How I’m Owning My Anxiety

I had my first anxiety attack in high school. 

It was first thing in the morning and I couldn’t settle down. My heart was pounding and my stomach felt as though it was going to jump out of my skin. 

Not long after high school, I began to fear anything. Changes, possibilities, getting older. 

That should have been an incredible time, but instead, I was frozen on the path of life. There was a fork in the road and I was too scared to pick one. 

So, I quit everything and moved to New Orleans. 

At the time I said it was because I needed to “get to know myself”, but in truth, it was because I was trying to shake off the fear and deny that I had any kind of anxiety issues. 

I felt caught between doing what I should do and doing what I shouldn’t do. Which was quitting school, and my job, and moving halfway across the country for no reason.

 

 

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a woman standing on a beach looking out at the ocean

Sometime later, I began to level out with the fear. I graduated from college and began my life in debt. Strangely I was cool with this. Until I needed to buy a new car or needed an emergency credit card. 

I had the worst anxiety attack of my life.  Only this time it came in the form of anger and lashing out. 

Sadly the person who received most of my lashings was my mother. 

I was paralyzed by life and the direction I was heading. Getting old meant I was getting closer to death. And that freaked me out beyond anything. 

So, I began to refrain from doing anything. 

I refrained from going to New York to see my favorite play Hamlet because I was afraid to fly. I refrained from going to Europe for so long because I was afraid of flying. Well, that and I had many people around me (except the people who had actually lived in Europe, such as my mother) tell me that I wouldn’t like Europe. And I would get mugged. Cause that’s what everyone in Europe does. 

I know better now. 

I’ve had several panic attacks and anxiety-crushing episodes over the years. The worst was when I was pregnant with my younger son. If you even breathed in my direction you were giving the nastiest, profanty-filled lecture of a lifetime. 

That was the year I began medication. 

 

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I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t manage my anxiety very well. For whatever reason, the sad truth that I couldn’t handle it on my own, it took me a long time to accept medication. 

 

I feel it creeping in. Just like before. The anxiety is knocking, and it’s getting louder. 

Now, even though I haven’t managed my anxiety very well, I do know the feeling of it rising. 

The first step is not able to do nothing. 

You read that right, I can not not do nothing. I have to do something. Whether it’s cleaning, working out, or writing. I can’t just sit down. I can’t relax.

When I do try my skin feels like I have sharp-legged bugs crawling in my skin. 

brown rock formation on sea during daytime

But…

I’m learning that just because I want to sit in my pajamas all day when I have nothing to do is not a bad thing. I’m allowing myself to accept help from my sons. I’m not being critical when they put the forks with the butter knives. 

I’m allowing myself more room to breathe. 

I’m journaling more. If you’re new here, I’ve started gardening.

 

Seriously gardening. 

What does all of this mean? 

It means I am actually accepting that I have anxiety. I may not be able to control it as I wish but I can recognize it, and it’s ok that this is my cross to bear. 

I am dealing by not feeling ashamed that I get freaked out over the smallest things. I don’t beat myself anymore for missing out on life events, though I still am mad I never got to see Linkin Park in concert because I couldn’t drive myself to the city where they were playing. 

If there is anything to take away from this post it is this, I have anxiety and I’m ok with this. I’ve made a ton of mistakes in the past, but I’m learning to do better. 

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Hi, I’m Christina

I’m the coffee-addicted creative behind Christina Q. Writes. As a full-time freelance writer and lover of history, I share insights into my crazy wonderful life.  Christina Q. Writes is where I share tips and advice making your own path, and doing it your way. Don’t be afraid to laugh at my mistakes!