be like. I have also realized over the years that my anxiety is also socially based. I find it very hard to walk into a room of people I don’t know and talk to them. While for a lot of people I know, this may seem strange, if you are more quiet like me you may feel the same. During this period, I found that I was losing one of my close friends and the people she was hanging out with weren’t really for me. I have always had very close friends, but at this point my best friend was living overseas and my other best friend was at a different school. I was having a hard time totally connecting with other people at the time and my anxiety was something that was really influencing this.
I have always been anxious but I would say my anxiety really stared those five years ago, as that’s when I began to have panic attacks. With what I talked about above, and the lack of sleep I was getting over my anxiousness really made the perfect conditions that caused my panics attack. I have learned a lot about myself through this process, and one of the first things I learned was that a lack of sleep means a lack of my mental strength. I often see my anxiety increasing when I don’t sleep, and my panic attacks will always happen more when I am over worked and going on a small amount of sleep. So, when I first got my anxiety I was someone who was socially anxious, tired, and anxious about change. While I am still someone who has all those qualities in these past five years I have found way to be less anxious. I like to say "be" rather than “not be anxious” as saying "not be anxious" just wouldn't be true. I still have anxiety, but I have learned to manage it and I think that acknowledging the progress and not a fake fix of it is better.
So to start. I had to find a way to live with change. I think that a lot of my anxiety is based on me finding something I am familiar with and clinging to it. I tend to find people I like and spend all my time with them. I am someone with friends, but a few friends who I tend to do everything with. This was something that I needed to work on. While I still tend to do this with my friends, I have become much more adventurous than I once was. I tried to expand myself, little by little. I stared by challenging myself to bike across my city to one of my favorite parks. While this wasn’t the most adventurous thing, it was something that I could do alone. I was also able to do it successfully multiple times. It was a hard bike and there were challenges dealing with the stupid drivers who yell at everything, steep hills, and the other little things... but I could do it. This led to new adventures like dying my hair. While the black was interesting (and I don’t know if I would go back) it was a new experience and something that allowed me to be a little bit of a crazier me. I have found that by expanding my surroundings and expanding my comfort level in new situations my anxiety has lessened. New situations and change don’t have the same anxiety causing power that they once had. If you are like me and change/new situations are something that give you some stress I would say find one thing to do that is new and enjoyable and do it. The only way to be less anxious is to face whatever is causing you this anxiety. I was able to limit mine by finding change when it wasn’t necessarily needed.
Socially, I haven’t totally conquered my anxiety. I feel that with change, I am someone who you could say enjoys change now (or at least sometimes), but social situations are a common anxiety trigger of mine. Seeing people I don’t know, dealing with cringe situations, and presentations/crowd situations are some of the big ones with me. I tend to overthink everything- so I feel like before I’ve gone through some of these situations I have thought about it so many times that I have figured out a ton of way that it could go wrong. This allows me to increase my own stress and convince myself that those things could happen. This is something I still do, and while I wish I could say I knew how to stop it, I don’t exactly. I have become better at it and a lot of that has come with building up my own confidence. I feel that having confidence in that type of situation will allow you to have a little extra push to take control in a social situation that you wouldn’t usually be comfortable in. I think turning to an outfit you feel great in, is cozy and you feel comfortable in, or adding a little extra something you love can do the trick. It all depends on you personally, but for me, I will wear something I love, spend a little extra time on my makeup, and listen to some music that will literally have me singing along the whole drive there (suggestion- Mama Mia).
For the lack of sleep, I think maybe this is just me. Let me know if anyone out there experiences this with their anxiety. I don’t hear a lot of people talk about this so I would love to know if this does happen to anyone else. I tend to become restless in my sleep, have strange dreams that incorporate my anxiety, or some insomnia. I have found that by decreasing my anxiety and the sources it comes from I have been able to sleep more. Also by listening to sleep music on my iPod, watching some calming YouTube videos, or drawing have helped as well.
Really to be less anxious I have found ways to lessen my anxiety in certain situation and prep for them by having fun and building up my confidence. While I still experience panic attacks and sometimes I have to stop, cry, and take some time to collect myself- I have decreased them. I haven’t experienced a panic attack in two months. While I have been close, I haven’t done it and I couldn’t be prouder of that.
Thanks for reading :)