As I was reflecting on my week and thinking about this week’s memoir topic – I realized that it was imperative that I discuss a topic that is very personal for me. In fact, it’s quite personal for many of us. For as long as I could remember, I have had difficulties with anxiety and managing it. It wasn’t until a few years ago, that I began learning to identify it & take the necessary steps to tend to my individual needs.
Anxiety effects more than 40 million adults in the US. But I didn’t have to look up statistics to know that more people live with anxiety every day than those who don’t. I also don’t need scholarly articles to tell me that few people recognize when they’re experiencing an episode & even less know how to manage it &/or deal with it appropriately. Far too many of us have been conditioned to believe that that “feeling” we can’t name; is a normal way to live our lives. However, I tell you today that god did not anoint us to walk around combatting anxiety. Our lives are so much more purposeful than being concerned with what could happen today or tomorrow. Society has conditioned us into believing that being unprepared & unknowing of the future is a disservice to ourselves. As a result, life has us running a race that will kill us before we even get to the finish line.
To put things in perspective for you, anxiety is over thinking. It’s obsessing over things outside of our control. Anxiety is the aggressive or emotional person that people often misunderstand. Anxiety is holding your breath without realizing it or feeling out of breath because you held your breath for so long. Anxiety is that tight feeling in your chest that feels like a heart attack. It’s that need to remain active because being still makes you uncomfortable. Anxiety is the stress we fail to do anything about because “this too shall pass.” It’s the discomfort felt before any social events with people & the desire to leave once you arrive.
Anxiety is a different picture for everyone but is the culprit for us all. If we don’t begin to handle, recognize, address & treat this; we will make our anxiety generational and pass the message that “anxiety is ok” to our children.
Through the various stages of my life, anxiety has looked different. I’ve had crippling fear, I’ve cried, I’ve laughed uncomfortably, I’ve lashed out, I’ve gotten physically aggressive, I’ve isolated myself, I’ve obsessively inquired & even tried to explain my anxiety away— all very unhealthy ways of managing & dealing with anxiety. Thankfully, I’ve learned to reflect, seek out the guidance from friends, received treatment from a licensed professional, temporarily was on medication, continued to write, pray and reflect. Now that I do these things, I am able to express myself in a positive way, recognize when I’m feeling anxious & identify the cause of my anxiety. Although, it isn’t perfect, it’s a positive stride & that matters.
Mental health concerns are coming to the surface. It’s important to learn your triggers & understand your anxiety. Recognize the signs. Address them. Seek help & learn to rely on the genuine things that bring you joy. Don’t compare your anxiety with against the anxiety of other people because it won’t always look the same. However, learning what anxiety means for you will allow you to seek the best ways to manage it. This past month, my anxiety looked different. However, had I not taken the time to study what anxiety looks like to me; I would’ve failed at eliminating my stressors & speaking about it with people I could trust. If anxiety goes unchecked it will be detrimental. Anxiety, like stress, is the gateway to many other negative feelings & experiences & is very real for many of us. Therefore, we need to be understanding with ourselves, but MORE vigilant with finding the solutions to our mental health disadvantages. We are beautiful, “flaws” and all; but if we can target this we can help make the world beautiful too.