Anxiety is something I have always struggled with and continue to work through everyday. I thankfully have more good days than bad but it took me a long time and a lot of work to get to this point. I used to be ashamed of my anxiety and let it run my life. I would cancel plans with friends, skip school, and once I got older I would call off work because I did not feel emotionally stable enough to go. It eventually got to the point where I realized I needed help to figure out these emotions. I was able to learn most of my triggers and some new techniques that help keep my anxiety at bay so I can go about my daily life.
Looking back on my childhood I can definitely see signs of anxiety way before I ever knew what it was. When I was in first grade I suffered from severe separation anxiety from my parents and sadly my teacher was not understanding or kind to me because of it. As I got older and entered middle school, it was hard for me to try and balance figuring out who I was and the changes happening to my body, my grades, and my social life. I was also bullied terribly in middle school which led to many hours in the counselors office. Once I got to high school I just suppressed all of those feelings and memories. I started to fit in more since I was a cheerleader and made new friends. My social life was better than I could ever dream of but yet I would randomly not get out of bed in the morning and started skipping a lot of school because of it. I started having to see my school counselor everyday, after a few weeks she expressed to me that she believed I had severe anxiety and should look into seeing someone outside of school.
It was not until I moved to East Lansing from Chicago; 7 years later, that I decided I really wanted to give seeing someone a chance. I saw her once, sometimes two times a week when my anxiety was at its highest. She was a strong christian which I believe helped me tremendously because we always prayed and kept God in our conversations. She helped me figure out that my anxiety has evolved into different forms and severities over the years. As my anxiety started out mostly triggered by separation and bad school experiences, it is now more triggered by the unknown. The not knowing if a storm will produce a tornado, if I will succeed at something, or what it will be like once I return to work post quarantine. These are a few of my more recent triggers.
As I am sure most of us are going through a form of anxiety about returning to work and what life will be like post pandemic. I am not a professional but I wanted to share my background with anxiety and give you some tips that help me process and get through those worries without letting it consume me. First thing is I allow myself to process my emotions and tell myself that it is okay to feel them. You are not weak, or wrong if you are scared or worried, you are human. I try to only focus on what I can control and give all my other worries to God. In this time we have so much out of our control that we tend to feel powerless and that is when anxiety sneaks in. I have decided to focus my energy on creating new habits; working out, healthy eating, and pursuing things I did not have time for before. I also set time every night to give all my worries to God in prayer, this helps ease my mind so I can fall asleep. Giving myself a media break. For me, because my anxiety is so strongly triggered by the unknown, I consume myself with the news/radar which helps me but can hurt me because I tend to obsess over it sometimes. The last thing I do is talk it out with someone I trust, most the time it is my mom, but in the past it has been a friend from church or even my therapist. Talking through your feelings with someone can help clarify things for you or even give you a new perspective. If you do not have anyone you can trust or feel comfortable talking to please do not hesitate to reach out to me.