What even is anxiety? and should we allow ourselves to be defined by this word.
I use it a lot, as in it's common in my vocabulary, but as of recent I've been trying to use it less frequently. This is because I feel like every time I tell myself, or someone else that I'm anxious, I'm giving it room to survive. For me, and my journey, I’ve had enough, I don't want to make room for it anymore, and I don't want to apologise for having anxiety, because what even is anxiety, other than just a word.
Anxiety; noun. A state of apprehension and fear resulting from the anticipation of a threatening event or situation.
My anxiety, when bad, can be relentless, eating up any good thoughts that come my way, finding its way into every facet of my life, including my relationships with my friends, my boyfriend, and everyone in between. When bad, it follows me to work, to the gym, and even into my own home, I feel it in my chest, I can taste it in my throat, and I soon begin to fold inward on myself, buckling beneath all the thoughts that are building in my mind. “Why me anxiety?” I scream in silence, “Why not you” I hear it call back. It would seem I have come to learn, slowly, and somewhat painfully, that we are given things in life that are destined for things greater than ourselves.
Since revelling in the thought that I might be able to help others in the process of helping myself, I have taken this whole anxiety thing a little more seriously, and yes my willingness to put myself out for others and not myself is another thing I am working on, but baby steps here! As a starting point, I am no longer going to refer to it as MY anxiety, because I know its yours too, but before we all play hot potato with the awkward notion of the potato being anxiety, lets all of us together, disassociate with it. Now, my saving grace throughout my time with that potato has been that I have continued to make room in my life, room for bravery, for compassion, and for self-love, I haven't broken because I gave them the space to survive, slowly but surely.
"Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still"
- Chinese Proverb
Increasing my space for self-love is now at a critical point, having come so far from where I was, I am feeling left with the dreaded warning message 'You have used over 95% of your storage capacity' Its time I came to some harsh realities, and one is that I just don't love myself as much as I’d like to think I do. With this said, I know there is more to it, and I know I’m not alone, so as I near closer to my third year with anxiety taking up much needed space in my life, it’s time I made more room to grow the good.
I am sharing all this with you not only in a bid to better my life, but in a bid to better yours too, you know, that whole greater purpose thing, if we continue to leave room for anxiety, its always going to stay, like a thirty year old child that wont leave home, there’s comfort in it staying, but there’s freedom in kicking it out! So when anxiety comes knocking, try this instead, say: “I need some more space for self-love, anxiety, your thoughts are not real, and they are taking up too much of my space” - by reminding yourself of your intention, your mind should become better at blocking intrusive thoughts. We are what we manifest.
I have also found writing down what’s bothering me can help, by doing this is, it physically removes the thought from my mind, and sometimes this is enough, or sometimes seeing it on paper makes me realise I'm a little crazy, and thats OK! If this still isn't enough, I sometimes share my thoughts with someone I trust, problem halved, and often problem solved.
So as I sit here, word vomiting as a result of a less-than-seamless week, or creating as good ol Ali J from Against the Grain NZ would say, I leave you with some parting advice:
- Lessen anxiety's space. Consciously make an effort to dis-own your anxiety, I am aware this goes against what some people suggest, but I truly feel like the more I have openly apologised for “my anxiety” the more room I have given it to grow in and around me. Stop allowing it to define you, and stop apologising for it, focus instead on growing self-love.
- Avoid assumptions - at all costs. The assumption that your boss hates you, the assumption that your kids think you're a loser, that your friends don't like you, that your boyfriend is looking elsewhere. Just stop, assuming is one of life's biggest mistakes, theres no bigger lie, then the ones left inside.
- Be present, and I truly mean that, in the simplest way. I have grown a fond appreciation for Hagrids quote “what will come, will come, and we will meet it when it does”. There really is no success in battling over the possibilities, remember, we are infinite possibility, meaning, there is just as much chance of it going right, as there is for it to go wrong. We are what we manifest.
- Be kind to yourself, growth can be painful. Follow Body Love NZ for your daily self love inspo, I will always do my best to keep you updated with my journey
Lots of love and admiration Abs x