Updated: Jul 31, 2019
Anxiety is a noun which can be defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
Imagine feeling a constant state of worry, imagine looking to find holes in any and everything people say to you, imagine feeling like nothing is going right and everyone is against you, imagine always thinking the worst in every situation, imagine feeling afraid for no reason, imagine a racing heartbeat while doing simple "everyday" tasks. Imagine spending a day in the shoes of someone with Anxiety.
Though many people shout the phrase “protecting my peace” because it sounds cool, I on the other hand am a living, breathing, walking billboard for this saying. If I needed a mantra or motto for my life at this stage, PROTECTING MY PEACE would be it. As a black woman who suffers from ANXIETY there is NOTHING more important to me than my peace.
Though I’m no counselor, nor am I claiming to know all things anxiety, I do know that it is very much so real. It has affected my daily life, professional life, and relationships.
I’m still learning to cope.
My journey hasn’t been rainbows and unicorns, but it has been MINE.
My journey to healing in five stages:
Admitting: It is what it is..
As cliche as it sounds the first step to “feeling better” is admitting there’s something wrong. I can’t pinpoint the exact date or time I realized I suffered from anxiety but I can recall very vivid instances where it (for lack of better words) took over me. I can recall feeling sad, angry, or scared for no other reason then I woke up that day. I can remember days when just speaking to certain people made me uneasy or uncomfortable. I never understood why I felt the way I did, but I knew something was wrong. It wasn’t until I was well out of college that I could associate my unwarranted feelings with an anxiety disorder. TV will have you thinking anxiety shows itself as breathing in and out of paper bags, and that just ain’t it.
2. Identifying: Zoom in girl
It was important to me to recognize when I felt anxious. Though knowing why I felt sad, afraid, or angry was/is harder to pinpoint the following questions helped me identify potential triggers:
What am I doing?
What was said?
What wasn’t said that I need to hear?
What calms me?
What makes me smile?
What clears my mind?
Who’s supportive and who’s not?
3. Evaluating: Assess the mess
The smallest comment, question, or look from someone can send my mind into full blown panic mode. Over time I’ve truly had to evaluate the people in my life, the things I do, and the places I spend my time. Feelings of worry come easily, and reassurance is necessary AT ALL TIMES. (insert clapping hand emojis between those 3 words)
Having unsupportive people around who lie, manipulate my feelings, and play the victim among other toxic traits was counterproductive to my healing.
4. Eliminating: Take the trash OUT daily
I’ve cut off everyone working against me, pretending to be a friend, or adding frustration to my already exhausting mental space. I removed myself from spaces and places that don’t contribute to my peace. I've been super focused on spending my time with people who make me feel good, doing things that make me smile, and going places that make me feel welcome.
Whew Chile.. I can name quite a few people who overstayed their welcome in my life! But we'll save that for a different blog post.
5. Committing (to change): Be better, feel better
Though it’s a daily struggle, I am committing everything I have in me to feeling better and being better. At any time a simple comment can make my mind create the most ridiculous scenarios. The old me would think about said ridiculous scenarios for hours, days, weeks, or months. The new me is committing to transfer worry into wonder. When I used to say “What if it all falls apart?”, I now say “What if it all works out?”. I do things that make me smile, and stray from those that do not. Not only have I committed to seeing a counselor, I have committed to trusting in GOD, and I have committed to wanting to be better for myself, and the people I love. Because if I’m honest loving someone with anxiety can be just as exhausting.
My ridiculous worries are not my reality and they aren’t yours either.
- Jalisa Nichole