Struggling With Anxiety And How I Plan To Improve

Hello everyone. Today, I want to talk about a difficult topic, one that is not only hard for me to open up and talk about, but it is also a topic that is very personal for me. It is a daily struggle that I face and something I don't talk about often enough. This is my journey, my road to progress, my path to accepting the grace I so often give others without giving myself. So settle in with a cup of tea or coffee, whichever you please, or pass this post by if you feel so inclined.

While I am writing this, it is 3 AM CST. I have been awake since around 1 AM. Why am I up so late? I just can't settle down enough to sleep. My mind is racing. I am shaking, and not just from the cold that has descended upon me here in sweet home Alabama. It is another restless night in a string of restless nights, and days if I am being honest. My anxiety has me in its grips again with a hold on my mind, body, and soul.

I was just scrolling through Facebook trying to distract my mind long enough to sleep when I ran across a blog from The Better Mom entitled "What I Have Learned Living With Chronic Anxiety." Every word spoke to me. It called out my name, and I realized I don't speak out about my anxiety. Jessica was talking about her struggle with chronic anxiety and how she copes with it. I sweep it under the rug, I go to those close to me looking for comfort they cannot offer, I pray more and I feel like God responds less and less. It is in these times when I feel like I am being swallowed alive, that the light at the end of the tunnel doesn't exist, and I am the worst failure that I can possibly be.

For many who do not suffer with anxiety, it is difficult to really understand what is happening to someone that they love and care about during one of these times. I am going to do my best to describe how it feels for me. When the anxiety hits, I pause. My mind is distracted and it goes into overload. It is similar to trying to run your computer with at least 73 tabs open at once. As you can imagine, this would slow down and overwhelm your computer, just like it slows me down and overwhelms me. It isn't just darkness and doom. It is often simple thoughts of not doing something to the best of my ability even though I tried and gave it my all (like this post for example). It is feeling like no matter what I do, it is never enough.

It is rare for me to really talk about what is going on. I will simply say I am emotional, my time of the month is close, or I had a bad day. When in reality, it isn't just one bad day. It isn't one event. It is a series of thoughts, feelings, and emotions that have become so loud it overwhelms me. And often times I notice that the people around me are blaming themselves when it isn't something they have control over either. I have honestly been blessed with some of the most magnificently patient and caring people in my life. Even though they sometimes get frustrated, they really do try to understand and give me grace the best that they know how.

I want to dig down and find better ways to cope with and overcome what is going in when my anxiety hits. I don't want to rely on others to pull me out. So here are some things I want to work on and improve in order to really help myself going into the new year:

-My Faith: Praying more, reading more, trusting more. Even though I have really taken strides with my faith this past year, I want to keep building on that foundation.

-Goals: I want to focus on specific areas in my life and defining the steps to accomplish the goals in those areas (I have blogged about that here). Goals intimidate me; therefore, focusing on specific areas and what my dreams would be will help me to narrow down what I need to do in order to achieve those dreams

-Self Care: It is time to stop being ashamed to admit that I need self care. Whether that means learning how and when to say no, or just learning little things I can do to help myself recharge.

-Communication: I want to improve the way I communicate with others, especially during times when my anxiety is running high. It is important for me to learn how to better communicate.

This is what anxiety looks like, 3 AM rambling through tears and thoughts that this post isn't good enough, it isn't clear enough, and it doesn't really help anyone. And unfortunately, those same thoughts apply to every aspect in my life. The one thing I know I can do is turn to God. Even in this uphill battle with the devil dragging me backwards, I can pray. I can read my Bible. I can study His word and focus on His truth.

Is anxiety or other mental illnesses something that you struggle with? I would love to hear your story and talk about your journey, so feel free to comment or send me an email.