DISCLAIMER: Please note that I am not a medical professional, counselor, therapist, psychologist, or any of the like there of. I am not licensed to give professional advice in terms of mental health disorders & medical advice. All statements below are my own personal experiences and personal advice. I am not liable for any outcomes or decisions made based off of this writing or other articles written by myself on this website. Please see a licensed, medical professional for mental health advice and/or counseling.
If you’re like me when you start to feel anxious it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed quickly and bow out. Thoughts come through as “I can’t do this. I can’t go. I’ll get sick. I might pass out or faint. Something bad is going to happen. Not going to do this.”
It can be so easy to listen and take those thoughts to heart and act upon them. I know that all too well.
However, something I’ve been working on lately is challenging those anxieties when they arise. I have quite a few physical symptoms that arise when I am anxious too, so it’s never just racing thoughts for me.
I get so sick, literally, mentally and physically that I recently just have had enough. I mean c’mon, I take medication, I go to therapy, use CBD, essential oils, meditation, I pray and journal and read my bible, I stretch and take time to myself, I exercise, I voice when I am feeling anxious. What else is there to do to ease it?!
Turns out I had to face those fears that weren’t really happening, but my mind and body were telling me that they WERE happening. Here is an example.
If I don’t eat for long periods of time and start to get hungry I can become anxious almost immediately. And it’s not just a little anxious, it comes on quick and hard. I will then feel sick and run to the bathroom. This physical symptom is probably the one I hate the most. It started happening out of no where recently too. I would be doing something and all of a sudden I would get that anxious/hungry feeling and become easily overwhelmed.
Whenever this happens my mind and body have been accustomed to basing all decisions off of that alarm. A couple of weeks ago this happened again and I stopped for a second to ask myself “What will happen if I just let this anxious wave come and go? There isn’t anything wrong, I know I’m not starving, I know I won’t faint, and its not a big deal if I actually do get sick. I’m not in danger.” I waited about 15 minutes on the couch and was reading on my phone. Next thing I knew, I was totally fine. My weird anxious stomach was gone, I was only a little hungry but not pains-takingly hungry, and nothing happened to me.
For the first time ever I challenged that anxious symptom and feeling. I relied on logical thoughts and copping skills and… I won.
I remember thinking, “Okay did that really just happen? Did I just sit with that uncomfortable feeling and let it pass? Did I just handle that like a champ?” Yes I DID!
Then it occurred to me. This entire year of trying to cope with anxiety and respond to it in a healthy way, I never once tried to challenge the fear! I felt like David against Goliath!
However, I don’t think I could’ve challenged that without all of the healing, therapy, and coping skills I’ve learned this last year.
There are times that I see big wins with anxiety. I go long stretches without an anxiety attack or having to use coping skills, and set my therapy times further apart as I don’t need them as close together. When there is a setback I always come out on the other side with a little more knowledge, better able to cope, and just able to handle it better. But this last time, I feel like it may have been the biggest win yet.
So next time you start to feel an anxious symptom coming on, challenge it! Let it come, let is happen, let is pass, and let it go. Your body isn’t (necessarily) failing you, your mind and thoughts are most likely the culprits.
It’s time to be the David to those Goliath sized thoughts, feelings, emotions, and symptoms. Challenge them and take them down. They look scary, but you have the power to challenge them and take them down.
Thanks for reading,
~Erin, The Short Wife