First things first….last week after I published my post, I decided to clean up the site and organize things a little better. This is my first blog and using WordPress is something I am still learning. In my haste…I freaking deleted my original post. I was so upset and feeling a bit frustrated. I was like, maybe I should just forget it. Negative self talk right? After a few minutes, I took a step back and said to myself, is it REALLY that bad this happened? Truth is-no. There are worse things in life FFS.
So here I am today. I contemplated rewriting that post. My story. A timeline but you know what? I don’t need to give a timeline. Yes it’s what happened in my life and it ALL made me the person I am today. But…it’s the tools that I used then and continue to use that shaped how I handled all of it.
Back when the kids were younger and I was still married, I suffered from crippling anxiety. The kind where you can’t even get groceries. I can’t tell you the amount of times that I left a cart stranded in the middle of the store and scurried out because I was having an anxiety attack. I really and truly felt at the time like there was nothing I could do about it and this was just my life.
As the kids grew, I finally got a decent job outside the house, and started to look into ways to help my anxiety. I discovered that just moving your body a bit a day helped so I started walking.
Walking turned out to be a great time to tune into myself and be alone with my thoughts. I started to understand that anxiety was a way for your body to deal with alerting you that you needed to change something in your situation. It’s your subconscious working with you. As I continued to walk and decompress, that anxiety haze started to lift. I was able to make some better decisions that would alter the course of my life and I left a 15 year relationship. I gained confidence and was finally happy.
I started going to the gym with a friend and the anxiety was really gone.
Over the years, shit happened in life that allowed anxiety to creep in here and there. Stressful teenage daughter years, loss of friends and friendships, stress at work, loss of loved ones. The list is pretty big. Each time, I turned to exercise in some capacity and I have managed to shift my perspective and keep my positive spin on life.
When Kayla passed away for example, I curled up and didn’t want to do anything. I know that is normal and understandable but this isn’t about that part. When this happened, I felt that familiar feeling of anxiety coming but this time was the mother of all anxieties..it was the crippling, worst type I have ever ever experienced. If you know me personally, you’ll know that I’m not the person that just curls up in a ball crying and saying why me? I did that for a bit and it was justified. I didn’t want to burden anyone else with what I was going through so I kept it to myself.
But…even though this was happening, a few other things occurred and it was like an autopilot reaction to take care of myself. The morning after Kayla passed, I walked. Like I really walked. First thing in the morning on a freezing cold February day, I walked for 5 km. I walked to see my dad in his niche. I had a conversation. I looked at the beauty of the sky-it was so clear, the perfect day. And, it made me feel better than I felt before I did it.
About a week later, I pulled up my big girl panties and I decided I needed to do something to get out my anger because holy shit I was MAD. I was BITTER. I was not in a good head-space. I went to my dresser, grabbed my workout clothes and turned to a Beachbody program called Shift Shop. It was such a tough workout. The trainer that created it, Chris Downing is pretty inspirational. He has been through some tough shit and the things he said during those workouts: POWERFUL. I did that entire program. I CRIED at the end of most of them. I cannot thank that program enough for how much it helped me get back to trying to carry on with my life. This was the number one thing that I did for MYSELF, that lit a fire under my ass to keep going. It wasn’t a cure, that’s not what I am saying, it was just a shift in perspective. It started me on my way to healing.
All of this is why I push myself to exercise and why I try to help other people. I feel pushed to share with others how I’m healing in hopes to help one other person. There are lots of other tools in my toolbox, and I will be speaking more about them in the weeks to come.
I’d love to hear your story. Have you suffered from anxiety? Are you grieving? What tools do you use to help you?