I've written about anxiety before (Anxiety is my Bitch....Most Days) - but for anyone that deals with anxiety you know it's an ever changing animal.
Sometimes anxiety is a tiny little cuddly kitten who is purring on a chair in the background and you realize your full control over it, let it be, walk out the door and rock out your life. Other times that kitten morphs into a friggin' jaguar that is blocking your door, clawing at you and growling like it will inevitably eat your face.
Full disclosure: I got on meds for my anxiety almost 5 years ago and it was the single best thing I did for myself. I (finally) let go of the stigma I had placed on "needing medication" and received some assistance to get closer to being back to myself. I could leave my apartment and go to yoga without working myself up into a full on frenzy and even *GASP* go meet a friend to go on a walk. Medication was the gentle nudge that my body needed to begin to heal.
Fast forward to closer to today. I'd been off of my meds for a few months. It happened organically. I had mentioned to my functional med doctor that I would like to say sayonara to those suckers someday but I also knew I couldn't force it. Well, once I changed my diet, started supplements and my gut started to heal I had an AHA moment that not once had I noticed anxiety creeping into my chest. WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD!!!!! Insert happy dance here.
So when my prescription ran out and I didn't fill it on time - I decided to stop taking it. Life had been good, I had noticed some bouts of anxiousness here and there (notably after drinking alcohol - that's a post for another time) but nothing major.
Then. Life Happened. As it does. I had let my meditation practice wane, I hadn't been feeling well, several things held a lot of uncertainty in my life, my gut was wreck (stress in an evil asshole) and I had a full on panic attack.
You guys. It had been years since that happened and I was left a puddle of myself. A complete and total mess. I knew I couldn't continue in that manner - not to get done the things I wanted to get done or feel the way I wanted to feel. So I opened up my medicine cabinet and started my medication back up.
I know someday I'll go off of it again, especially as I continue to learn the lesson of self care and stress management (again and again and again). I'm not a failure for going back to my meds (no body is - let's all quit the self judgment mmmkay?). In fact, it's only been a few days and I'm feeling more myself again, like I can begin to tackle the uncertainty with faith and gratitude rather than fear and judgement.
So personally, I've been using a lot of the pranayama (breathing) practice below.
I love public speaking. I always have. I love to tell stories, share experiences and teach and be taught. I get asked how, when I deal with anxiety that can sometimes be defined as crippling, do I get up and talk in front of people. And I tell you what, it's the same thing I do to get the courage to eat food somedays. I breathe.
Try it out for yourself. Oh, and be nicer to yourself. We are all doing the best we can during each moment we're in. Love to all.