Wednesday, November 28, 2018

My Journey with Anxiety



I’ve had this idea running rampant in my mind for such a long time, but I was always unsure of when it would be the appropriate time to post this.  Not only finding the suitable time to post this heavy topic, but how to properly address this issue that I, as well as many others, have faced one time or another.

Today I woke up with this abundance of confidence within myself pertaining to today's post. I knew that I must crank out this post today or it would be eating at me! I opened my eyes to the realization this morning that there is nothing wrong with how I may phrase any of this or how I should come about this topic. This is simply me sharing my story. Nothing but the honesty, raw truth of my journey with living and learning how to overcome my anxiety.

Before I dive into everything; I wanted to reiterate the fact that I have created my blog not only to inspire others with my style, but most importantly, establishing my blog to inspire others thoughts and well being. Human interaction, whether it be through any media form or face to face interaction, is something that is so important to our lives and has been lacking tremendously in our society.. I hope that my story will be able to touch even one persons life and show them that they aren't alone. So here I begin, tackling an issue I have been wrestling with for sometime. Here's my raw, complete story of how I learned to overcome my anxiety.

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Thinking back to two years ago, the time I was struggling the most with my anxiety, I wouldn't ever imagine that one day I would be writing about how I overcame something that at the time consumed my life. I want to paint you all the picture of what my life was like during my junior and senior year of high school, dominated by my anxiety. Even though I was sharing my almost "cookie cutter" version of my life back then on my blog, it was incredibly hard to share what I was struggling with not only with my parents and friends, but to all of you. Not only did my anxiety create this constant worry and fear within myself, but held me back from enjoying little moments that were going on within my life.

It's a little comical to me that during this period of my life, I always prided myself on how I was “Miss Independent”' and so self sufficient; when the harsh reality being that I was being consumed by this perpetual state of fear and worry. At that time, it was almost impossible for me to go somewhere by myself, let alone drive anywhere. I was constantly troubled about wondering when and where my next anxiety attack would happen, with no one by my side to help calm me down. My heart would race a million miles per minute, feeling as if someone was holding my throat and not allowing me to breath and trouble collecting all of my thoughts. My anxiety was somewhat paralyzing. Since I was so oblivious to what would set off these episodes, I felt that this made my anxiety worse because I would constantly dwell on the same "What if''s?" and reenact these scenarios in my mind.

I can vividly recall times of having to leave the movies with my friends or while driving had the feeling that I had no control of my actions of where I would take myself and my car, or even having to leave a conversation with someone to step outside to get some fresh air.  I began to just accept my anxiety as a factor in my day by day life; probably the worst thing anyone could do. I began to feel alone in the sense that I didn't really have someone to talk to that felt the same way that I did; I was beside myself. My friends and family did the best they could, but I started holding it in more and more because I didn't want others to see me as "dramatic" or that I was using my anxiety as some cheap punchline.  

Countless nights I recall crying out to God asking Him to take this away from me, yet always finding myself dealing with this constant battle. Towards the middle of my senior year, I had enough and it was time I figure out what the cause of this chaos was inside of me. Maybe it's my coffee intake? Maybe it's the foods or lack of foods I am eating? Thus my "infamous" bag of almonds appeared everywhere I went, as well as cutting back my occasional cup of coffee to just one. Both these things affected my level of anxiety, but I didn't realize a huge change in how I felt mentally. I was still worried, still fearful, and still doubtful.

The summer before my senior year, my friends and I attended a conference our church held. This was the moment when things started to shift; not right then and there, but bare with me. I'll never forget when Pastor Rich Wilkerson gave a sermon about anxiety and the baggage it carries within everyone. Growing up in a church centered school, I was preached about this day after day; but I had never heard it taught like that before and I felt a presence of peace. I remember I was in tears because I had been looking, seeking and asking for an explanation, or even just something that could help with what I’d been dealing with.

From that moment I began to take a step back and examine my mental state. Is what I'm worrying about going to matter in 10 minutes from now? Is this anxiety creating any good in my life? Is all the negative things that I think can go wrong in my life actually happening? No. No and no again. It's taken me two years of finding this peace within myself to not dwell and worry on every thought, that I have noticed my anxiety slip away from me.  Again, I'm not saying that I never feel this way, it just isn't as crippling and sever as it was. It doesn’t matter if you consider yourself religious or not, I found the best way to help with my anxiety by meditating on the good! Focus on the good within your life, what can come for your future, what you have been blessed with in your present. Worrying doesn't add a single good to anything! Think of all the wonderful things you can be accomplishing instead of worrying!

I know I approached getting over my anxiety very holistically because I knew that it wasn't so bad. I encourage anyone who knows, or is suffering in that way to seek help from someone! Create a support group at your school, spark the conversation, help yourself and the well-being of our society! There is nothing wrong or selfish in loving and helping yourself out. Don't be afraid to have conversations about your mental health with your friends, family members or loved ones!! It's easier more than ever to give your body and mind the love it deserves.

At the end of the day and this seemingly endless journey, be authentic with yourself and your thoughts!! Self help is normal and a healthy part of growing into the incredibly awesome individual you are created to become!

Xoxo,
Jillian

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely love your strength and positive attitude through life! We love your blogs and how you dive more into life than the average blogger. Keep it up and happy holidays!

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