The Angst of Anxiety

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.