If you’re truly living– and feeling– in the world today and don’t have some inkling of anxiety, well then, I want what you’re having. I believe anxiety does not discriminate; it hits us all at one time or another, depending on what life throws our way. It’s up to us to decide how long it’s allowed to stay.
Anxiety was always a part of me. I was that kid who fiercely observed and absorbed all that went on around me. As I got older, the observer in me stayed put while whatever I absorbed manifested itself as nervous energy. I now believe that nervous energy was the driving force behind my go-getter/get shit done personality, hence why I never really viewed anxiety as a bad thing. It never debilitated me, in fact just the opposite: it lit a fire under my ass and was the effort behind most of my successes and best decisions in life. It was those racing ‘get shit done’ thoughts and feelings that caused the doing! It wasn’t until I started to slow down and really get intimate with anxiety, where it caught up with me and froze my flow. ‘
I noticed that this dark-side of anxiety I speak of causes me to react to EVERYTHING and act somewhat impulsively. It makes me second-guess myself. And at times knocks me off my feet, gasping for breath and I find myself desperately trying to claw my way up and out. Ya see, anxiety is a complete and utter mind-fu%k: it has a way of spring-boarding me into the wonderful unknown while also becoming an anchor in a dark abyss.
The dark-side of anxiety started to show up about 4 years ago when my little dude was diagnosed with Autism. That moment is when anxiety went from an overachieving friend to my mother fu%king foe. I really didn’t have a clue what worry was until Autism paid my family a visit. At the time, I was a new mom flying solo in the face of what was one of the hardest hurdles life has thrown my way. All moms worry, don’t get me wrong, but when your kid can’t talk, walk or respond to your touch it’s a different kind of inner stress gremlin going hog-fu%king-wild. My anxiety went from situational to present in every situation throughout my every day. Some days are better than others, like when he goes to school without a physical throw-down, or when I remember to count out exactly 30 Pepperidge Farm Goldfish® for his afternoon snack (and no more/less), or when I sing the right songs in the correct order so he can fall into a peaceful slumber. Then there are other days, like yesterday, when he couldn’t sit on the red fold up chair at his therapy appointment because there was a sticker on it (that wouldn’t come off), or when we didn’t go the normal route (aisle for aisle) during our visit to Target, or when it’s haircut time and I am bear-hugging him like a professional wrestler just so the stylist doesn’t cut his ear off. Yeah, that’s when the circus comes to town inside me and there’s no fu%king ringleader to be found. So, I breathe. Shit, I breathe more than the average person— deeply— with loud, forceful exhales just to exorcise the Satan-like tension from my body. When I can, I turn to yoga: I get down into child’s pose and just release it all to the earth below me (or at least I try). When I am not feeling so body-mind-spirit, I grab for the God I call chocolate and, well, for that moment anxiety can go suck my Cadbury Carmel Egg!
Here’s the hardest part for me to face when it comes to anxiety: when you start to see signs of it in your own child. Yup, I see the nervous energy that motivated me, hindering him. You want to talk about mom guilt? I am the champion at blame-gaming myself for giving this to him. Adding to the fact that he likely inherited anxiety from me, it’s been studied and proven that children with autism typically suffer from anxiety, primarily because they don’t have the communication skills to emote verbally. So, on the whole, Kellan was served a pretty shitty hand in the nerves department. But, we’re forging ahead and tackling those pesky nerves with some morning Yogarilla, learning how to breathe deeply through our nose, taking homeopathic remedies and engaging in deep massage-like compressions. All are said to help take the edge off. Fingers-crossed!
I am not going to lie: some days anxiety owns me and there is not enough chocolate in the world to defeat the beast. When those days come, I now know to just surrender to it— I know it’s legit. I bow to it and acknowledge its presence. “Hi Anxiety, you’re here again…pull up a chair and let me get you a beer.” And other days – like today, it quietly knocks at the door, but no one’s home. I like those days. In fact, I fu%king love those days, and with my practice of deep breathing, yoga, tapping or eating a shit-ton of chocolate – I am armed and ready for when it comes to visit again.
Because sharing is caring, here are some things that heal my feels of anxiety when it comes to visit:
- Deep breathing: I kid you not, this works. Sit back, get still and take 10 deep breathes. First, put the tip of the tongue to the roof of your mouth. Breathe in for 4 counts. Hold for 4 counts at the top, then release for 4 counts. Do this 10 times. It resets your brain, lowers blood pressure, and in some cases gives you the most amazing high
- Tapping: Tapping is a combination of Ancient Chinese Acupressure and Modern Psychology that works to physically alter your brain, energy system and body all at once. David Childerley is my favorite. Maybe it’s the sexy British accent but his technique is amazing. He has a bunch of different tapping videos, so check out his page. Here’s one to get you going.
- Choc-o-gasm: If chocolate is your thing, stock up for those “I am going to lose my shit” moments. Check out this yummy loot:
*The emotions expressed in this blog have been appropriately portrayed by scenes from “The Breakfast Club” (my favorite movie of all time).