How I Keep Anxiety From Controlling Me
Disclaimer: I am NOT a Dr. This is not advice from a medical professional. This is me, Eryka. I’m just a mom, that struggles with anxiety. And I wanted to give you all a look into my thoughts and how I have learned to gain control over mine. Some links in this post may be affiliate links, which I can potentially make a small profit from to keep this blog running.
I know those mild anxiety feelings. I also know when anxiety gets very intense it can become crippling and you can feel very isolated in those moments. I don’t like feeling that way & yet I knew I couldn’t control anxiety… at least for the most part. Even now, there are times that no matter what I’ve done to prevent it, ANXIETY will come when it wants.
I’ve been on a mental journey for myself since before I had Izzy. I wanted to understand my emotions, who I am, who I want to be and what I really wanted from this life. Since having Izzy I’ve learned more, about myself and reflected even more. And long story short, I actually went to my Dr expressing how I felt so anxious most of the day. I told her I felt that all of my little strategies for daily survival (which I’d been adding to & using throughout my life) were not longer working. I told my Dr I felt like I was drowning, all day, everyday. That resulted in my diagnosis of ADHD at age 29. You can read more about that here. That diagnosis, also gave me a lot more clarity about myself and where my anxieties may have been coming from (my whole life) and how to work towards reducing them. This transitions very nicely into the first thing that helped me on my journey towards reduced anxiety.
Learn About Your Brain
Try to figure out what makes you feel certain emotions. Does a sad movie put you in a depressive state? What emotions typically come from an argument with your spouse? Who in your life is contributing to your happiness and who is bringing drama & stress? Reflect on how you typically react to negative things. If you can understand potential triggers, you can work on strategies to help yourself in those moments.
With learning about your brain, may also come with getting a diagnosis, or already having one, but educating yourself on it. Talk to a therapist even, you may not get a diagnosis. Maybe there isn’t one to give, but you may learn more about yourself and how to work towards giving yourself mental power. Once I got my diagnosis, I was a bit ashamed. But then realized, there is nothing to be ashamed about, that’s just a stigma. ADHD isn’t bad, and instead of feeling ashamed I needed to research it and learn about it so I could better understand how my brain worked. This has been the key to me learning how I can reduce my anxiety and it’s control over me. I know you may not have ADHD or any diagnosis, so you are probably thinking… okay, this isn’t helpful. What about reading up on brains that lack dopamine vs serotonin? That could be a great place to start for you, in better understanding the type of brain you have. Again, these are just suggestions, based on things that helped me. I’m not a Dr.
The more I can learn about ADHD, the more I become empowered and can work towards reducing the negative aspects of it. I don’t read or watch youtube videos and think poor me, everyone should cater to me. I think, “okay I know that’s why I get that way or struggle with that, now how can I work on those things?” Some solutions may be talking with a therapist, taking a daily medication, using self talk &/or discussing my struggles openly with those around me. One of my anxieties comes from my impulsiveness & forgetfulness that go along with ADHD. In fact, ADHD was the biggest reason for my daily anxiety and once I worked on feeding my body healthier choices & found the right medication for my chemical imbalances I felt better. Like A LOT better! I couldn’t believe that a stimulant made me feel calmer & more at ease. To be honest, my medication has such a negative stigma I was afraid to take it. And guess what, like all other medications, if taken properly under the eyes of your dr it is safe. But that’s a different conversation and rabbit hole, I’m not going down today.
I’m not trying to start a medication debate, I’m just opening up to you all about my personal struggles to give you an example of how learning about my brain has helped my anxiety. If you don’t believe in taking medication, there is no judgement from me, so please, don’t judge my decision.
Feed Your Body & Brain
Eat nutrient rich foods, reduced processed foods as much as possible, take probiotics, make sure you are getting the right vitamins & drink lots of water. Water is so important! I do my best to eat well, drink plenty of water and I take probiotics from Mary Ruth’s Organics. I also use her elderberry and a bunch of other products! I’ve been pleased with her stuff!
