Anxiety… Let’s be real. It’s a bitch. Honestly, I refused to think I had anxiety until about 8 years ago. I always though, “Come on Brooke you’re being ridiculous. Get it together!”. But, when I started getting migraines and stress related bloating I learned anxiety was really a thing.
I didn’t really understand why I had anxiety until I took the Enneagram Test and found out I’m a 6. It’s too much to try and explain all the details, but the biggest thing about being an Enneagram 6 is they are over-thinkers. Haha, wait everyone doesn’t think about the past, present, and future ALL THE TIME?! No wonder I’m anxious.
However, the real reason I’m writing this post is because at the end of July I had my first ever real anxiety attack. Didn’t realize it was happening until after it happened. I could not get a hold of my thoughts AT ALL. It was in a downward spiral of worst case scenario thinking and there was no hope of getting out of it at the time. Not to mention, I was on an airplane so I didn’t have a lot I could do to keep my mind preoccupied. My mind was literally going from thought to thought about every 10 seconds. Also, my chest felt so tight like I had a 50 pound dumbbell sitting on it which made it a little hard to catch my breath. Lastly, I had zero appetite which for me is NOT normal.
I tried praying, meditating, watching a movie and reading. NOTHING WORKED. All I could do was ride it out until I could get home and go to sleep. The next week when I saw my therapist and I told her I thought I had an anxiety attack she looked at me with big eyes and said, “Um…Yes Brooke that was definitely an anxiety attack!”.
The severe anxiety continued on for a few more days because I was still traveling. Not being able to be home in my own environment and normal routine made things a little worse. I had been traveling for about 3 weeks straight at that point so I desperately needed to be home.
While I was on the last leg of my trip in Austin I decided to use you all as a venting outlet. After a glass of wine (or two…) I got on Instagram stories to let you all in on my anxiety. Little did I know how incredible the response was going to be!! I cannot tell you how many of YOU AMAZING FOLLOWERS sent me a DM supporting me, giving me some coping tips, and sharing that some of you deal with the same thing. There were so many of you who were so supportive in my decision to share the struggle so it only took me 3-months to write this post, but here it is!!
5 WAYS TO HELP ANXIETY
PRAY (C.A.L.M. TECHNIQUE)
The absolute first thing I do when I get anxious is pray. Even though I don’t like to be anxious I know He is using that moment in time to help me grow. During my anxiety attack I was basically in a constant state of praying to God. Even though it only gave me a few moments of relief here and there it was better than not.
One of my followers told me about the C.A.L.M. approach to praying which helps you to focus a bit more on your prayer.
C: Call on the Lord
A: Ask Him to be with you
L: List out your worries to Him
M: Meditate on Truth (Repeat: God is with me and He will get me through this time)
GET A THERAPIST
I’ve said this many many many times before, but getting a therapist is the best money I’ve spent. Yes, you can easily talk to your friends and family about issues in your life. But it’s just not the same. My therapist has helped me to understand SO many things about myself and how to deal with particular situations that no one else is trained to do. She was also the one to help me understand what my anxiety attack was really about…
MEDITATION (NOTING TECHNIQUE)
I suck at meditation… But I’ve been trying really hard to do it every morning. Can’t say I’ve been able to get through an entire week yet. I have learned a few good things from trying to mediatate though. First, I learned how to use the “noting” technique. Basically, you pretend you’re lying down looking up at the clouds. When a feeling comes to your mind or see a cloud you take “note” of what that feeling is and then let it go or let the cloud pass. It sounds really easy and kinda dumb, but it really has worked. It’s helped me realized what the anxious feeling really are and let them go (see the truth).
Another one of my followers told me about the 5 senses technique. It’s really quite simple:
- 5: Look for 5 things you can SEE and say them out loud
- 4: Find 4 things you can feel and say them out loud
- 3: Listen to 3 things you can hear
- 2: Sniff 2 things you can smell
- 1: Say 1 thing you can taste
The reason for doing this is it focuses your mind on other things so you forget what you were originally thinking about.
I never realized how much exercise can affect your mood. Even a short walk down the block can help more than you know. Just getting up an moving around can switch your mind off for a few minutes. Since I’ve been on the “body reset” and working out on a consistent basis when I had 3 weeks off I felt like I was having withdrawals from my workouts. My body didn’t know what was going on because I was eating like crap again and hadn’t exercised in almost a month. All I wanted to do once I got back in town was workout non-stop because it kept my mind off my anxiety.
There you have it people… My tips for anxiety relief and ways I cope with the constant battle. I don’t take medication for anxiety because I know I can fight it myself and with God. Not saying you shouldn’t take medication to help. I fully support taking meds when you truly need them.
Sooooooo…. Do you want to know why I really had the anxiety attack? It wasn’t like anything bad was happening in my life. I’ve always been super secure in every area of my life except one… GUYS. Yeah so I didn’t tell anyone my anxiety was because of the guy I was talking to at the time. In my gut I knew something was “off” and my gut is usually always right. Always. So sure enough, the next week after not hearing from him for a bit and him being super flaky compared to our normal conversations he told me he couldn’t do the dating thing.
We hadn’t been dating long at all. Literally so short I’m not going to tell you all because it’s kind of embarrassing. BUT… The anxiety attack wasn’t about him really. It was about being rejected. Again. That fear and feeling of “what’s wrong with me?” came over me again and took control.
There you have it… My weakness is men. I’m not the super confident girl who has it all together. We all have our downfalls so if you’re struggling with anxiety please know you are NOT ALONE.