Over the last 15 years, I have suffered from anxiety, depression and restlessness. 150 mg of Effexor
was part of my daily regime and for 12 of those 15 years I didn’t question the medication. I’d seen five therapists and accepted that I would always be â€śthisâ€ť way.
So why change? In all honesty, I went away for a week to an all inclusive and knew I’d be drinking. It says on the bottle do not mix with alcohol, so I decided to listen (for the first time). I didn’t take my meds for the entire week and thought the anxiety was offset by the sun and booze. Acuna-Ma-ta-ta right? When I returned, I forgot to re-start taking the Effexor. I couldn’t even tell you how long I had gone without it before having a little anxiety â€śepisodeâ€ť. Only then did I realize my symptoms had not changed and I was med free! I had been pumping my body full of synthetics altering my hormones for this long and now what? My anxiety was still there and I chalked it up to a pity party of there’s something wrong with me.
Over the last 3 years I’ve been on this journey of discovery, and will be for the rest of my life. So far I’ve learned association is everything! What we associate certain emotions to, shapes how we react. We are typically taught that when we are â€śstressedâ€ť, feelings of anxiety and/or depression increase. We typically associate anxiety with negative, destructive thoughts. Sound familiar? Let me ask you this: How do you know you are stressed or anxious when you are? What are the emotions you experience? How does stress manifest itself with you? Some of us get chest pain, the shakes, excess sweat, the desire to isolate ourselves and the list goes on. These are emotions that we can all experience at any time and there is nothing wrong with them or us! How we handle those emotions is what truly defines who we are.
I think we have all heard of the body’s response known as â€śFlight or Fightâ€ť. When we are in a stressful situation our adrenal glands kick in, signaling the body to prepare itself. Usually, the go-to reaction is flight and we succumb to the notion of anxiety/stress being bad. But what if when we start to feel the chest compression and clammy hands we change our association to oh this my body telling me to prepare itself, to gear up and use this as fuel to push on? It’s our choice how to perceive that reaction. What happens when you’re on a roller coaster or meeting a crush for the second time? Similar emotions? I bet your perception of that experience is different though. How you associate the time of the emotions to the action changes.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not always in the fight mode. Sometimes I simply sit in front of my essential
oil diffuser and breathe deep. My bed can also be very persuasive. BUT, every time I choose to
use the anxiety and stress as fuel, I am one step ahead. I choose to think I’m fortunate to experience
anxiety. It prevents me from being a procrastinator. It enables my drive and fuels my desire to constantly be better!
I hope the next time you start to feel your throat close, you lose your breath or your hands start to shake you remind yourself these feelings are good! My body is preparing itself to fight and I will use this as fuel!