Have A Hobby That Brings You Joy & Do It
Crocheting, running, yoga, reading, sitting in a warm bubble bath with your favorite music & a glass of wine…
It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s not harmful to your body. Try to add this happy time into your life, multiple times a week.
Okay, so all of those tips, were things I do preventively to keep anxiety away or reduced. I think it’s very important to find preventive ways that work for you to truly begin to overcome & have a bit more control over your anxiety. That’s not to say, anxiety won’t show up. I’m certain you will still experience it, I still do. It’s just WAY less frequent and typically less intense. Now let me share some strategies I use, for when anxiety hits.
Don’t Stress About the Anxiety
Use self talk, stressing in the moment will only feed it. Self talk takes practice, by the way. You inner voice becomes stronger the more you use it. But sometimes even my inner voice can’t turn off the anxiety. I do still use it, to keep myself from turning into a full blown stress mess. Such as, “Oh my gosh, it’s 2 am, I’m still awake! I’m never going to get to sleep.” That is what I mean about feeding your anxiety. Those thoughts are not healthy. Tell yourself positive things & be okay with what is going on. I tell myself, “It’s okay. This might be a long night, but you will get through this.” Typically at this point in the day (2 am) I’ve already tried to reflect on what could be causing this intense, in my chest, anxiety. So the best thing to do, is tell my mind, I’m going to ride it out. The more you say positive things, the more your brain will reduce that panic in those situations. Almost think of self talk as meditation. You are retraining your brain to not go into a full blown anxiety attack over little things, & maybe even big. Again, this takes time, so keep at it!
Distract Your Brain
I’ll often turn on a movie or tv show, that’s funny or not a trigger to stress me out. Because when I’m in this state of mind, that will only feed the darkness. If it’s during the day, taking the time to follow a quick online workout or yoga session can be very helpful as well. You need to really utilize use your inner talk to get that in motion.
Medication Isn’t Shameful
If your Dr has prescribed you a medication to take in situations such as this & you are comfortable with it, then do it! Bottom line, don’t let society make you feel badly about it. If you have tried self talk, a nap, taking a walk, or it’s just too late at night and you need to get rest, give yourself that respect to help it out. If it’s a daily medication you are prescribed, take it daily as prescribed. Do not take medications that are not your own. And always consult with your Dr about over counter supplements etc.
Daily I take a stimulant, it may seem silly to you, but it actually calms my ADHD brain and reduces my daily anxiety. As needed I take THC free CBD capsules and prior to doing so I discussed it with my Dr. I have some that support my anxiety and some for sleep. I chose to try products from a local company here in Maine called Good Jane. Honestly guys, LIFE CHANGING! The company was started by a local mom. #womensupportingwomen Some of you asked me for a code, so here it is, 15% off: ERYKA15
Talk To Someone
Listen, sometimes the anxiety is just too much. Sometimes I don’t know where it’s coming from. Sometimes I need a little help to get back to a stress free place & that’s okay. It’s also okay to talk to people about your anxiety, if you notice it is happening frequently and seems to be very intense. They don’t have to be a professional. Sometimes it helps to just start talking. Often talking to my husband, sister or a friend can help me think through what was stuck in my subconscious. Sometimes it helps me to solve the mystery of where the anxiety is coming from & sometimes it just helps me learn more about me & my feelings. Sometimes it’s all I needed to just lift the anxiety I was feeling. Just by simply talking and letting my brain just run wild with thoughts and feelings about things going on in life. It truly feels good to have a person listening and just being there for you. They don’t need to be full of advise, they just need to care. There are lots of ways to get support. I’ve even started to see moms helping others in times of mental distress in mom facebook groups. Strangers giving support, love and letting that person struggling know that people care. It’s up to you, to ask for that support.
Guys, I have way less anxiety than I use to & it’s typically less intense. But remember, when anxiety shows up, you may not be in control of it, however you can work towards keeping it from controlling you!
Hugs & Love,