10/17/16

Overcoming Anxiety

And how I am still dealing with it.

Today's post is a little more personal and little more in-depth than my normal fun, fashion and lifestyle posts, but it is something that has been going through my mind for the past couple of weeks. I also felt like it was something that I needed to share. 

Here's a little background information: I have had a problem with anxiety since I was in fourth grade, but I wouldn't say it became a real big issue until seventh grade. Seventh grade was when I started having panic and anxiety attacks regularly, and I had three peaks of anxiety: seventh grade, ninth grade, and eleventh grade. Odd years were clearly not good to me.

Obviously, I have dealt with anxiety for a while. Half of my life pretty much. It wasn't until recently, however, that I learned how to cope and how to "overcome" it. I will always have anxiety. It is a huge part of my life, but it isn't my entire life. I am more than the panic and anxiety attacks that can cripple me from going on with my day. I am more than the tear-filled nights. I am more than my mental disorder. I used to describe myself as an anxious person, but that's not quite true. Instead I am a person with anxiety.

My anxiety is rooted in my fear of lack of control. When there was something I couldn't control, I would panic. How do I fix this? How do I regain control? Most of the time, however, there was nothing I could do, but I never accepted that. I fought tooth and nail to be the sole person in control, and I always lost. I would have anxiety attacks over my grades, my friends, and my family because there was no other way for me to handle what I could not control.

I tried a lot of methods to get my anxiety in check. I tried medication, but I struggled with remembering to take it, and once you get off medication and go back on, your body gets messed up. I tried to go to therapy, but if there's something I hate more than not being in control, it's talking about my feelings. What worked for me was time, but remember what didn't work for me, works for other people. **Mental disorders are different for every single person, and every method of handling it is acceptable.** I needed to have time to learn what I needed to do in order to prevent anxiety attacks and to find out what made me anxious.

What helped me let go of my obsessive need to be in control was my dad being transferred to Ohio. It happened in my junior year of high school, and I was a wreck for a year. I refused to leave school and to move, and I don't think I have ever been more stubborn in my entire life. I made my parents' lives miserable for months, and I am so thankful that they did their best to keep me happy because I definitely did not win "Daughter of the Year" that year. This was the biggest change in my entire life, and I had absolutely no control over it. I couldn't get my dad to move back and have everything be normal. I had anxiety attacks just walking into school sometimes because I could not wrap my mind around everything. This was not my finest hour.

My dad ended up getting another job within the same company back in Georgia, and he moved back this past summer. But in that year and a half my dad was gone, I learned the biggest lesson I could have ever learned. I had to give up control in order to be happy. My junior year was one of the most anxiety filled years of my life because I spent so much time trying to change things no one had control over, but my senior year was amazing. It probably to do with a combination of learning how to control my anxiety and having extreme senioritis, but for the first time in a really long time, I was so happy, and I was less anxious than I had been in years.

This wasn't a over-and-done situation though. Even though my anxiety has been significantly lower than it has been in a while, it is still something I deal with on a daily basis. I mean, recruitment week was one big anxiety attack for me. However, I make the conscious decision every day to put myself and my mental health first. I remove myself from situations and people that make me anxious because that's something I do have control over. I focus on what I need rather than what other people need. It can be seen as selfish sometimes, but it's not. I have to remember that my mental health is more important than so many other things. I spent a lot of time not putting it first, and it really hurt me. Now I have learned what affects me in certain ways and how to lower my anxiety in certain situations. I've come a long way from the 12 year old who couldn't tell you what was making her cry.

xx, jKm

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