I think that it is very important to discuss how I have combatted anxiety, how I struggled/struggle with it and give a few pointers that I have learned through the years from professionals and my own research. There is so much to talk about when it comes to anxiety, however, I am going to stick with my own anxiety journey and dive into some of the little things that have helped me.
*Side note: I know this is a lot of personal and raw information, however, if you are reading this you understand I am putting this out there for educational purposes and to show everyone it is okay to be vulnerable and talk about the difficulties we struggle with.*
I have always been quite an anxious kid, seeking validation, searching for something that will make me feel better about myself, but who didn’t do that as a kid? My issues got serious when I was released from Nevada in 2020 right after a roommate of mine passed suddenly. I had what they call in the medical world: “manageable anxiety.” This was prior to this whirlpool of emotions that I simply did not have the tools to cope with on my own. I went into a pretty dark depressive state in the year I took off school, particularly in the months following the incident I mentioned above.
This emotional state went on for months where I really needed a lot of motivation to do anything, I was smoking weed a lot throughout the summer and I could see my loved ones were concerned about me. I was really just trying to numb my feelings and feel nothing, in a state of cruise control where I only looked forward to things like smoking or drinking. I still practiced but was not as nearly as focused as I am today. I felt like nothing was really making me happy, like I did not belong anywhere and did not see things getting much better in the foreseeable future, especially considering we were at the beginning of a pandemic. It was not until I gathered some courage to speak with my doctor about these things I had been thinking and feeling that I started to see a bit of light at the end of what seemed like a never-ending tunnel. I got medicated and was on and off anxiety medication up until this past month. The medication was a good place to start and a band-aid to the motivation as I was able to have a bit of a boost to start my day.
The anxiety comes and goes in different intensities since this low point of my life and I am actually current on ADHD medication now as my doctor determined my anxiety symptoms are suppressed and the real issue is ADHD. This is quite irrelevant to anyone reading, however, I included it for complete transparency and because it felt good to finally get off of the medications on which I relied for multiple years to stay at a manageable level of anxiety. Life is all about the small wins!
The things that led me back to a place where I could see my emotions clearly and manage my anxiety included the following: cold showers, limiting alcohol consumption, cleaner eating, journaling, walks, runs, regular exercise, a mental toughness challenge, cold tubs, meditation, gratitude, avoiding staying up crazy late and being okay with the fact that things are going to go wrong. The higher my anxiety gets, the more I do/do not do some of these things. When this occurs, which it does, it is simply just about self-reflection and getting back to these things that make me feel clear mentally.