Anxiety

In the hope that it would help others, I have pulled together an overview of my experience in dealing with anxiety. I wanted to be informative and helpful, so I compiled a list of my symptoms, what I think contributed to the anxiety and also what ended up helping me manage it. I am luckily now over the insomnia and nightly panic attacks, but I know I will forever be someone who has a tendency to have anxiety. Here and there, it will crop up, but hopefully I have tools in place to address it before it takes over. 

 

blossom

Symptoms:

  • Racing thoughts, constant worrying
  • Pounding heart, body in “fight or flight” at all times
  • Panic attacks – chest seizing and shortness of breath, worse at night when trying to sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of appetite
  • Wired but tired feeling

What contributed to the anxiety:

  • Daily high stress with work 
  • Long, physical, exhausting days in the kitchen, running around getting business off the ground
  • Skipping meals (usually breakfast and lunch) only eating once per day
  • Not sleeping well or enough – part of a vicious cycle of less sleep, more anxiety, more anxiety, less sleep
  • Drinking too much coffee
  • Lack of days off, time to relax or decompress
  • No time for outside hobbies or fun 
  • Lack of self care or prioritizing own health

Suffice it to say, I was running on fumes. I did maintain a super clean diet during this time, although I was definitely not eating enough. I think this is one thing that helped me not completely go off the deep end. I’m not quite sure when I actually realized all this was a huge problem, but it became clear I needed to address it. 

 Combatting the anxiety – I worked on these 1 at a time and it took a while to add them all into my life:

  • Started with acupuncture to help me sleep, as this was one one of the worst symptoms
  • Was given a blend of Chinese herbs to also help me relax and sleep (given by my acupuncturist) – adaptogens such as reishi, maca, ashwaghanda, ginseng, rhodiola, and holy basil can help combat stress and anxiety
  • Started taking magnesium by Natural Calm to handle stress and help with sleep
  • Worked on a nightly routine that was conducive to sleep: less technology, taking a bath, quiet, dark bedroom
  • Began reducing caffeine (this was a long process but even going down to 1 cup daily made a huge difference)
  • Weekly yoga class or some form of self care such as a sauna
  • Started meditating
  • Remembering to slow down and eat. Also started to address gut issues
  • Stepped away from stressful and anxiety inducing relationships in my life
  • Made some changes with work to reduce stress
  • Adopted a rescue kitty! (animals are magical)
  • Started riding horses after a 10 year hiatus. Getting back to a hobby I love was a lifesaver
  • Making time for socializing and fun (imagine that)

horse

There are probably more details I am forgetting, but these feel the most important.

All this work was then followed by more work on my health that I had to face. Some of the lasting ‘damage’ that I am still working on:

  • Hormone imbalances
  • Exacerbation of gut issues
  • Compromised immune function
  • Weight gain
  • Still easily startled and rattled
  • Periodic sleep issues and nightly worrying

I wouldn’t wish my experience on anyone, but I know many people deal with similar issues. As I gain more perspective on what I went through, my hope is that somehow it can be used to benefit others. The worst feeling when I was awake at 3 a.m was that of being alone in my problems and that no one else was ‘crazy’ like I was. Recognizing that many of us have this shared experience can help with the recovery process and hopefully, hearing a bit of what I experienced can in some way be of service. 

 

Anxiety was last modified: July 15th, 2018 by grace

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