I spend a lot of my time living in the past. Obsessing over what could have been or what would have happened if I had done things differently. I live in the past because I am not content with the present and the unknowingness of the future. I don’t cope well with disorder or uncertainty. But the more I live in the past, the quicker my life passes me by, and suddenly I just simply stop living.
A state of panic
This is how much my thoughts consume me. I have anxiety about things I did – or didn’t – do, and now I have anxiety about doing – or not doing – those things again. My poor brain wastes so much energy trying to process my pointless worries, and all I do is feed it more.
It is so hard to not allow yourself to climb into the dark hole your brain is providing. This is the hardest thing about living with both Depression and Anxiety Disorder. When I worry, I feel out-of-control, which puts me in a state of panic. I feel sadness because I can’t tolerate my own emotions, and this sadness results in the blank-empty look that sits upon my face.
Part of my own recovery has involved associating my mental illness with quotes I hear from people in my life. My mind finds peace in hearing someone important to me say something insightful. My brother started saying something recently that has changed my thought process when I’m feeling anxious:
“What’s done is done.”
I can use my anxiety
I can’t go back and change what has already been said or done, but I can use my anxiety to help me improve who I am. Rather than allowing it to consume me, I can turn my anxiety into good anxiety by allowing it to motivate me and support my growth.
The worst part of it all is when I start to get anxiety about my anxiety…what a mess my brain is. As soon as I start to feel my heart racing a little bit or my eyes start popping out of my head, my brain goes on auto-pilot and tries to kill me. Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but you know what I mean. The point is, I have to take control of my own body and mind. So when I start breathing a little heavier, I sit back and evaluate: what am I anxious about and how can I prevent myself from feeling this way again?
I turn to someone for help
Most of the time, my anxiety is so high that I can’t think rationally or logically, and can’t actually determine what the root cause of my anxiety is. This is when I turn to someone for help.
Now, of course, this is easier said than done. You can’t get rid of anxiety the way you can get rid of an old pair of jeans. But with all things, practice makes perfect (or close to it). Journalling can help you understand your emotions more easily and has always proven to calm me when in a mild state of panic.
Find a saying that helps you put things into perspective. Try new ways to gain control in those moments of panic. And always remember that it’s okay not to be okay.
Reproduced with permission, originally posted here: My Brain